Tesla Detailing and Cleaning Guide
You’ve just parked your Tesla in the driveway after a long road trip, and it’s covered in dirt, grime, and bugs and desperately needs a wash and detailing. While you could take your Tesla through the touchless car wash around the corner, it is recommended to hand wash your vehicle. So, what are the best methods for detailing a Tesla? Let’s find out.
Washing Your Tesla
When washing your Tesla, make sure the car isn’t parked in direct sunlight. This helps keep soap and water from drying too quickly and leaving spots behind. Additionally, if you have hard water, you can attach a water filter to the hose to help eliminate any water spots.
The first step is to rinse off the car to remove any loose dirt and debris. If it’s winter, be sure to pay extra attention to the underside of the car, its brakes, and the wheel wells to remove any road salt and prevent corrosion.
Next, wash the car using water and a mild soap, sans additives such as paint protectors and waxes. At this point, you can apply a bug and tar remover on areas of the front end and mirror covers to get rid of any stubborn spots.
With a pressure washer and a foaming kit, coat the car’s body in a layer of soap foam and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the soap to penetrate and break down the dirt and grime.
While you wait for the soap to loosen the dirt, wash the wheels. Using a dedicated sponge, wash mitt, or brush, work in between the wheel spokes, along the outer edge, and the inside of the wheel. You may need to use a degreaser to remove any brake dust and other debris. Then, rinse off your car.
Using the two-bucket method, hand wash your Tesla. This method helps keep you from reintroducing dirt to the car’s surface, resulting in scratches and swirls in the paint.
Fill one bucket up with soap and water. Add only water to the second bucket, and fit it with a grit guard. The grit guard will trap debris and dirt underneath it as you rinse off your wash mitt so that it doesn’t end up in the soap bucket and on your vehicle.
After each section, rinse off your wash mitt in the second bucket, and then proceed with putting it into the soap bucket and continuing the wash.
Working from top to bottom, be sure to wash the surface of your car in straight, back-and-forth movements rather than in circles. This helps prevent swirls and scratches in the paint.
Finally, rinse off your Tesla and dry it off with a soft microfiber towel. Then, clean the exterior of the windows with an automotive glass cleaner.
Tesla Car Detailing
After you’ve dried off your Tesla, use a piece of a clay bar to remove embedded dirt and contaminants from the paint’s surface. You don’t need the entire clay bar — a small piece will go a long way.
With a spray bottle of either water or clay lubricant, spray the clay bar and the area of the body you’ll be working on and rub the clay bar over the area until it feels smooth. Then, wipe off the excess lubricant with a microfiber towel. If you somehow drop the clay onto the ground, do not reuse it. Instead, throw it away and grab a new piece so that you don’t end up scratching the paint.
If needed, go ahead and polish your car. Add a little bit of polishing compound onto the pad of an orbital polisher. Working in small, overlapping sections, move the polisher from left to right and up and down.
Be sure to wipe off the polishing compound with a microfiber towel before it dries on the body. With a degreaser, remove any remaining polishing compound from the surface and wipe away with a microfiber towel.
To seal in the shine and help water bead off all the car’s exterior surfaces, apply a sealer or ceramic coating. Using one microfiber cloth for applying the coating and another for buffing the surface dry, apply the sealer or ceramic coating in straight left to right and up and down motions.
Lastly, evenly coat the sidewalls of the tires with a tire dressing to give them that showroom shine.
Detailing Your Tesla’s Interior
Last but not least, detail your Tesla’s interior. Thoroughly vacuum the floors and seats. Then, dampen a microfiber towel with either water or interior cleaner and wipe down the interior surfaces, including the screens and door panels. To get into the little hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of the interior, you may need to use a small brush or cotton swabs.
Next, clean the seats with an interior cleaner. Be sure that the cleaner does not have any detergents in it. Apply the cleaner to a soft microfiber cloth and gently wipe the seat surfaces in circular motions. After thoroughly cleaning the seats, wipe them down with a different microfiber towel to get rid of any excess cleaner, and allow the seats to air dry.
Finally, use an automotive glass cleaner to clean the inside of the windows.