How to Wash a Tesla

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How to Wash a Tesla

How to properly wash a Tesla Model S, 3, X, and Y

Alright, you waited and waited, and the day finally came! You got that email that you received a VIN-number and to prepare for the delivery of your long-awaited Model Y! We know this feeling, and the year it took gave us ample time to do as much research as possible. Thankfully, as professional detailers, we already knew the answer to a question we often get asked. How do you properly wash a Tesla? If you are still waiting for your delivery or have already taken it and now need a wash, you know taking any Tesla through an automated wash is not recommended. Want to know another secret you may not have stumbled across yet? Tesla paint is notoriously soft! This means you can easily scratch your new pride and joy if you do not wash it properly.

This post will cover how we wash a Tesla properly. We will also provide a list of all the supplies you will need along the way and links to get them from Amazon for the best prices. So grab your favorite beverage, and get ready to learn from the pros!

Tesla Model S with Xpel Ultimate Plus Paint Protection Film

Rinsing your Tesla

This may go without saying, but we want to ensure as much iron, rubber, organics, and dirt are removed from the vehicle’s surface as possible before washing it. If you can wash your Tesla inside, perfect! If you are forced to do it outside, ensure you are in the shade or it is morning or evening before it gets hot and the sun beats down on it.
Use your pressure washer or garden hose to spray off anything attached to the paint. Always start at the top and work your way down, going side-to-side. This helps ensure you are blasting off as much as possible before the next step.

Rinsing supplies needed: (Clicking any of the product links will open a new tab in Amazon)
Pressure washer or garden hose with sprayer attachment

Rinsing a Model Y

Foam Cannon Treatment

Only some have a foam cannon or even know what one is. If you want to know what foam cannon we use, click here to open a new tab for our post on the MTM Hyrdo Foam Cannon. We consider this one of the most critical steps in washing any vehicle. Not only does the foam help break down dirt and debris, but it also provides a layer of lubricity. Think of lubricity as a layer of water between the paint on your Tesla and the dirt you will be moving across it as you wash.

As we have said in other articles, ask any detailer about their washing process, and you may get a slightly different version from each one. Here at The Detail Nerds, we apply the foam to the entire car and then move on to the washing phase without rinsing the foam off. If your Tesla is super dirty, we recommend spraying foam on, letting it sit for 2-5 minutes without allowing it to dry, rinsing it off, then applying another layer of foam before washing.

To summarize where we are in the process, rinse, apply the foam, and let it dwell for 2-5 minutes without drying.

Supplies needed to Foam your Tesla Model Y: (Clicking any of the product links will open a new tab in Amazon)

Foam Cannon Tesla

Washing your Tesla

Up to this point, we have rinsed the Tesla, foamed the Tesla, and now we need to wash it. With your foam sitting for 2-5 minutes without drying, it is time to start washing. To minimize damage, ensure you always use two buckets with grit guards. Check out our article on the 2-bucket wash method by clicking here. One bucket has soap in it. The other bucket is plain water and is used for rinsing your wash mitt or sponge.

Take your sponge and dip it in the soap bucket. Start at the top of your Tesla and wash all the glass first. Once the glass has been washed, rub your sponge on the grit guard in the rinse bucket. Then, dunk it back in the soap bucket. With a freshly cleaned and soaped sponge, wash one door from the top down in straight-line motions. It is super important to wash in straight lines. Straight scratches are much easier to polish out than circular ones.

Everyone wants to wash like Daniel Son on The Karate kid “wax on, wax off,” but this causes swirls!

Once you finish your door, rinse the sponge/wash mitt in the rinse bucket, dunk it in the soap bucket, and repeat on every panel of the car one panel at a time.

You may be asking yourself why we are being so anal with one panel at a time. Well, the reason is your sponge or wash mitt is collecting dirt and debris that can and will scratch your paint. We want to minimize the chances of scratches as much as possible by getting all this gunk off your sponge. This is also why we have a rinse bucket. If you were to rinse in the same bucket, your sponge would just be saturated with scratch-causing debris.

Supplies needed for the wash: (Clicking any of the product links will open a new tab in Amazon)
Two five gallon buckets
Two grit-guards
Wash mit or spinge
Soap (Gyeon Bathe)

Washing a Tesla Model Y
The Post Wash Rinse

Pretty straightforward here. Start at the top of your Tesla and work your way down. Ensure you take your time here and get all the soap rinsed off. Leaving soap residue behind can leave streaks and attract dirt and other contaminants.

How to Properly Dry Your Tesla Model 3, X, S, or Y

At our shop, we only use a towel to dry any vehicle if we are going to perform a paint correction on it. Yup, that’s right, we always use a blower. We understand you may not have the room or extra cheder for a blower, so please read the next couple of lines carefully. If you must use a towel to dry it, we only recommend only one towel, which is below. It needs to be a high-wick towel in case there is still dirt and debris on your paint. Seeing you did not do a chemical decon or clay bar, we promise there is stuff left on your paint that will scratch it if it gets caught in a towel and dragged across the paint.

We recommend having two of these towels. If you ever drop one, do not use it to dry, as you just picked up a bunch of crap from the ground. Once again, go in straight-line motions working your way from the top down. Do not press hard on the towel; let the towel do the work. Another reason for having two towels is to do another once over with the dry one. You do not want to leave any water spots behind, especially if you have hard water or plan to leave the vehicle in the sun. Water spots can wreak havoc on your paint.

Supplies Needed to Dry Your Tesla: (Clicking any of the product links will open a new tab in Amazon)
Two drying towels
Blower (this is the blower we use in our shop)
– Leaf Blower

Drying a Tesla Model Y

You can use a leaf blower to dry also. Just be careful not to blow debris up from the ground and potentially sandblast your paint. If you live in a super dusty region, make sure the leaf blower has a filter. If it doesn’t have a filter, do not use one!

We threw a lot at you there, but we promise that washing and maintaining your Tesla will be super fun and easy once you do this a few times. Thanks again for reading, and please share if you found this helpful!

Disclaimer – As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Any income earned from these commissions allows us to continue to research and find the best products for you to use!

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