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As Tesla owners, we want our Teslas to be shiny and clean all the time. However, it can also be confusing when it comes to keeping it clean with so many washing methods out there to choose from. Here, we break down all the different ways you can wash your Tesla, so you can decide what’s best for you.

The Basics

Before we go over all the different ways you to wash your Tesla, this is very important to remember: Scratches happen either because the car’s surface isn’t lubricated enough OR you cross contaminate the microfiber wash mitt by not rinsing it enough. As it goes over the car, it leaves scratches or swirls (if you go in circles). Here are a few ways you can make sure you minimize the risk of scratching your Tesla!

  • Use the two-bucket method (if applicable). One bucket is for washing and one is for rinsing. Dip your wash mitt into the wash bucket, clean your car panel and then rinse it thoroughly before you get to the next panel. It helps to use a grit guard in the bottom of the bucket to keep the dirt down. Watch this video here for an in-depth explanation of the two-bucket method.
  • Wash in straight lines rather than circles when using your wash mitt.
  • Don’t scrub hard or use excessive force. Just gliding your wash mitt across the paint is good enough and avoids causing deep scratches.
  • Make sure to dry your car after a wash. This is extremely important as it can leave water spots if you don’t.
  • Wash top to bottom. Dirt is heaviest in areas such as the rockers and bumpers. Leave those areas for last so you avoid contamination.

Ways To Wash Your Tesla

1. Hand wash 

If you love your Tesla, you’ll wash your Tesla this way. It’s the best way since it has the least amount of chance for contamination, and therefore less chance for scratches.

There’s the foam cannon method, which we typically do at our shop. Spray down the vehicle with a pressure washer to break down heavy dirt, foam it up, rinse, the foam it up again. Then using a two-bucket system, use a wash mitt to clean the panels from top to bottom. Make sure you rinse thoroughly between panels and don’t forget to do the rockers and bumpers last! Click here to watch how to use a foam cannon. 

If you don’t have a pressure washer or foam cannon, you can do the same using the two-bucket method mentioned above. It’s still a good idea to rinse before you do this so you can loosen up the dirt with water.

When to use this method:

  • When you have a lot of time
  • You’re doing prep work (such as for vinyl or PPF installs)
  • If you love your Tesla

Recommended products:

2. Waterless

Waterless wash is exactly what it sounds like. It doesn’t require a bucket or water. It typically comes in a spray bottle. Simply spray onto the paint and wipe it with a microfiber cloth. To get the best results, we like using microfibers in the 300+ GSM category. Some products also include wax to provide some protection and shine. To avoid scratches, make sure you don’t use it after going mudding or in areas that have a lot of dirt. It’s also very important to use clean microfibers often so you don’t scratch your Tesla.

When to use this method:

  • To get a quick detail in
  • Light dirt
  • Perfect for trunk areas or door sills

Recommended products:

3. Rinseless

Rinseless wash uses a chemical that doesn’t sud up, so it doesn’t require a rinse after you wash it. However, you do still need to dry it. Mix the rinseless product in a bucket of water. It’s also handy to have a spray bottle mixed with the rinseless product so you can spray areas to pre-soak the dirtiest areas. This process encapsulates the dirt and helps avoid scratching your Tesla. We like using the “Gary Dean Method” which uses quite a few microfiber cloths. Here’s how it works:

  1. Wring out a microfiber and set it aside.
  2. Pre-soak the area you’ll be washing
  3. Grab a soaked microfiber cloth and wash the panel.
  4. Use the wrung out microfiber cloth to dry the panel.
  5. Use a clean, dry towel to fully dry and buff.
  6. Continue cleaning the other panels.

When to use this method:

  • When you don’t have access to running water
  • Your HOA, apartment complex, or city doesn’t allow car washing (runoff)
  • When you don’t have a lot of equipment
  • If the car is light to medium dirty

Recommended products: ONR

4. Automatic Car Wash 

We put this method last, because this is the least recommended as it has the highest risk of scratching your Tesla. There are two main types of automatic car washes: contact and touchless. Contact refers to automatic car washes that use brushes (either bristles or cloth) to wash the car as it goes through the tunnel. Since automatic car washes wash hundreds of cars a day, lots of dirt gets stuck on the brushes and then ends up scratching your car as you go through it. Touchless refers to automatic car washes that don’t use brushes, however they typically use harsher chemicals to break down the dirt on your car. If you had to choose one, I’d definitely recommend the touchless over the contact automatic car wash. However, if you have a vinyl wrap or ceramic coating, be careful as the harsh chemicals may discolor the vinyl or wear down the coating. It’s best to check with the vinyl company prior to running your vehicle through the car wash. 

When to use this method:

  • You really hate washing your car by hand

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