White is Tesla’s most popular interior color option. There are 10x more searches for “tesla white interior” than “tesla black interior” worldwide on Google and it’s no wonder: it looks stunning. White brightens the inside of the car and gives off a cool and enlightened vibe. Keeping a white interior pristine though is another matter. The slightest dirt, crumb, spill, and smudge is easy to spot.
After years in the industry (and between the seats) working with numerous Tesla aftermarket interior accessories, we think this guide offers the best way to clean Tesla interiors.
There is an art to making a Tesla interior spotless, white or otherwise. First, we’ll go through the prep you should take and what materials you’ll need. After that, we’ll break down the best way to clean each part of your Tesla’s interior.
Material Needed to Clean the Interior of a Tesla
Before you start rolling up your sleeves, make sure you have everything you need. The best materials for cleaning the interior of your Tesla are:
- Vacuum with detachable nozzles
- Leather detergent
- Interior cleaner (safe with vegan leather products)
- Glass cleaner
- Rubbing alcohol
- Spray bottles
- Foam paint brush
- Water hose
- Microfiber cloths
- Detailing brush
- Dry towels/clean rags
How to Prep and Clean a Tesla Interior
Once you collect all the materials, but before you work up a sweat wiping, you’ll want to clear out everything from your vehicle. Don’t leave any pens, phone chargers, or garbage in your car, as it’ll get in the way. Also, remove the floor mats for easier cleaning.
It’s important to note that older Tesla models have leather interiors, while newer models have a vegan-leather interior. In this guide, we’ll be using a car interior cleaner. If your car has a real leather interior, substitute interior cleaner for leather cleaner. That way you won’t risk damaging your leather.
Internal Windshield and Windows
Start by mixing 50% window cleaner and 50% water in a spray bottle. Then, from the passenger seat, use a dry microfiber to remove dust and debris from your windshield and windows. Then, apply rubbing alcohol to the cloth and rub it into the windows and windshield. This will degrease the glass and make it easier to clean.
Next, spray the diluted glass cleaner on your windows and windshield. Using a new cloth, wipe away the cleaner. Repeat this on every portion of glass until the cloth comes back entirely clean. Remember to wipe in an up-down motion to reduce the number of visible streaks on your beloved Tesla.
Dashboard and Tablet
To clean the tablet, begin by wiping it down with a microfibre cloth to remove any remaining dust. Spray the diluted glass cleaner on a fresh microfibre cloth and wipe in an up-down motion to clean the display and not leave any streaks. If you’re sick of having fingerprints or scratches all over the tablet, you may want to invest in a Tesla screen protector.
Cleaning the dashboard is harder than the tablet. If you don’t have a detailing brush, use a makeup brush or other soft bristle brush. Start by diluting the interior cleaner with 50% water in a separate container.
Dip the brush into the diluted solution. Using circular motions, coat the dashboard in cleaner, which should form small bubbles and suds. Wipe off the cleaner with a clean towel, repeating the process until the towel comes back clean.
The center console on a Tesla has changed from older models, but cleaning is relatively similar. The older models have a glossy finish, while the new models have a matte finish. You can purchase console covers to protect from dust and scratches too.
To clean older models, use the diluted interior cleaner and coat the console with the brush. Create suds by brushing in a circular motion. Wipe away the cleaner with a clean towel to avoid scratching the surface. For new Tesla models, use the same method, but you don’t need to be as careful about scratches.
Teslas have three main compartments in the center console—the front compartment, the cup holders, and the rear compartment. To clean these, remove everything (including trays) from the compartments. Using your vacuum, carefully vacuum out any debris.
Next, put some diluted interior cleaner on a fresh microfibre cloth. Buff it into any hard plastic areas and wipe away with a fresh cloth until it comes back clean. To clean the armrests, brush the diluted interior cleaner into the armrest in a circular motion. Wipe off with a clean towel and repeat until the cloth comes back clean.
For older Tesla models, the steering wheel is leather, while newer models use vegan leather. The steering wheel collects the most amount of oil, so it often takes the longest to clean.
You should use leather protectants if you have an older leather wheel. Otherwise, pour non-diluted interior cleaner into a container and dip the brush into it. Next, using circular motions, rub the interior cleaner into the steering wheel, ensuring you coat every part of the wheel. Use a clean rag to wipe off the cleaner and repeat until the wheel is clean.
Climate Control and Air Vents
Knowing how to clean a Tesla Model 3 interior is different in some ways compared to how to clean a Tesla Model Y interior, but no way is more different than the air vents. Knowing how to clean Model Y interior air vents is critical for a functioning car.
The Model Y and 3 have a long air vent that runs below the dashboard. Using the foam paint brushes, press down on the air vent and drag any debris out of it. Repeat this, but press on the top of the vent. Go along the entirety of the air vent to remove all dust and debris. If your vents have an unpleasant smell, think about replacing your HEPA air filters.
Cleaning Tesla seating will be the most time-consuming aspect. Dip the brush in the diluted interior cleaner and coat the seats using a circular motion. Then, using a clean microfibre cloth, buff the seats while wiping the cleaning solution away. You’ll have to repeat this process multiple times on each seat, especially in areas where skin oil accumulates, like creases.
Seat covers can be an inexpensive and functional way to reduce the amount of future cleaning. Waterproof seat covers prevent skin oil from touching the seat material, keeping it cleaner and free from dust.
The floor mats on both the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are removable. To clean them, remove them from the car and coat them in interior cleaner. Apply water and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, then use the hose to remove all the cleaner. Wipe with a rag and repeat the process until the rag comes back clean.
The Tesla floor mats might be nice, but they’re not the best. Consider purchasing floor mats made with higher quality materials that are easier to clean and won’t show their age even after years of use.
Interior and Trunk Carpet
After you remove the floor mats, cleaning the carpet is a breeze. The best way to clean a car carpet is with a vacuum. Attach the nozzle with the most amount of suction and vacuum the entire floor. Repeat this process for the trunk.
You can also shampoo your carpet if it’s extremely dirty, but most people won’t need to. If you do use carpet shampoo, follow the directions on the label. It will specify what concentration to use and how to remove it from the interior after cleaning.
If you have young kids or a pet, you may want to invest in trunk and seat liners specific to your Tesla model. Trunk or seat liners are protective barriers that help keep stains, dirt, or mud off of your car’s carpeting. They can save you a lot of cleaning time in the future.
The most common methods of odor removal are using an air freshener, ozone machines, and, of course, cleaning. If your car still has an odor after cleaning it, try using another method.
Ozone machines work by creating ozone, a compound that mixes with odor-causing chemicals and neutralizes the negative smells. You can also use air fresheners, but they cover up the smell rather than eliminating it.
There is one thing you should never do while cleaning a Tesla, and that’s “be precious”. Let it wear and live a little. Although cleaning your interior may take an entire afternoon, enjoying yourself in one of the world’s best cars is worth the elbow grease