Spring Cleaning: How to Clean Your Cargo Control Equipment

spring cleaning cargo control items from semi truck trailer

It's time for spring cleaning once again! With the weather getting warmer and days getting longer, there is no better time to clean out the winter clutter and reorganize your cargo control equipment before ramping up for the spring.

Read our guide for some tips and tricks on how to clean your cargo control equipment, from trailers to ratchet straps and other supplies.


    Why is Spring Cleaning Important for Cargo Equipment?

    Keeping your equipment clean should be of the utmost importance if you work in the cargo control industry. While it's expected to clean and inspect your equipment year-round, the spring cleaning season puts an emphasis back on the importance of doing this activity. The way you care for your cargo equipment can have a number of effects:

    1. Increases Equipment Longevity: Cleaning your equipment and other cargo items increases the likelihood of them lasting longer.  

    2. Increases Resale Value: Keeping your equipment in tip-top shape will help keep the value of your used items higher than normal if you decided to sell them off. Buyers don't want used items that are broken or dirty.

    3. De-Clutters Unnecessary Items: Clutter builds up in trailers, shops, and trucks. This is especially true for items that many feel they can repurpose or reupholster instead of buying brand new equipment. Spring cleaning is great for determining which items are worth keeping and those that you need to part ways with.

    4. Prevents Accidents: Piggy-backing off the previous point, getting rid of items that are old, tattered, and broken is a great way of preventing potential accidents from happening with these faulty items. You should never use equipment that isn't inspected or cleared for appropriate use according to the job at hand.


    How to Clean Cargo Control Equipment

    wooden crates inside enclosed cargo trailer

    Spring Cleaning Enclosed Vans & Trailers

    Enclosed trailers not only safeguard your cargo and other supplies, but they provide essential protection over these items during the harsh winter months. Of course, over the course of the season, you're bound to track in snow, sand, and other grit inside the trailer as you load up cargo. Or you may use enclosed trailers to pile equipment inside to keep them warm and protected. Nevertheless, enclosed trailers should always be at the top of the list for spring cleaning.

    Cleaning your enclosed trailer helps maintain a professional look, increases resale value for a trailer in well-condition, and prevents harmful substances from occurring such as rust or aluminum oxide buildup.

    Tips for Enclosed Trailers:

    • Clean Dirt/Debris
      First, you want to clean your trailer top-to-bottom of any dirt, sand, or other debris. Cleaning out the interior of your trailer is called a  "trailer washout." Consider washing down both the inside and outside of the enclosed trailer with a power-washer.

    • Inspect Tie Down Track
      Depending on your trailer setup, you might have E-Track or L-Track rails inside to strap down cargo and other supplies. Take a look at these rails and see if you notice any damage (e.g. dents, broken slots, loosened screws). You may want to repair or replace these components before the busy spring season.

      • Organize Supplies
        Enclosed trailers typically hold a plethora of supplies, from moving equipment to construction tools. In the great tradition of spring cleaning, try to keep things you absolutely need inside the trailer and put things you don't need away for the season.

        You can actually use certain cargo control equipment to organize other cargo control equipment! Use E-Track storage bins to put loose items in one cohesive place that easily attaches/detaches from your E-Track rail. Other materials like bungee cords and rubber tarp straps can help tie things together or strap things down 


        spring cleaning a flatbed trailer for semi truck

        Spring Cleaning for Flatbed Trailers

        Flatbed trailers are typically covered up during the winter months to prevent snow, rain, or other road debris from damaging any cargo. Over time, this debris builds up and potentially eats away at the trailer. Spring cleaning your flatbed trailer makes life easier for you as a truck driver come springtime.

        Tips for Flatbed Trailers:

        • Look for Damage
          Whether your trailer is a regular flatbed, a lowboy, or maybe even a step deck, you are likely to find some damage or even wear-and-tear from winter driving. Worn or broken trailer decking is a major concern, so make sure you inspect this. Other common issues include trailer alignment, ramps, and problems with taillights.

        • Repair Flatbed Tarps
          Truck tarps often bear the brunt of winter driving. Aside from cleaning your truck tarp, make sure to inspect it for any holes or tears that need patching up. Our tarp repair kits make this task very easy to do.

          • Check Winches: Winches help to strap down cargo to the trailer, as well as keep truck tarps from billowing while in transit. Inspect your winches for notable damage, as well as the winch straps and winch track if you have an adjustable setup. The dangers of having a faulty winch system can affect your cargo, your truck and trailer, and even your ability to haul freight.

            bundle of wire rope slings with yellow grade 80 sling hooks

            Spring Cleaning for Lifting Slings

            Besides transportation, lifting and rigging supplies need to have a look over before the warm months arrive - more specifically, lifting slings. These tools are made with the highest quality materials to reduce the effects of damage and wear and tear. Nevertheless, it's important to organize and clean out your lifting equipment before spring.

            Tips for Lifting Supplies:

            • Inspect Slings: This is a great time to check out your lifting slings. Look for minor cuts or fraying as well as deep abrasions to the fabric or wire rope, depending on your type of sling. Toss any you think are unfit to continue using.

            • Observe Rigging Hardware: It's also important to review your rigging hooks and other necessary hardware like shackles, wire rope clips, snatch blocks, and more. While these hardware items are made to be durable, looking for things like chips or breaks in the material, bent hooks, or broken components and replacing these items can be a real lifesaver when on the job.

            • Invest in Sling Protection: Sling protection works to prevent things from cutting or abrading your lifting slings. If you're looking to prevent replacing lifting slings constantly, then invest in sling protection products to reduce wear and tear.

              tow truck hooking up to the front of a broken down car on the side of the road

              Towing & Auto Hauling Spring Cleaning

              The winter months see a lot of weather-related action from tow trucks and other auto hauling experts. Their towing equipment is out in the cold weather, pulling vehicles of all shapes and sizes from easy and hard-to-reach places. They regularly inspect their equipment, but additional spring cleaning and inspection never hurts to do, either.

              Tips for Towing & Auto Hauling:

              • Clean Winch and Wire Rope: Some tow trucks rely on a mechanical winch setup using wire rope to pull and recover vehicles from stranded places. Unspool the rope from your winch to clean and inspect it for fraying, cuts, or other damage. Don't forget to clean and inspect the winch as well - this includes the motor, gears, and other elements crucial for the winch to run properly. 

              • Inspect Tow Hardware: Towing hardware like tow shackles and tow hooks need to be looked over before using them. Broken or bent tow hooks and shackles can cause hazards when towing or recovering heavy equipment on the road.


              bundles of yellow polyester ratchet straps from us cargo control

              Spring Cleaning for Ratchet Straps

              Lastly, ratchet straps and tie downs need some spring cleaning before putting them to use. Most of our tie downs are made with a strong and durable polyester material that has very little stretch and can secure different types of cargo. Giving your tie down straps a nice lookover provides peace of mind when using them to secure items and equipment for hauling.

              Tips for Ratchet Straps:

              • Clean Tie Down Straps: A little detergent and warm water goes a long way with tie downs. Once you soak these, then use a brush to clean out dirt and debris. After that, hang these straps up to air dry before putting them back to use. Note: Never use bleach-based or acidic cleaners on these straps.

                • Test Straps: Once you cleaned the straps, it's nice to put them to the test and see if they still hold up after much use. Testing your straps ensures they work to keep your cargo tied down. This also ensures that your straps stay in compliance with FMCSA and DOT standards for cargo hauling and tie downs.

                • Organize Straps: There are plenty of ways to keep your ratchet straps organized and in a clear space to grab them when you need them. Read 10 Ways to Store Tie Down Straps to learn more about these simple solutions.


                trucker power washing the front side of his red semi truck

                General Spring Cleaning Tips

                Whatever your occupation may be, there are some general guidelines to cleaning your truck and trailer and prepping them for the spring:

                • Wash Your Truck and Trailer: If you don't regularly maintain your semi-truck throughout the winter, then you'll likely need a wash. Get underneath your rig to clean out the undercarriage and up inside your tire rims to knock out any buildup. If you decide to scrub or wax the truck or trailer, then make sure to use certain cloths made of microfiber to prevent scuffing, scratching or creating soap residue marks. Doing this regularly - not just for spring cleaning - will prevent and prolong repairs down the road. 

                  • Make Sure Supplies Are Up to Code: To reiterate previous points, check your supplies for wear or damage and see if they are still eligible to use according to their safety standards. Not following standards for transportation, lifting and rigging, or towing results in serious consequences and penalties from different regulatory and watchdog organizations such as the FMCSA, SC&RA, WSTDA, and more.

                    More Articles You May Like:

                    6 USCC Products Needed for a Successful Spring Cleaning

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                    Do's and Don't's of Load Securement for Trailers

                    Moving Checklist: 15 Steps to Organizing Your Move

                    Parachute Tarps from U.S. Cargo Control


                    Contact our product experts for more information on how to clean different cargo control equipment. Call (866) 444-9990 or email customerservice@uscargocontrol.com today.

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