Cleaning a bit at a time helps the cab shine

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Japanese organization expert Marie Kondo has said that the objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.

Many truck drivers spend more time in their cabs than at home. It is their workspace and when their job takes them over the road, it is also their home.

Living and working in a tiny home can have its challenges, including keep the area neat and tidy.

Picture of Ben Overton
Ben Overton, a Jade Transport driver, makes sure his rig is shiny and clean. (Photo: Leo Barros)

Ben Overton knows a thing or two about keeping a truck sparkling clean. He hauls tankers for Jade Transport in Winnipeg, Man., and has won awards this year and in 2021 at the Shell Rotella SuperRigs in the tractor-trailer category.

The cab is spotless, clutter-free and smells good. How does he do it, despite working over the road for two to three weeks at a time?

“Just keep on top of it, a little bit here a little bit there, all the time. Don’t get behind, then it becomes hard,” Overton said.

Now add a furry friend to the mix. They are great companions for lonely drives. But sharing a cab with a pet brings on additional responsibilities and cleaning.

Picture of Felix Winkler and Rose
Felix Winkler hauls loads for Keystone Western and travels with his dog Rose. (Photo: Leo Barros)

Felix Winkler travels with Rose (endearingly called Rosie), a Labrador-pitbull mix, who will turn two in August. The large pup constantly sheds fur and Winkler keeps on top of things by vacuuming and wiping down surfaces.

The longhaul driver who works out of Keystone Western’s Waterloo, Ont., terminal uses a towel to wipe Rosie’s paws when she hops back into the truck after spending time outside.

Lavdim Hasani, who drives for Musket Transport based in Mississauga, Ont., keeps things simple and does not bring too much stuff into the truck.

Picture of Lavdim Hasani
Lavdim Hasani, a Musket Transport driver, does not bring too many things into the truck. (Photo: Musket Transport)

The necessities stay in the truck, the rest he brings each time he heads out on a trip and takes home after he is done. “I try not to keep too much stuff, and I keep it organized,” Hasani said.

Winkler stays on top of things by doing a little bit every day. “It doesn’t pile up and it doesn’t become this big chore that seems overwhelming. You don’t think ‘this is going to take me so long, but if I do a bit at a time, everything is okay,’” the driver said.

How does a driver avoid tracking dirt, grime, and grease into the cab?

Overton removes his work shoes on the top step and places them in a box by his bunk. Hasani also has a ‘no shoes’ policy in the living area of his cab. Winkler uses sandals in the truck when he is not driving.

Don’t bring gloves inside

Keeping work and fueling gloves out of the cab in the storage compartment accessible from outside the truck also helps keep out grease, dirt, and the smell of diesel.

Drivers have to eat – some carry food with them, others cook on the road or dine at truck stops. Doing dishes in the cab can be a challenge.

Overton mostly eats at truck stops. Hasani and Winkler carry food from home and take the Tupperware back for cleaning. Winkler uses a bowl and plate and cleans them with water and a paper towel.

Winkler vacuums and wipes down his cab regularly. He is considering using natural cleaning products because he does not want Rosie to be licking something harmful.

“Take 10 minutes at the end of your day – every day – it doesn’t take much to keep it clean.”

Lavdim Hasani, Musket Transport driver

Overton neatly organizes his clothes in the closet and other items in the shelves and cubby holes provided. He uses Time to Shine products to keep his truck clean and smelling fresh.  

Hasani is a fan of dish soap diluted in water. “Spray it on and it cleans the best,” he says. He uses Armor All for the dashboard. He power-washes the floor mats often to keep them clean.

“Take 10 minutes at the end of your day – every day – it doesn’t take much to keep it clean. But if you let it accumulate, it’s a lot harder,” Hasani says.


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Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at

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  • I truly believe in 5 Minute 5S (Sort, Set-In-Order, Sanitize, Standardize and Sustain) as part of my daily activities. But also very important aspect of cleaning … is not only does it improve the environment but you should always be “Cleaning to Inspect”. The human hand is still one of the most sensitive sensing probes on the planet and while cleaning it may detect mnor inperfections before they become major disasters, creating excessive downtime and loss of revenue.