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Top tips to keep your cab clean

Few operators enjoy sitting in a mucky cab, but what is the best way to restore that nearly-new look and feel to the cab interior? Geoff Ashcroft sought advice from Ryan Pryer of Devon-based RP Valeting and Detailing.

A few cleaning tips could see your cab look like new.
A few cleaning tips could see your cab look like new.

With the autumn workload mostly in the rearview mirror, it is time perhaps, to give the tractor cab a spruce up in readiness for it all to start again in spring.

 

For many, the cab is both mobile office and welfare unit, so restoring some cleanliness and order to cabs in a busy tractor fleet demands a considered approach. And in these current times, hygiene has never been so important, especially if the tractor or machine will be operated by multiple drivers. A good opportunity then, to seek advice from the professionals.


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A mucky Fendt 724 provided the ideal example machine.
A mucky Fendt 724 provided the ideal example machine.

South Molton, Devon-based professional detailer Ryan Pryer explains; “Giving a cab a deep clean once a year is good housekeeping. Though the daily challenges with a busy fleet often means the cab interior is easily over-looked.”

 

Dirty boots, mucky hands and dust soon spoil that once pristine and comfortable environment. And long days in the cab can see a gradual deterioration that can easily be over-looked.

 

So what can be done to keep on top of cab cleanliness? Using a year-old Fendt 724 Profi Plus as a worthwhile example, with its lightly coloured interior fallen victim to daily life on the farm, it is time to roll up the sleeves.

Assessing condition

Assessing condition

This once tidy interior has collected layers of dust and dirt, brought in by busy, mucky boots. As dirt dries, heating and air conditioning helps to circulate detritus, which quickly spreads to swtich gear, armrest and touchscreen surfaces. Grubby hands add to the grime, spreading it further around the cab and headlining.

Rubbish removal

Rubbish removal

Start by emptying the cab of any loose items and rubbish. Then give everything a good vacuuming, to remove and loosen dirt. RP Valeting uses an industrial 3,000 watt wet and dry machine, with a generous length of hose so the vacuum can be left outside of the cab. Crevice tools and brush attachments help to get into tighter spots. But be careful not to scratch.

Loosen dirt

Loosen dirt

Loosen dried-on materials with an all-purpose, spray-on cleaner. Use sparingly around switches and electrical items. Avoid TFR (traffic film remover), as it is aggressive and in the wrong concentrations, can cause staining which is likely to require panel or trim replacement.

Cab trim

Cab trim

Cab headlinings can be tricky. Try a small area first to see how the upholstery responds to moisture and agitation. Start with diluted, all-purpose cleaner on a scrubbing brush and work in small areas. Clean the entire headlining and not just the grubbiest spots, to avoid introducing stains from liquid cleaners used when only cleaning patches of the trim. Safety glasses are useful to prevent a splash in the eye from working below the headlining.

Seat clean

Seat clean

Leather seats are the easiest to clean, while cloth seats are more challenging to revive. After spraying with all-purpose cleaner or fabric shampoo, Mr Pryer agitates the fabric using a cordless power tool with a 125mm diameter bristle brush, on its lowest speed, to agitate and loosen embedded grime. It is a process that may have to be repeated, with moisture removed by wet-vac.

Floor mat

Floor mat

If a floor mat can be lifted out of the cab, wash it. For the rest, a generous spray of all-purpose cleaner, followed by a wet-vac will first remove the bulk of the soiling. A second spray with agitation using a stiff-bristled brush enables remaining sludge to be vacuumed from the cab floor. Pedals might need dirt picking from the tread blocks.

Take care

Take care

Wipe the cab floor and its pedals, leaving a clean surface that can then be dried using a micro-fibre cloth. Avoid using any polish or dressing that can lead to a slippery finish – clean and dry is all that is needed, or feet are likely to slide off pedals. And that is to be avoided at all costs.

Control cleanliness

Control cleanliness

Use a damp cloth, not a wet one, to carefully wipe joystick controls, screens and terminals. Avoid using any polish or silicon-based cleaning sprays that can attract dust and dirt back onto the surface. Use anti-bacterial wipes on all control surfaces to get buttons and switches hygienically clean. Apply dressings with UV blockers to plastic trims, to reduce the fading effect of the sun.

Gleaming glass

Gleaming glass

Do not forget cab glass. After all, there is likely to be more of it than there is interior trim. A good glass cleaner will easily remove dust and grime, and any finger prints, paw prints or nasal deposits from your four-legged cab companion. Wipe away moisture and remaining smears using a clean, dry micro-fibre cloth, buffing to a crystal-clear finish.

The result

The result

After four hours of deep cleaning, this Fendt 724’s cab looks as good as the day it rolled off the production line. A final wipe around the steering wheel removes any remaining traces of grime, while the addition of an air-freshener or odour neutraliser will help to keep the cab smelling of anything other than farm life.