How to Wash a Tesla Model 3 (4 Safe & Easy Ways)

By Muhammad Hassan •  Updated: 06/10/22 •  13 min read

Washing is a clear and concise process for all cars, but is it the same for Teslas? 

If you’re a new Tesla owner, it’s undoubtedly the most confusing question for you.

Tesla Model 3 stands out as a symbol of uniqueness and modernism courtesy of its highly competitive tech.

That’s why typical car cleaning procedures might cause this beauty on the road to lose its appeal and allure! The most upsetting thing for Tesla owners is seeing their vehicle roaming on the road with a scuffed exterior. 

But don’t worry as we’ll go through four safe and easy ways to wash Your Tesla that will surely help you keep it scratch-free, shiny, and clean!

If that sounds compelling, let’s hop into it.

Precautions to Keep in Mind When Washing Your Tesla

Worried that you will scratch your Tesla while washing it? Relax and take these four main precautions to ensure a scratch-free car wash.

Move from Stern to Stem

Rockers and bumpers are usually the dirtiest. So leaving those areas last helps you avoid cross-contamination of the washing mitt.

Do Beeline Scrubbing

Scrub the microfiber washing cloths on the surface in a straight line rather than swirling them over your Tesla.

Be Gentle

Avoid using excessive force while scrubbing. Glide your wash mitt gently across the surface to prevent deep scratches or other paint damage.

Dry it in the End

Ensure drying up your car after washing as it can leave water spots if you don’t.

4 Ways to Wash Your Tesla Model 3 

how to wash tesla model 3
Credit to Az-Rael

Here are three safe and easy washing methods that will leave your Tesla looking like it just rolled out of the showroom:

  1. Handwash
  2. Touchless Car Wash
  3. Waterless Car Wash
  4. Rinseless Car Wash

But before we get into the nitty-gritty of these washing techniques, did you know that Tesla has a specific Car Wash Mode? 

Let’s discuss it first.

Tesla Car Wash Mode

Car Wash Mode, as the name implies, is meant to aid you in washing your electric car.

When you activate Car Wash mode, Tesla itself shuts down every window and charging port door to prevent any potential harm. Intrinsic features like Sentry Mode, automatic door locks, and parking are also disabled.

3 Easy Steps to Activate Car Wash Mode in the Model 3:

Per Tesla’s manual, to enable Car Wash Mode:

Note: Before using this feature, bear in mind that your car must be stationary and not charging. Also, if you forget to activate Car Wash Mode, you are at high risk of damaging your car’s windscreen wipers, charging ports, and other systems.

With that aside, let’s discuss the abovementioned methods.

1. Handwashing

If you truly care for your Tesla, you will hand-wash it every time! And why not? 

It’s an excellent approach since there’s less chance of contamination, which means less scrapes and scratches, and it’s also quite economical.

What is the Recipe for a Perfect Hand-Wash?

  1. Employ a generous amount of soap water and massage it using a car wash mitt or microfiber towel. 
  2. After scrubbing the surface thoroughly, rinse the automobile with clean water. Exert more effort! There shouldn’t be any trace of soap left on the car.
  3. Now dry it up properly using another microfiber cloth. 

Recommended Equipment for Handwashing:

Step-By-Step Guide for Handwashing:

This Method Suits You the Most When:

Check out this Tesla Model 3 hand-wash tutorial by the Tesla Photographer YouTube channel:

2. Touchless Car Wash

If your Model 3 is laden with dried mud trapped on the body, you should go for the pressure water wash/touchless car wash method.

A touchless car wash is by far the most secure method of washing your Tesla Model 3 without leaving a splotch of scratches on its surface because only soap, water, and air come into contact with your Tesla.

What is the Recipe for a Perfect Touchless Car Wash?

  1. Using a foam cannon, spray the soap.
  2. Using a pressure washer, rinse the whole surface.
  3. Use an air dryer to thoroughly dry the surface.

This method produces excellent results. It usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes to wash a Tesla using the touchless wash method.

The equipment needed for this procedure is a bit costly, but the investment will be well worth it because getting scratches on your vehicle is a major loss for anyone.

Recommended Equipment for Touchless Car Wash:

Step-By-Step Guide for a Touchless Car Wash:

  1. Completely wash out your Tesla using a pressure washer. (Tip: Keep the distance of almost one foot).
  2. Fill 15% to 20% of the foam sprayer bottle with car wash shampoo and the remainder with water.
  3. Shake the container precisely and slowly to blend the soap and water without creating bubbles.
  4. Connect the pressure washer and the foam sprayer bottle.
  5. Spread the foam all over your Tesla. (Tip: For best results, spray extremely muddy areas twice.)
  6. Allow the foam to settle for a few minutes.
  7. Rinse the car again with clean water from the pressure washer. (Tip: After rinsing, dry the car quickly).
  8. Use an air dryer to dry the car effectively. Remember drying up door boot openings, mirrors, lenses, wheels, and rims.

This Method Suits You the Most When:

Check this video by famous YouTuber Tesbros to get a sneak peek on using a foam cannon:

How to use a foam cannon to wash your Tesla?  

The contactless car wash approach produces excellent results for Tesla, particularly if your vehicle has a glass or ceramic covering. The coating also aids in the rapid drying of the car when an air dryer is used. 

3. Waterless Car Wash

The method is as precise as its name implies. You don’t even need a water supply to clean your Tesla.

What is the Recipe for a Perfect Waterless Car Wash?

It’s simply a quick and easy 20-minute cleaning process.

  1. Spray your car with a good-quality car wash spray.
  2. Allow it to settle for 5 to 10 minutes on the surface to soften the bird droppings, dead insects, tar stains, etc.
  3. Wipe it down with a clean microfiber cloth.

The spray not only softens the dirt but also protects the surface against scratching and leaves a glossy finish.

This approach is the most inexpensive and time-saving and requires no water. The equipment needed for this procedure is also as minimal as this car wash type. 

Recommended Equipment for a Waterless Car Wash

Step-By-Step Guide for a Waterless Car Wash:

  1. Spray a generous amount of the waterless car wash spray on the whole section of your Tesla (or entire body if you don’t want to go by portion).
  2. After a few seconds, wipe the liquid with a clean microfiber cloth, scrubbing in a beeline several times. (Tip: Wipe it very carefully.)
  3. Scrub the entire area lightly with another clean microfiber cloth.
  4. Repeat the technique for all additional external components, such as rims and side mirrors.

This Method Suits You the Most When:

Check this video by famous YouTuber Pan The Organizer to get a more in-depth insight into waterless car wash:

How to give your Tesla a waterless car wash?

4. Rinseless Car Wash (The 2-Bucket Method)

Rinseless car wash has certainly attracted many eyeballs because of its extremely swift procedure and excellent results.

So if you are a Tesla owner who has no time and energy for a hectic hand-wash or a touchless car wash but wants a clean and shiny Tesla, then a rinseless car wash is by all means for you!

What is the Recipe for a Perfect Rinseless Car Wash?

Rinseless wash uses a chemical that doesn’t sud up, so it doesn’t require a rinse after you wash it. However, you still need to dry it. 

Here’s its simple recipe:

  1. Mix up the rinseless solution in the water bucket.
  2. Pour it on a spray bottle and spray for presoaking of dirty patches on your Tesla.
  3. Scrub it down with an already-soaked microfiber washing cloth. 
  4. Wipe it with another microfiber cloth to dry it down.

This process tones down all the dirt particles and helps you avoid haunting scratches on your sizzling Tesla. 

This approach is really economical and time-saving and requires a scarce amount of water. 

The equipment needed for this procedure is also as minimal as this car wash type. 

Recommended Equipment for Rinseless Car Wash

Both exterior and Tesla Model 3 interior cleaner by Optimum

This rinseless car wash method has been credited to Gary Dean, a car detailer from Tampa, Florida. And the only disadvantage I see to it is that you might use quite a few microfiber cloths.

Here’s how it goes.

Step-By-Step Guide for Rinseless Car Wash:

  1. Grab 2 buckets with a grit guard and fill them with 2 gallons of water. (Twice as much if you’re going to clean two cars.)
  2. In one of the buckets, drop 2 capfuls of Optimum No-Rinse (or other rinseless washing solution). Stir thoroughly.
  3. Dip a cloth (or mitt) and fill out a spray bottle with the cleaning solution you just created.
  4. Spray one car part completely and let it sit for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Wipe the dirt out with the soaked cloth or mitt. 
  6. Clean the cloth and pass several times if needed.
  7. Take a dry cloth and wipe out the clean area until dry.

This Method Suits You the Most When:

Rinseless car wash is no doubt a blessing with no sorrow if:

Check this video by YouTuber Tesla Raj to get a more in-depth insight on rinseless car wash for Teslas:

This is how you give your Tesla a rinseless car wash in very little time. Core steps are shown between 4:46 – 8:27.

How to Keep Your Car Clean for Longer

Cleaning your car can be time-consuming and exhausting. 

So here are some pointers to assist you in keeping your Tesla clean and sparkling all the time:

  1. Do not eat inside.
  2. Knock your shoes before getting in.
  3. Clean your floor mats regularly.
  4. Do not wash your vehicle in direct sunlight.
  5. Prefer day-to-day cleaning because it consumes less time than once-a-year cleaning.

Some more practical aftermarket options that can help you keep your Model 3 look fresh and clean for a longer time span are:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Tesla Model 3 go through a car wash?

Tesla warns its owners from conventional soft-touch automatic car wash. They claim that if you want to take your Tesla to an automatic car wash, then only use a touchless car wash. 

Can I wash my Tesla while charging?

If by washing you mean a full-course hand-wash or a touchless car wash, then the answer is a BIG NO!

Even though charging ports are waterproof, washing your Tesla while charging can be horrendous as it may short-circuit or damage the charging port.

But there is no limitation on cleaning a specific portion with a waterless car wash while charging if all precautions are observed.

Can you pressure wash a Tesla?

Tesla also recommends its users to avoid pressure washers. But this type of car washing is safe if you follow necessary precautions like maintaining adequate water pressure and a suitable distance between the nozzle of the pressure washer and the surface of the Tesla (approx. 30 cm).

How often should you wash your Tesla?

You can wash your Tesla once a week or once a year; it’s up to you. 

However, if the well-being of your electric vehicle is your top preference, opt for the first option.

And in case you travel large distances and go through muddy tracks almost every day, the first option becomes a necessity. Leaving dust and debris long enough on your car will scratch and damage the paint.

Final Thoughts: How to Wash a Tesla Model 3

Washing your Model 3 is just like washing any other car; you just have to be a little bit more cautious with a Tesla.

There are several ways to go about it, but the final choice of car wash type strictly depends on your pocket and time. 

If you’re free, maybe on a weekend, and love your car enough to clean it yourself, there is no option better than handwashing your Tesla.

On the other hand, if you’re going to get professional assistance, make sure they use touchless car wash as recommended by Tesla.

Have more interesting insights on the subject matter? Feel free to comment them down below.

Muhammad Hassan

Engineer by trade and writer by passion, Hassan is an automotive enthusiast who thinks EVs are the future. At TTU, he discusses the coolest features and products Model 3 owners look for -- so they can better experience their cars. In his free time, he enjoys tea, reading, and listening to podcasts.

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