Deep cleaning your work van

If your business centres on the transportation of goods, it’s likely your van is your pride and joy. Out and about, day after day, driving in adverse weather conditions, it’s tough keeping your vehicle spick and span but it’s well worth the effort.

Your van represents your business, so it’s necessary to go the extra mile and give it a deep clean every once in a while.

Insurance Factory understands the pressures couriers face, making deliveries day and night, come rain or shine. We offer reliable courier insurance tailored to your business and vehicle, giving you peace of mind when you’re out on the road.

We’re here to help, which is why we’ve also created this handy guide to deep cleaning your van. Take a look and get your van sparkling clean in no time.

Cleaning your van’s exterior

Try to clean your van on a dry, overcast day, using a pressure washer or hose to give the vehicle a preliminary rinse, ridding it of excess dirt.

Before you get started, make sure you’ve ticked off all the items on our cleaning checklist:

Exterior cleaning checklist

Protective kit

  • Eye protection goggles

Cleaning products

  • Van wax and shampoo
  • Surgical spirit
  • Traffic film remover (TFR)
  • Rain repellent
  • Glass cleaner (ammonia-free)
  • Wheel cleaner

Cleaning tools

  • Microfibre cloths and glove
  • Old towel
  • A couple of buckets
  • A cheap toothbrush
  • Stiff brush

A man cleaning his van with a soapy sponge
Wheels first

After an initial rinse of the entire vehicle, you can get to work on your van’s wheels.

Hose them down, including the undersides and wheel arches, spritzing with the wheel cleaner afterwards. Avoid the seals and other vulnerable areas if you’re operating a pressure washer. 

Use a stiff brush on the tyres, as it’s the perfect tool for dislodging stubborn mud and debris. A toothbrush can be used to scrub the narrower grooves.

Get rid of surface grit, oil and dirt

Traffic film is the pesky coating of oil and dirt that vehicles become layered in, as they drive about.

Pop on your protective eye gear and ensure your skin’s covered, then begin applying TFR to your van’s exterior.

TFR will help shift traffic film without corroding your van’s mechanics or paintwork, as long as you rinse it off straightaway – ideally with a pressure washer, which effectively kicks the solvents in TFR into gear. It will also handle the majority of exterior grit.

Finishing touches

Position your two buckets near the van, filling them with warm water.

Using the first bucket, start by shampooing your van, with the aid of your microfibre glove. Rinse the glove in the second bucket frequently, to avoid scratching your van with gritty debris.

After this, wash away excess suds with a sluice of cold water from your hose.

Make sure you quickly buff the van dry with an old towel, as letting it air dry leaves an uneven effect.

Apply the wax to one section at a time, using a microfibre cloth, then use a second, clean microfibre cloth to remove the wax straightaway.

After this, spray glass cleaner on the tops and sides of the windows and mirrors, applying with one cloth and using a second, clean cloth to remove it.

Ensure your buff in the same direction on both sides of the window, to avoid a notably streaky appearance.

Finish off by spritzing rain repellent on all exterior glass.

Finally, apply a little surgical spirit to the wipers, reducing the chance of smeared windscreens.

Cleaning your van’s interior

Before you get started tackling your van’s interior, make sure you empty it of everything. Ensure you’ve ticked off all the items on our cleaning checklist:
A crate filled with cleaning products and cloths

Interior cleaning checklist


Cleaning products

  • Interior cleaner
  • Upholstery cleaner
  • Stain remover
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Gloss paint (matched to your van’s interior)

Cleaning tools

  • Household vacuum cleaner with detachable component
  • Scrubbing brush
  • A cheap toothbrush
  • Microfibre cloths
  • Cotton buds
  • Plain white cotton cloth
  • One large and one small paintbrush
  • Broom

Mats first

It’s always best to clean your mats first, as they take a while to dry off. Shake them vigorously, then give them a good old scrub with the interior cleaner – only hose down if they’re made of rubber.

Carpet mats should be treated with stain remover and machine washed at 40°C, on a short cycle. Give all mats time to thoroughly dry off, before placing them back inside a clean vehicle.

Clean every nook and cranny

Start by going over the entire interior space of your van with a vacuum cleaner, sucking up as much dirt, dust and debris as possible. You could also go over the back space with a broom if the vacuum cleaner doesn’t suffice.

Go over the cab with the interior cleaner, including the dashboard, storage compartments and vinyl. Using a small paintbrush is a clever way to get up inside awkward areas such as buttons, tight corners and vents.

If any dust gets dislodged during the process, quickly hoover it up.

If your van’s vinyl is extra grubby, try applying the interior cleaner, then going at it with a toothbrush.

A cotton bud is another handy tool for combating stubborn dirt sitting inside crevices such as those found on the steering wheel, bordering the badge.

Once your seats are vacuumed, you can shampoo them using the upholstery cleaner. After this, tackle ingrained dirt with help from your scrubbing brush – a toothbrush can be used on crevices that are harder to reach.

Finish by towelling off with the cotton cloth, then vacuum a second time, getting rid of any additional unearthed dirt.

The metal panels in the back of your van can be cleaned off with the all-purpose cleaner. Apply the cleaner with one microfibre cloth, and remove it with a second, fresh one.
Someone with pink rubber gloves on cleaning the front of their van

3 bonus cleaning tips

  1. Once your van is clean and has dried off, check the interior metal floor, panels and ribs for scratches, sealing them off with gloss paint.
  2. Purchase fitted covers to protect your seats.
  3. Get an air freshener for your van’s interior – it’s a great way to maintain a fresh scent.

Protecting your van with courier insurance

While a deep clean doesn’t need to be carried out often, courier insurance is always a must. You can never rule out risks on the road, especially when delivering valuable goods and working to tight deadlines.

Insurance Factory can arrange specialist, tailor-made courier insurance, including a range of optional benefits such as cover for goods in transit up to £10,000.

Don’t wait – get a quote today.