How to Wash a Semi Truck The Most Effective Way?

13 Min Read

Semi-trucks are a significant investment and must be taken care of. Not only must the operator ensure that the semi-truck is in operational condition, but it must also be cleaned regularly.

For truck operators, their semi is what makes them stand out from their competitors. An adequately washed and well taken care of semi is a sign of professionalism, encouraging folks to connect with the semi-truck operator for their requirement.

It is just one of the many reasons why you should know the answer to the question: How do you wash a semi-truck? Does this apply to the semi-trailer trailer you rented? We suggest you ensure the semi-rental company allows customers to pass their vehicles!

Tractor in the Truck Wash

Effectively Washing a Semi-Truck

When a semi-truck is on the road for thousands of miles, from the deserts of Nevada to country roads in Florida, it is bound to be exposed to the grit and dirt of the road. Naturally, a semi-wash is required. And this is the topic of our discussion.

Understand The Washing Process

Understanding the process of semi-truck washing is fundamental for an efficient operation. And it is even more vital that one understands what goes into the process to get the best result, especially when cleaning it themselves.

First, you need to know about the water used in the process. Any clean water would do. However, it should be warm, at around 90 degrees to 100 degrees, to wonder wonders about removing the dirt and to be comfortable working with.

A foamer is also required for the cleaning process to spray the cleaning agent on heavy machinery. Finally, one only needs to scrub and then rinse the truck.

Then, apply wax at the end to protect the paint. Sounds simple, right? It is the gist of how one can clean the exterior of their semi-truck after a long and hard drive.

Effectively Washing a Semi-Truck

Different Types of Truck Wash

It might come as a surprise to readers, but there is not one way to wash a semi-truck. A semi-truck operator can clean their semi-truck in three different ways.

  1. Wash By Hand
  2. Touchless Cleaning
  3. At a Truck Wash
  • Wash by Hand: It is the most common way to wash their semi-truck. One only needs the most basic of supplies to start this process.
  • Touchless Cleaning: This method is done by using a suitable chemical compound. It uses pressure wash to get the job done.
  • At a Truck Wash: A semi-truck operator can easily find truck washing spots on the highways or in the city that provide truck cleaning services.

Step-by-Step Guide on Washing a Semi Truck by Hand

Here is a step-by-step guide that you can follow to wash the semi-truck effectively by hand.

Step 1: Pre Soaking the Truck

The first step in the process is to pre-soak the semi-truck. Truck drivers will save time and effort by pre-soaking the truck before scrubbing it with a brush. Not only does this make the process easier, but it also helps them figure out which areas they should focus on.

Step 2: Cover it with Soap

Lather the semi-truck with Soap. The operator must avoid dish soap and detergent as it would negatively impact the semi-truck paint. Use a combination of automotive Soap with warm water for the best effect.

Step 3: It’s Scrub Time

Once the semi-truck is lathered with the soap water, the next step is to use the scrub. Use a foam brush to work on harder-to-reach areas.

Step 4: Rinse The Semi

Next, the semi-truck operator must rinse the machinery. It is wise to work in sections to avoid making the task more challenging.

Step 5: Drying The Semi

Once the rinse is done, the semi-truck operator must dry the semi-truck using a soft cloth. They must wear soft clothes to prevent any scratches on the surface of the truck. Alternatively, letting the semi-truck dry under the sun would also do a good job.

Step 6: Waxing it Up

The final step of the process is to apply a coat of wax on the truck. It will ensure that the paint is protected.

It's Scrub Time

Step-by-Step Guide on Washing Using Touchless Cleaning

A semi-truck operator can clean their semi-truck using the one or two-step touchless cleaning method. This process is recommended when a pressure wash is required to clean the semi-truck.

Step 1: Choose The Suitable Compound for Cleaning

The first step for touchless cleaning is choosing the right chemical. One must utilize a high-pH alkaline detergent to get the best result from the wash.

Step 2: Focus on Sections

Once you have gotten the right chemical for the pressure wash, you will need to spray it. It is advised that you focus on one section at a time. Try to keep the section around 8 to 10 feet.

Step 3: Let The Solution Sit on The Truck’s Surface

Once you have sprayed a specific section with the appropriate amount of alkaline solution, you must let it set for a minute or so. Make sure that the chemical does not get completely dry.

Step 4: Use Warm Water to Clean

After letting the solution for a minute, use warm water, around 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, to clean the truck. Use a pressure spray to do that.

That is it. Your semi-truck is now cleaned without you needing to rub, scrub, or even touch the semi-truck. That is the reason behind the name of this procedure.

Step-by-Step Guide on Washing a Semi-Truck using Touchless Cleaning

Washing Your Truck With an Automatic Truck Wash

An automatic Truck wash is an automated truck wash facility that uses a powerful scrubbing system to clean trucks. This system can remove heavy dirt and grime from the vehicle with minimal energy input.

The operator only needs to take their semi to the washing centre, and the professionals working at the station would handle the process. One needs to remember a few things while using an automatic truck wash.

  • Ensure the windows are properly shut, as you would not want the truck’s interior to get wet.
  • Leave the trailer at the facility or the parking spot, as it would not go under the cleaning process at the facility. However, this is something you have to verify for yourself.
  • Confirm whether you want the wax applied at the end or not.
  • Ensure that the water pressure is not too high or too low.
  • If the wash is not working, shut it off and call for help from a professional.
  • It is crucial to ensure that the truck is completely dry before driving away.

How Much Does the Automatic Truck Wash Cost?

It depends on the service provider, as the rates of automatic truck washing services differ in different locations in the country. Typically, you would have to pay anywhere between $35 to $70.

However, it should be noted that this is the cost only for a simple truck wash. If you want to add waxing and other procedures, it will cost more.

It would usually take around 15 to 20 minutes for the whole process to complete. So, the $35 to $70 charge is good enough.

You can also connect with a service provider for regular cleaning services and regular truck washes at different prices. It is often what transportation companies do. They partner up with an automatic truck cleaning service provider for their fleet.

Washing a Semi-Truck At an Automatic Truck Wash

How Often Should You Wash Your Equipment?

As a truck operator, there are many things you need to do to keep your truck in good condition. One of these tasks is cleaning your semi. You should wash it at least every two weeks, but some drivers recommend doing it more often.

There are a few factors that affect how often you should wash your semi-truck. These include the type of material the truck is made of and the climate in which the semi operates.

If the truck operates in a cold environment, you should clean your semi-truck more frequently because dirt and grime can build up quickly on surfaces like metal and plastic.

What to Do Before Cleaning Your Rig?

Semi-truck trailers are a common sight on the highways and need to be cleaned regularly. The first step in cleaning a semi-truck trailer is to remove all the equipment from it, including all of its attachments and anything that may have been left behind during transport.

It includes tools and other items that have been left inside the trailer. The next step is to remove any dirt and debris from inside it before scrubbing it with water and detergent. Finally, dry it off before loading it up again for transport or storage.

Should One Pressure Wash Their Engine?

Should One Pressure Wash Their Engine

The answer to that is an absolute no. Any experienced semi-truck operator would advise against doing such a procedure because it is simply not a good idea.

Pressure washing an engine could damage the engine parts, which naturally is not something anyone would want to tackle. However, that does not mean there are no steps one can take to make the process safer.

Here are some steps that you need to follow to make the process a lot safer:

  • Cover engine parts that are likely to get wet during the pressure wash. ECM, air intake, alternator, and starter motor, are just some of the many parts you need to cover.
  • Avoid touching any plug or wiring in the engine during the cleaning process. In fact, it is better to cover all the electrical parts.
  • Apply a degreaser and let it sit for a couple of minutes.
  • Rinse the degreaser using a low-pressure hose.

If you follow these steps to the letter, you are sure to not only clean the semi-truck engine but also ensure that there are no future complications because of the process.


Semi-trucks are large vehicles, especially ones that have been designed for heavy-duty commercial use. They require a lot of effort and time to be washed.

However, if you follow the above guide to the letter, you can make this process a lot easier. Alternatively, you can connect with a truck washing service provider to help you out.

Share This Article
Leave a comment