Washing a semi trailer

Discussion in 'Power Washing' started by mattmus4357, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. mattmus4357

    mattmus4357 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 19

    A local trucking company has asked me to wash their trailers every two weeks. What chemicals should I use to go about doing this? Would water and either chlorine or bleach work?
  2. jkitterman

    jkitterman LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    You should be using soap meant for washing automobiles. You will need to be careful around decals, etc because they will not be happy if the logos go missing or are damaged. You may have better luck with a scrub brush just because of the size of the trailers
  3. mgramling

    mgramling LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    My only power washing job is washing a gentleman's 7 semi's and carhauler trailers and a couple of his smaller duelleys and his personnal vech's. Semi's are like you see at a car lot droping 7-10 cars. I just do it part time, every other weekend on my day off from my full time job. He has a very nice fleet, Peterbuilts tons of aluminum and chrome, candy paint. I only have a small pressure washer 2.7gpm 2700psi. That I only paid $95 bucks for. So my equipment cost is minimal. I use his water.

    He doesn't want acid on the trucks or trailors. So far I have to hand brush the side rails of the trailors. Depending on the truck and trailor combo, I make approx $20-$35/hr. Just a lot of manual labor. I am trying to find me a good soap, to spray on the trailor so all I have to do it rinse it off to speed it up.

    Me buying another system is out of the question. I only probably make around$500/month. I don't have time to wash many others because of my full time job that I work about 50-65hrs week thats required. Also have to stay their for my families health insurance. Also with my first child just born. It would take me over a year, just to pay for a new system, expecially a hot water system. But it would would help out a lot.

    But if anybody has any suggestions, please don't hesistate to let me know. I am up to getting it done better and faster.

    Everybody states "let the chemical do the work for you" But so far, no dice. So I am looking for a good soap. I will try "Monster Truck Soap" from nothern tool this weekend, and see how it does.

    Any pointers greatly appreciated on chemicals.
  4. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,526

    You need to check with a local chemical supplier....I did this for years with a former company.....we used a 2 step acid product.....put chemical 1 on 1 side of the trailer then go back and use step2 and go over the same side trailer....then rinse......seems it was products from chem-x but I cant remember now
    Just be sure what ever you get is glass safe....the products we used if it got on glass...you replaced the glass because it would etch it where you couldnt see through it....be very careful...a slight breeze will carry it a fair distance....I found out the hard way lol

  5. Landrus2

    Landrus2 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,050

    Are you washing the tractors to?:drinkup:
  6. mgramling

    mgramling LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    If that question is directed to me. Yes. Tractors too.

    As gentleman stated earlier. To use an acid. Owner won't let me. He is worried just like me, about the acid. Acid will possible etch windows, but will definately ruin paint, streak aluminum. So it is going to have to be a good soap. But the soap can't be to hot as well, because soap can streak aluminum too. Maybe which I am sure their is weaker acid.

    the owner that I PW for,tries to keep his trucks for as long as possible 5-8 years. So paint has to be protected.
  7. grass_cuttin_fool

    grass_cuttin_fool LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,526

    although its called acid.....its a 2 step wash and doesnt hurt paint........just not glass friendly. We used another soap for the trucks...it was called clean cargo.....in 20 years of washing we found it was by far the best on the market.
  8. mgramling

    mgramling LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    Yesturday I ended up using a Monster Truck Soap from Northern Tool Mixed at 1:10 & Superclean degreaser mixed at 1:10 both combined in a handheld sprayer. Worked very well. Left very little road film. Next time I will try and mixed it probably in between 1:5-1:8. But I was impressed.

    It was a Candy apple blue truck and trailor that looked almost grey with road film and salt residue. I didn't brush much on the trailor, but did brush the truck. Saved me over an hours time. Normally takes 4 1/2 hours when its thats nastey. Took me just a tad over 3 yesturday.

    If I had a better pressure washer or hot water setup I probably knock off another hour.

Share This Page