Can An Electric Car Go Through A Car Wash?

Rowan Harris 4 minutes Published: 14/02/2022

When we’re all wrapped up in the fundamentals of electric car ownership, like ‘how electric cars work’ and ‘how to charge an electric car’, it can be easy to overlook the smaller things - like whether an electric car can go through a car wash. 

Is it any wonder that, according to the UK Government’s Go Ultra Low campaign, 42% of British people thought that electric cars couldn’t go through a car wash? After all, water and electricity don’t mix, right?

Fortunately, they were wrong. It’s perfectly safe to take your electric car through a car wash.

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Can I take an electric car through a car wash?

When we’re taught from a young age that water and electricals don’t mix, it’s perfectly natural to wonder whether we should avoid spraying our cars with high pressure water entirely. 

Thankfully, washing your electric car in automatic car washes, such as rollovers, tunnels and jet wash systems, is completely safe. These machines will not damage the electrical system, electric motor or the batteries. 

Car makers are incredibly thorough, and they wouldn’t put a car on sale that was unable to withstand a lot of water. Electrical systems are sealed to prevent the intrusion of water

In fact, electric cars are so well adapted to water, they actually perform better than petrol or diesel cars in adverse weather conditions like heavy floods! 

One reason for this is that EVs do not have an air intake, so the propulsion system is not affected by being immersed in water like an engine. This gives the Jaguar I-Pace an effective wading depth of 500mm, comparable to the Land Rover Defender

In fact, Elon Musk previously tweeted that the “Model S floats well enough to turn it into a boat for short periods of time. Thrust via wheel rotation.” 

It seems that water and electricity do mix!

How do I wash an electric car at the carwash?

Washing an electric car is a lot like washing a petrol or diesel car. We’re sure you already know how to use a car wash - but just in case, we’ve listed a few general recommendations for washing your electric car, whether you decide to use a car wash like a rollover, tunnel or jet wash, or clean your car by hand. 

Tunnel Wash

When cleaning an electric car in a wash tunnel, as with any other car, you should take care to ensure that mirrors are folded in, and the antenna and any other protruding elements have been removed. 

Make sure that automatic windscreen wipers are disabled. Finally, ensure that all mirrors and doors are properly closed. 

When using a wash tunnel, the car should be in ‘neutral’ or ‘park’, with the emergency brake disabled. 

Rollovers and Jet Wash

In rollovers and jet wash areas, the car should be switched off and the brake should be engaged as you do not want the vehicle to move. Again, make sure all the doors and windows are closed and remove any external components fixed to your car. 

Do not leave your car plugged in to charge if you are jet-washing it.  

How do you wash an electric car yourself?

If you decide to wash the car yourself, there are a few things to keep in mind.

What better excuse to go and enjoy the summer sun than to wash your car? If you do decide to wash your car by hand, you’ll want to make sure that it’s a relatively cool day, or that your car is parked in the shade. High temperatures can cause cleaning products to dry before you’ve had a chance to wash them off, leaving nasty blemishes that are hard to remove. 

Make sure that you remove any dirt before you put your hands on the car. This is called a pre-wash, and it’s best to do it with a pressure washer that is designed for use on cars. Catch a bit of grit in your sponge and you’ll soon know about it!

If you decide to use a jet wash, spray the vehicle from top to bottom to clean as efficiently as possible. Make sure you keep a distance of at least one foot between the end of the hose and the vehicle. 

Make sure you use two buckets - one for soapy water, the other for rinsing. A ‘car friendly’ wash mitt will help keep paint in top condition. Likewise, using a microfibre cloth rather than driving the car to dry it out will help prevent streaks on the paint. 

To learn more about how to wash a car, be sure to check out our exhaustive guide!


When it comes down to it, there’s very little difference between cleaning an EV and cleaning a petrol or diesel car. That’s one more myth dispelled!

Ready to bust some more myths? See how you could save money on electric car maintenance costs and electric car servicing!

Still not sure whether buying an electric car is the right choice for you? Check out our list of electric car pros and cons!

If you’ve already made up your mind, make sure you compare electric car lease deals with Lease Fetcher for the best possible prices!