How to wash a Tesla Model 3…how to wash a Tesla Model 3…that’s easy! Drive it through the car wash silly! Welp, that’s it for me. I’m sure my editor will be happy with all the effort I put in to today’s article. All kidding aside, the Model 3 is no ordinary car. It is so extraordinary in fact, that Tesla recommends that you DO NOT use commercial car washes. According to the Model 3 owner’s manual for North America:

“If washing in an automatic car wash, use Touchless car washes only. These car washes have no parts (brushes, etc.) that touch the surfaces of Model 3. Using any other type of car wash could cause damage that is not covered by the warranty.”

Yikes! I would hate to see anyone get jammed up with warranty issues. Please, do not use automatic car washes that have brushes! The owner’s manual provides additional recommendations from Tesla about proper exterior care. I won’t go into too much more detail, but feel free to download it by clicking here and check them out for yourself. The warnings for exterior washing start on page 163.

To the Forums!

While I certainly recommend following the advice of the manufacturer, real life sometimes dictates you take a different route. After all, the manufacturer puts out warnings like the one above to cover their own behinds. They want to keep costs down and performing repairs to cars that are still under warranty can be a costly endeavor. As is my usual routine in researching these pieces, I found that the various forums frequented by actual Tesla owners to be the most helpful when providing guidance. After all, who better to turn to then anonymous Internet trolls when it comes to automotive care. I’m just kidding, I think the vast majority of the posters on these forums are genuine in their efforts to help others.

A product that many users on the various forums recommend is Optimum No Rinse Wash and Shine. It costs about twenty bucks for a 32 oz. bottle and can be delivered to your doorstep in as little as two days if you order from Amazon Prime. Directions seem simple enough. You simply:

“-Add 1 oz. of Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine to 2 gallons of water in a bucket.

-Soak a plush microfiber towel into the wash solution and wash one section at a time till it is completely clean.

-Dry the section using a clean plush microfiber towel.”

Users do recommend however, that you have a second bucket filled with only water to wash off any excess residue just in case. YouTuber “Tesla Raj” made an excellent and EXTREMELY thorough video on the way he uses Optimum No Rinse to wash his Tesla. Please check it out here if you are interested:

Other Methods

While not at all helpful, it is funny so I’m going to share it with the class. A user posting to this thread on the Tesla Motors Club forum asked other participants how they kept the exterior of their Model 3s clean. A user going by the moniker “Watts_Up” simply posted the following:


While this suggestion is most definitely not at all helpful as it necessitates that you never actually drive your car, it is funny nonetheless. Other Model 3 owners seem to prefer much simpler methods for washing their vehicles than described above. User “steven415” keeps it simple. His method is to:

“-Spray with water

-Microfiber towel with soap all over

-Spray off soap

-Wipe dry with microfiber towel

-Finish in less than 10 minutes.”

Seems easy enough. We all lead busy lives so anything that can be accomplished in less than 10 minutes is a definite plus.

For those of you out there with a bit more time to spare, “gtmotor” shares his method:

“1) Connect hose to (softened) water source
2) Connect hose to pressure washer
3) Pressure rinse entire car
4) Foam cannon entire car, let sit for 5 minutes
5) Wipe down with a microfiber mitt
6) Pressure rinse entire car
7) Use a squeegee to get water quickly off of the glass
8) Use a leaf blower with a special attachment to dry the rest of the car as much as possible
9) Touch up with microfiber towels
10) Clean wheels with car soap and microfiber cloths

Takes about 1.5-2 hours.”

“gtmotor” does admit however, that he goes “way overboard.”

For the Big Ballers…

If you’re not on a tight budget, it might be worth it to consider ceramic coating or a ceramic wrap for your Model 3. We covered these options back in September, you can read about them by clicking here. If you want the Cliffs Notes version, ceramic coating can keep your car looking clean, but it will not provide protection against paint chipping. Ceramic coating usually costs in the neighborhood of $1500, making it a reasonably priced option. Ceramic wrap will run you a bit more, usually costing between $4500 and $6000 when all is said and done. After your car is “wrapped,” it will provide protection from paint damage but not from dents.

If you are REALLY concerned about the paint on your beloved Model 3, you can always have a ceramic coating AND a ceramic wrap applied. This will keep your your car nice and shiny and protect it from paint chipping. Now, we realize that not everyone has $6,000 to $7,000 to spare on these products, but the option is there if you do. No matter what you choose, you will still need to wash your Model 3 periodically to remove excess dirt and debris.

In Summation

How you decide to care for your Model 3 will depend largely on your budget and how much time you are willing to allocate to caring for it. No matter what method you choose, you own an amazing vehicle that is revolutionizing the automotive industry. Pretty cool if you ask me!

What methods do our readers use to wash their Tesla Model 3? Have you tried Optimum No Rinse and Shine or any other products and care to comment on their effectiveness? Please leave us a comment below and let us know.

Source | Image: Tesla Motors

Source | Video: Tesla Raj