Trucker invents trailer cleaning system

A longtime trucker has invented what he feels is a better mousetrap, or at least a better way to keep the insides of trailers clean enough to satisfy discriminating food product shippers and receivers.

Ken McRae recently patented his invention and is hoping trailer manufacturers are interested in building the design into their new van and reefer trailers. It consists of a third gladhand that carries air from the truck’s air system to a reel-mounted hose contained within a recessed box mounted to the front of the trailer.

The system generates 120 psi, enough to quickly and easily blow all debris out the back of the trailer into the parking lot where it can then be swept up and disposed of. McRae said he came up with the idea after years of struggling to getting trailer interiors perfectly clean using a broom or leaf blower.

Schematic for trailer cleaning system
A schematic demonstrating McRae’s trailer cleaning invention. (Photo: Supplied)

“A few months ago, I had a Eureka! moment,” he told in an interview. “It’s fast and easy, and does a better job than a broom.”

Additionally, McRae sees the opportunity to provide other attachments, such as one that could be used to air up tires on the truck and trailer. But the initial purpose is for cleaning out the trailers, and McRae said he’s received a lot of positive feedback from other truckers, fleet managers, shippers, and even trailer manufacturers.

“I used to haul food when I had my own business and they were super fussy,” he said of shippers and receivers in the food business. “They’d get in the trailer with a flashlight and if they’d find a shard of glass or piece of metal, they’re going to send you away. Truckers are going to love this. It makes cleaning the trailer so easy. The broom doesn’t get the dust – this gets everything.”

This is especially useful for cleaning the grooved floors of reefer trailers, McRae added. He estimates it would add about $500 to $1,000 to the cost of a new trailer.

“I believe one day, every container, every reefer, every grain trailer, dump truck, you name it, is going to have this to make life easier for the truckers,” he said. “It’s so simple, but it’s such a practical thing. I know this because I’ve been sweeping dirty trailers my whole life. I promise you, when this hits, it’s going to change trucking.”

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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  • That is a really good idea but what we need is a type of vacuum system that mitigates the dust and its harmful particles. When i sweep out a trailer i wear a mask. The trailer itself is considered somewhat of a “confined space” due to it having only one way in & out. I’ve always wanted to have those particles tested for what harm they may cause to human lungs. If one could add in a air line I’m sure they could add in a vacuum with an exterior cannister to easily dump out.

  • Good idea, but the air pressure in truck will go down very quickly and may have to stop and wait for full pressure again

  • Good idea, however a good mask and safety glasses/ shield should be used with all that debris flying around. I agree some customers even see a 1/4 inch piece of wood they will ask you to sweep out trailer or leave. Safe driving everyone.