Driving a van can be a messy business whatever trade you’re in whether you’ve got debris from the construction site, soil from plant deliveries or dirty dust sheets hanging around. Just filling the van up with your tools and equipment everyday can cause a build up of dust and dirt no matter how careful you are. Turning up to a job with an immaculate looking van will help you to make an excellent first impression, so it’s important to regularly clean your van inside and out.

Before you start, we advise to try and park your van in the shade so that it doesn’t dry too fast and leave water spots.


This includes the loading area as well as the cabin. Remove all the mats and shake them off away from the van. Make sure your clear out any rubbish such as coffee cups or food wrappers – no one wants to see what you’ve been consuming all week spread across the dashboard. Either using a solution of detergent soap and warm water or a specialised vehicle cleaning product, wipe down the door panels, gear stick, steering wheel and the dashboard. Once you’ve done that, get a bowl of clear water to wipe down the same surfaces to remove all traces of the cleaning product to avoid stains or corrosion, and then dry.

To tidy the load area, it’s best to use a broom to sweep all the dirt on the floor out of the van. If you only have a small van, you could use a dustpan and brush. Assuming that your van is ply-lined, you can use the hoover to collect any excess dirt that you’ve been unable to sweep away. Use the vacuum to also hoover the cabin interior and the mats that you removed earlier. When clean, place the mats back in the van.

If you ever take your vehicle for a valet service, you normally receive a new air freshener to give it that extra freshness – why not treat your van the same even if you’ve done the work yourself.


Now that the interior is clean, you can focus on the outside. Remember to always use cleaning products that have been specifically designed to be used on vehicles – using a household soap can errode the paintwork. It’s always best to start with the tyres, wheels and inside the wheel-arches because they get the dirtiest. A power hose would make this job much easier, but you can use a bucket and cloth (with a considerable amount of elbow grease) to remove as much grit as possible.

Pour the suggested amount of your chosen cleaning product into a bucket of warm water and use a sponge to wash the entire van. Depending on the size of your van, you might need a pair of stepladders to reach the roof.

When the whole van has been washed, use a hose or several buckets of clear water to remove the remaining cleaning product. As mentioned before, leaving the van to just dry in natural sunlight will just result in water spots, defeating the whole point of washing it in the first place. Instead, use a chamois or drying cloth (e.g. old towel) to dry the van as quickly as possible.

Cleaning your own van can be time consuming, but it is better than taking it to an automatic car wash with the big, scratchy brushes that could potentially damage your paintwork. You don’t have to do it all the time, but having a clean van gives a good impression of you and your business.