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What's state of the art for washing a Model S at home and making it shine?

I'm not comfortable taking my baby to the local car wash because I see them use the same rags on multiple cars and some roll out of the car wash still with dirt. I've yet to find a decent hand wash place in the DC area so I figured might as well learn to wash the car at home. It will take me 40 minutes to drive someplace, have them wash the car, and drive back home but I'm thinking in less time I can wash the car on my driveway!

So far what I've gathered is that the best approach is the two bucket method with something called Optimum No Rinse but they have several different types and I'm not sure what to get. Should I get the blue type or is there something else better?

I'm still looking for a paint protection file option at a reasonable cost in the DC area so the car is not protected by film so I want to safely get all the dirt off the paint and add a protective layer that is safe for the clear coat and makes the car shine.

I'm looking for a list of things to buy starting with the two buckets, microfiber, proper washing mits, etc., so please share your advice, recommendations, and your favorite videos! Also looking for a quality interior cleaner for the dashboard and a good quality leather cleaner and conditioner. I'll post a photo of the washed car after all the advice :)
i used ONR green, with the wax. Started out using 2-bucket method, now i just use the 1-bucket method. Use different sections of a microfiber cloth until no clean sections left, then switch to a clean microfiber cloth and repeat. I probably go through 10 or so... then just wash them after. Takes me a little over an hour. Wheels are the worst part.
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Apr 25, 2015
Is the distilled water for rinsing the car after applying ONR with regular water or are you suggesting distilled water also for applying ONR?

You can use distilled water direct in one of those insect sprayers or chemical guys pressurized sprayers ...with ONR u really don’t need to rinse ..spray on and use mitt to loosen dirt than wipe with microfiber ..
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Here's my wash regimen:

2018.09.03: The Fine Details

I don't consider this state-of-the-art, but it's more hardcore than what many would be willing to put up with. It's all about your expectations and the kind of results you actually want to achieve. DIY detailing is a deep rabbit hole and you can go nuts with this stuff. The detailing industry is also highly prone to sensationalized marketing claims with a ton of permutations on products to buy and variations on wash/dry methodology. In my opinion, your wash/dry process is way more important than strictly products. Some of these boutique products are worth the extra cost (for me anyway) and help ease certain parts of the wash operation ... but I doubt most people would notice differences in the results in respect to what products were used.

ONR is something I used for a bit 10 years ago and recently re-adopted, but there are times when I prefer a more traditional soapy-wash since I like drying with an air blower (think of it as therapy). I use a generic microfiber mitt with ONR but also rely on detailing brushes or microfiber towels depending on the areas I'm working on.

Part of my detailing kit also includes things like the IK sprayers (Goizper Group IK Sprayers Products - The Rag Company), The Rag Company Edgeless 365 towels (Edgeless 365 Premium 16 x 16 Microfiber 70/30 Terry Detailing Towel), their Pearl towels (THE PEARL 16 x 16 Green Microfiber Ceramic Coating Interior Towel), and even wooden toothpicks to clean up the crustiness around the Tesla embossing on the rear appliqué. I've done the distilled water route with using a battery powered pressure washer and also a CRSpotless for deionized water rinsing but don't really use them anymore. All this can get really, really involved and time-consuming if you want it to. Some of us go to this extent because, well, it's fun. It may have adverse effects in a marriage though.

Spend some time in the auto detailing subreddit (AutoDetailing: The Detailer's Domain) and check the FAQ.

If you're serious about your baby and want to maintain that crisp, better-than-how-it-came-out-of-the-factory look with minimal surface scratching over time, it's best to spend some hours reading through the basics.
Get the Fiji Water girl to come over ?

My Tesla is in the NOVA area (near Fairfax) so I can talk about local conditions. Many of the people using ONR are California residents where they deal with a lot of dust, not much rain, minimal road salt/winter crap and also have water restrictions.

First -- With regards to PPF film, I highly recommend American Shine Detailing (Northern VA's Detail Specialists | Ceramic Coating | PPF | Tint | Sterling VA). Call and talk to Brian (703-340-8640). He's got a phenomenal team including a PPF film guy who is a true artist. After a lot of back and forth and visiting four places in the area before I got my car, I settled on Brian. You can visit them any time and will likely see 2-3 Teslas in the shop along with some seriously high-end, exotic cars (last time I was there he also had a McLaren and a Aston Martin in the shop). Brian will walk you through all the options (film ceramic coating, etc.). Total cost was just north of $4K.

I walked in planning on front end film to protect from paint chips (I hate little chips in the hood and I keep cars for 8-10 years or longer). I ended up getting PPF over the entire car and a coating on top to protect everything (including the glass and wheels). Makes cleaning a breeze, water just beads up and flows right off during rain or a wash. I got the car in March 2017. In the Spring of 2018 and 2019 (last week) I take the car in for a full detail and treatment. Cost was $250/3 hours of time (i just sat in their office area in one of the big recliners and did work on my laptop). I consider this a full cleaning of the car to get rid of all the winter stuff that just tends to build up and get the car looking good for the next year.

Following the spring cleaning, here is my method (I live in a house with a garage and wash the car in the driveway):

- I have an electric pressure washer (one of the $99 deals, I just didn't have the need for a gas one even though they are better), and foam applicator cannon/gun. I use the Chemical guys citrus foam. Car gets a water coating with the washer (40 degree tip/lowest pressure nozzle) and then the foam and I let it sit for 2-3 minutes. While this is sitting I fill two 5 gallon buckets. One is just water and has a grit guard insert. The other is water with a capful of the Optimum car Wash (I think G4 is the wash but can't remember). I then wash all the wheels with a wheel cleaner foam tool on a stick. Always rinse in the rinse bucket to avoid grit in the soap bucket. I then hit car with the washer again to clear the foam. If the car wasn't too dirty (light wash), this is it and i now dry the car. If it was pretty dirty (say every 2-3 weeks) I next wash the car with the wash bucket...start at roof, then all windows, then hatch in back and the hood. Rinse car with regular hose, not pressure washer. Then I start on front quarter panel, wash my way all around the car going down to the line about 4 inches above the bottom of the doors (there is a natural ridge). I rinse the car after each side of car is done. Once I get nose cone done and rinsed (takes a bit to get all the soap out of the inserts around the louver). Next I go around the sides below the ridge and also do the area UNDER the car doors (a couple of inches) as well as the area under the back of the car (the black piece). I save these for last as they tend to be dirtier and have some road crap on them. Once all washed and rinsed, I proceed to drying. Use multiple soft drying towels. Start with front windshield, then roof, then back hatch. Then do hood, one side of car, around to back, other side of car, nose cone. Then pop frunk and open it. Dry the silver area around the "T", any water on the plastic pieces. I dry the outer part of the bottom of frunk lid where water collects working my way to back of the lid (near windshield). While drying that, I can also lift the wiper blades (you can't do this with the frunk closed) and clean them and the bottom of windshield). Once it's all done, close frunk. Go to rear hatch and open it. You'll discover that a LOT of water collects in the wells the rear brake lights sit in and drips out. Dry the outer part of the inside of the hatch as well as the part of the car body the hatch sits in. Check for the 4 rubber caps that cover the screws on each side of the back of the hatch underneath...they tend to come off. Once I have it as dry as can be and it has pretty much stopped dripping, I close the hatch and then catch any drips on the outside. Next I open each door, clean around the window, around the bottom and back of door and around the door jam. Finalize by applying HD-dress (no financial interest, just a great product) to the tires.

If it is winter and too cold to wash the car outside, I go to a self-serve pressure washer place about once a month and just use the pressure washer soap and wash to knock off the dirt and get the road dirt/salt off the car. I have thought about using the optimum no-rinse product in my garage and may try that next year. Just haven't tried it yet and my garage is pretty small making access to one side of the car impossible, so I'd have to wash one side, pull car out and then back it in to get the other.

I realize this is a long post but hopefully it's helpful. If you'd like to talk, drop me a DM and we'll exchange contact info. I'm actually in Virginia for the next two weeks before I head overseas again...
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I have a black car and I discovered in a hurry that no one was going to clean the car to my satisfaction. I researched all the professional coatings and it appeared that I would just pay a lot for another finish that I would have to take care of. Just by chance, I talked to a guy that manages a large collection of classic cars worth millions of dollars.. He said that when his company was looking for a product years ago, a friend told them about a product that was being used to protect boat hulls in Fla. The equivalent today is a polymer coating called Rejex. It is easy to apply and easy to maintain. My car is super shiny and always looks good. When the car needs a light touch up, I use AmorAll wash wipes.

I looked at two bucket, pressure wash, foam canon, blown air dry and all the other modern marvels of car care. I decided most of it is a big waste of time.. If your car is garaged and you are not out there off roading, rinsing the car with a hose will remove most of the dirt. Wash it with a small amount of liquid detergent. Use clean microfiber cloths and dry it with the same. If you have Rejex on the car, it will look as good as it can without all the effort.

I know a lot of people will disagree with this. It is too easy and it does not cost enough. Washing a car is not Brain Surgery and it sure isn’t Rocket Science. But if you have no other goal in life, you just may be the one to discover the next car wash break through..
I'm looking for a very gentle but effective interior cleaner that will not leave any residue and preserve the nice matte finish of the Model S premium interior. What's your favorite interior cleaner, other than distilled water?

Is Optimum No Rinse a good solution for cleaning the interior by spraying it onto a microfiber towel and using that to clean the dashboard and interior door panels?

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