Car Snow Foam Guide - What it is and how it works (2023)

Posted byMark Sharona-November 11, 2020

I'm sure you've seen it, cars covered in a white snow shampoo like mixture that covers the vehicle nicely in a mist of snow. This is snow foam and this is a popular way to lift the dirt on your car when cleaning.

Snow Foam Car Wash Guide

In this article and guide we look at snow foaming, how it works, what it does and how to do it.

Snow Foam Lance

Snow foam is a mixture that you spray on using a pressure washer, the snow foam mixture itself is pre-foam, it sits on your car's paint and helps to dissolve and lift the dirt and grime that is there. If you let it do its job, it will be easier to wash off the dirt by hand or pressure washer, removing all dirt and stains. The mixture you use for your snow foam will depend on what you buy, however to use it you will need a snow foam gun which will be attached to the pressure washer.

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There are many brands available, so you can try a few to see what works best for you. If you don't have a pressure washer you can use rubber lances or hand pump foam guns, however we recommend investing in a pressure washer if you are looking at snow foaming your car, it makes application easier and also easier to rinse off.

Other lances that are suitable depending on the brand of your pressure washer.

The best snow foam to use?

Once you have your lance, you also need a snow foam mix. There are many to choose from and many pressure washer companies such as Karcher have their own mix that you can use however we suggest you check out Magifoam or Bilt Hamber auto foamer they are great and work really well giving a nice thick lather which helps in lifting dirt. Autobrite also offers their own snow foam mix that can be purchased with their lances as well.

From our tests we love the Autogylm snow foam mix which can be bought in bulk mix.

Our choice

Car Snow Foam Guide - What it is and how it works (2)

(Video) What Is Snow Foam, Why Use It & How To Apply It

Autoglym Polar Blast

Our rating

Polar Blast is a snow foam that can be applied via pressure washer or foam gun. Covers the vehicle in a rich blanket of foam that adheres to the paint to gently loosen dirt and heavy grime.

Buy on Amazon

Using the Snow Foam Lance

First of all you ideally need a pressure washer and a foam lance, check out our guide to car pressure washers here.

Before you start it's best to have the car dry, this prevents the foam from sliding, so if it's been wet or you've already washed the car, it might be best to let it dry before the snow foams up.


A common problem is getting the consistency right when frothing. If it's too diluted (too much water) it will just slide off the car, so it won't set and help dissolve any grime, making it a pointless exercise.

With different formulas used by different snow foam brands, it is not possible to advise on the correct formula to use. Depending on the brand of soap suds you buy, be sure to read and follow the specific instructions carefully to make sure the suds are applied properly. Watch this video below on how to snow foam your car using an Autobrite foam lance.

Depending on the instructions for the snow foam you are using for the current amount in the bottle and then top up with water and screw into the snow foamer. On the foamer itself there will be a small knob that you can turn, this will adjust the amount of foam you get when using the spray gun. If you move the button towards (+) you will get more water and if you move towards (-) you will get less water. When you have less water, you will have more foam, so you have a stronger mixture applied to the surface of the car. Feel free to experiment with different mixes until you get a foam texture you're happy with.

To get a thick foam, you want to use less water, so you don't need to fill the containers completely when mixing. When the bottles are completely full, you tend to get rougher foam. Therefore, personal preference will dictate how much water you choose to use.

You may find that topping up the bottle as you go helps the foam stick, this may not be necessary, however if you have a large vehicle and are laying down a thick layer of foam then it may get thinner as you go. up will maintain a stable layer.

Start frothing

You want to use sweeping, unhurried motions that move either up and down or from side to side. This will ensure that your car has full and even coverage. If you have an adjustable lance, using the wide spray means you need fewer passes to cover the car. Be careful using the jet spray setting because this can really remove the foam you had already put in place.

(Video) Does Snow Foam Actually Work? The Results Might Surprise You..


When the car foams, it's time to let it go. You want to cover the car with an even layer of foam and let it sit for at least ten minutes. Once you've had a cup of tea, it's time to rinse the car with water and watch the dirt slide away with the suds.

The longer you leave the foam in place, the more dirt it can remove from your car's surface. The condition of your car will determine how long you want to leave the foam on, because dirtier cars may require more sitting time. If your car doesn't come out as clean as you hoped, you can always apply a second coat.


So you've washed the car and finished cleaning, job done! However, it is important to rinse and clean the snow foam lance to ensure it is stubby for next time use. washer to clean the filter.

Helpful Tips for Snow Foaming

  • Do not let the snow foam dry completely in the car
  • Do not apply the pressure washer too close to the car, keep it about 1 meter away at all times
  • Do not use a high pressure setting as this may damage the paint
  • Always rinse and clean your foam lance with water after use. This will ensure that the nozzle is not blocked with excess foam.

How to repair and clean your snow foam lance

This is a helpful video on how to fix a problem with your lance if it is not producing thick foam or leaking water.

Useful articles

  • The best pressure washers for cleaning your car
  • Can you pressure wash your engine bay?

*Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links and at no additional cost, this site may earn a commission if you purchase.Last updated on 2023-06-09 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  1. Car Snow Foam Guide - What it is and how it works (3)


    It's amazing that it works guys, it's so helpful for me


  2. Car Snow Foam Guide - What it is and how it works (4)

    (Video) Start to finish How to snow foam a car guide Featuring Juicy Details Arctic Wipeout snow foam


    My new foam gun arrived all I had to do was attach a plastic fill tube with a solution connection to my Karcher but the only result was clear water coming out of the holes under the adjustment knob and lance but no foam. I would appreciate any information you may have, Regards M.ELLIOTT.


    • Car Snow Foam Guide - What it is and how it works (5)

      kevin day

      I bought a karcher and had no problem reading the instructions carefully, easy to use.


  3. Car Snow Foam Guide - What it is and how it works (6)

    Roland Talbot

    Can someone please help me. I have a Kacher K4 Full controller and it seems to have a different connection on the lance than the one on the snow foam bottle. Can I get a new connection that will fit?


Leave a reply

(Video) Car Washing Product Series: E1- What Is Snow Foam, Why Use It & How To Apply It!


Car Snow Foam Guide - What it is and how it works? ›

How Does Snow Foam Work? Snow foam works by creating a thick, clingy foam that sticks to the surface of your car. The thick foam increases the amount of time that the cleaning agents inside the snow foam are in contact with the dirt on the car's surface. This is what's known as contact time.

What does snow foam actually do? ›

As a pre-wash, snow foam lifts dirt and floats it away without rubbing it into the finish. Snow foam detergents encapsulate road grime, dirt, dust, and pollen, lifting it away from the surface of your vehicle.

How long should you let snow foam sit on car? ›

Spray the Snow Foam directly on to the vehicle without pre-rinsing it – Snow Foam works best when used on a dry surface. Spray it all over the vehicle bodywork and allow it to dwell for about 3-4 minutes – you will see the foam start to change colour as the dirt is lifted away from the surface of the paintwork.

When using snow foam do you wet the car first? ›

We always recommend spraying snow foam onto a wet car. This way you can get most of the top layer of dirt off the car before the foaming starts. So fire up the pressure washer and give your motor a quick rinsing down.

Do you rinse after snow foam? ›

Unlike a car shampoo, snow foam doesn't contain any lubricant to help cloths glide over your car's surface, so wiping it off can cause scratches on your paintwork. Always rinse off your snow foam with a hose or a pressure washer.

Do I need a pressure washer for snow foam? ›

Typically, snow foam is applied with a pressure washer, but other tools can also be used in absence of a pressure washer. A handheld foaming pump sprayer or a foam cannon attached to a garden hose will achieve a similar effect.

Do you have to mix snow foam with water? ›

Perhaps the most critical aspect of a snow foam is the dilution ratio. Whether it's coloured snow foam or not, you don't want to make the mistake of using an overly concentrated mixture. Most professionals will advise you to mix snow foam and water in a 1:10 ratio.

Is snow foam worth it? ›

Do I really need Snow Foam? If your serious about your paintwork then yes you do. If you take into consideration everything we have talked about so far, not using Snow Foam greatly increases your chances of scratching your paintwork by rubbing around dirt and contaminants.

What do you use after snow foam? ›

The formula in snow foam will immediately encapsulate small particles of dirt so the contaminants will simply run off the vehicle. But don't forget that snow foam is only a pre-cleaner. You will still need to wash your vehicle with water and car shampoo after rinsing off the snow foam.

What to do after foaming car? ›

After covering your car with foam, let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. The foam will loosen the deeply embedded dirt in your car's exterior. Remove the foam before it dries by rinsing it off with the pressure washer. Once you're done removing the foam, you can start cleaning your car with wash mitts.

Do you sponge after snow foam? ›

Snow foam needs to be sprayed onto your car and left to settle on its paintwork. You shouldn't try and wipe off snow foam with a cloth or wash mitt as it doesn't have any ingredients to help it slide over the car's paintwork, which can lead to swirls or scratches.

Should snow foam be diluted? ›

You should use a (roughly) 3:1 mix of water and Snow Foam, with three parts of water for every one part of foam liquid. The exact quantities can vary, as the thickness of the foam can be affected by the settings of your lance as well as water hardness.

Why is my snow foam not very foamy? ›

If it's too far away from your water source, or if your water source isn't putting out water at a high enough pressure, your washer will have a hard time generating the water pressure needed for thick snow foam. If the pressure isn't high enough, your snow foam won't be agitated into that thick, clingy foam.

How much snow foam do you use per wash? ›

For cars that are extra dirty, try a shampoo like Zip Wax Car Wash & Wax. Step 6: Take your wash bucket, and mix in 10 ml to 25 ml of Snow Foam per litre of water, adding a strong stream of water to help mix the product.

How much soap do you put in a foam cannon? ›

Mix 1 – 3oz of your favorite Chemical Guys soap and water into the canister of the foam cannon. We always use warm water because it helps the aerate mixture better. Reattach the canister to the head of the foam cannon.

Does snow foam work with a normal hose? ›

All you need is a garden hose to attach it to. It works with any standard garden hose and produces a considerable amount of foam to lubricate your car's surface. The mounds of suds this Snow Foam Gun creates reduces the amount of friction, rubbing and scrubbing the paint surface is exposed to during a traditional wash.

Can you use normal shampoo as snow foam? ›

Any car shampoo works, but seek out the proper stuff

“A proper snow foam formula will be design to cling to the car and work much better than a shampoo,” Lee explains, adding, “The chemicals need to be strong in order to soften and decompose the oils/bugs/general road grime”.

Do you scrub after foam cannon? ›

Using a pressure washer and a foam cannon can greatly speed up your car wash process. You can even just use foam soap and a pressure washer to clean lightly soiled vehicles, without any scrubbing with a wash mitt.

Why isn't my snow foam thick? ›

Snow foam thickness is highly dependent on a number of outside factors, including water hardness and pressure, so you might need a stronger mix. Try mixing it with 2 parts water or even a 50/50 mix and see how you get on. It'll take a bit of experimenting the first time, but after that, you'll be sorted.

Does snow foam need hot water? ›

Most people recommend to top the foam mixture with warm/hot water, so i would think using warm/hot water would produce better results.

What is the best foam cleaner for cars? ›

Top 12: snow foam car cleaners
  • Simoniz 2 in 1 Shampoo & Snow Foam. ...
  • Meguiar's Ultimate Snow Foam. ...
  • Autoglym Polar Wash. ...
  • Karcher Ultra Foam Cleaner. ...
  • Bilt-Hamber Touch-Less. ...
  • Nilfisk 3 Step Premium Car Cleaning Kit. ...
  • Diamondbrite Ceramic Blast Ceramic Snow Foam. ...
  • Autoglym Polar Blast.
Jan 1, 2023

How long does ceramic snow foam last? ›

Ceramic snow foam

A ground-breaking innovation in the science of SiO2 coatings - an advanced high-foaming, spray-on formula that makes introducing 6-months of ceramic protection to every exterior surface quicker and easier than ever before.

Does snow foam remove polish? ›

The foam clings to paintwork longer than regular shampoos to gently loosen and lift dirt. This reduces the risk of scratches and swirl marks that can be caused by a sponge or wash mitt when agitating heavy contamination on your paintwork. Its pH neutral formulation will not remove any existing layers of polish or wax.

Can you use snow foam in the rain? ›

The ideal time to apply snow foam is in warm, slightly humid weather. You can use it in other weather conditions but there are a couple of things to bear in mind. Firstly, if it has been raining that day, make sure the car is fully dry first before applying (see item 2). Secondly, don't use it in very hot weather.

Can you use snow foam on wheels? ›

SNOW FOAM the car from top to bottom to remove or soften grit which is on the car. Leave for 5 minutes and then pressure wash off from top to bottom again. While the foam is sitting, clean the wheels. Use a wheel cleaner, wheel brush and separate sponge to clean the wheels correctly.

How long does it take for foam to settle? ›

Some manufacturers estimate that it can take approximately 8 to 24 hours to cure for one component foam, typically available in 12 oz. to 24 oz.

Does foam turn back to liquid? ›

Due to the drainage, coarsening and rupture of the bubbles, foam starts to collapse back to a liquid state. A foam's existence in space is marked by more equilibrium because drainage is suppressed. Bubble sizes are evenly spread and that makes it easier for scientists to study it in more detail.

How long does it take for spray foam to settle? ›

Spraying a mist of water on the substrate or/and between layers of foam can speed up the curing process. Typically, it can take between 5 and 60 minutes for the foam to become tack-free. Full cure may be reached in a time range of about 8 to 24 hours, depending on the product and site conditions.

Does snow foam damage paint? ›

Snow foam is not bad for the paint, as long as you're using a product specifically designed to use on a car. The only problem you can run into, is letting it dry on the surface without rinsing it off.

How long does a foam wash take? ›

An average car washing shampoo will often leave behind marks when it dries but a snow foam will not do so. You should leave the snow foam on your car for about 10 to 15 minutes. That is how long it takes for the foam to do its magic and ensure that the car's surface has no hard set dirt clinging on to it.

What is the difference between pre wash and snow foam? ›

Differences Between Snow Foam & Pre-Wash

Snow-Foam produces a thick foam blanket of clinging foam, with the use of a Snow-Foam Lance, which will sit on the paint work for several minutes encapsulating dirt. Pre-Wash is sprayed on paintwork with a normal bottle pump sprayer.

Does snow foam damage grass? ›

A: No, it won't.

Do foam guns really work? ›

Not only is it super satisfying to coat your vehicle with a thick layer of suds, but those thick suds have lots of benefits! Foam guns are worth it because foam helps the soap cling to the surface longer, giving you more working time before it dries or drips off of your vehicle.

What are the disadvantages of snow spray? ›

Artificial snow on the skin can cause irritation, especially for people with sensitive skin. The product should be washed off well with soap and water to minimize irritation. Getting artificial snow in the eyes might cause mild pain and redness.

What is the best mixture for snow foam? ›

You should use a (roughly) 3:1 mix of water and Snow Foam, with three parts of water for every one part of foam liquid. The exact quantities can vary, as the thickness of the foam can be affected by the settings of your lance as well as water hardness. Which leads into our next tip…

Why do detailers use foam cannon? ›

With a dedicated Foam Cannon soap your car wash process is both quicker and more effective. The specially designed cleaners work to loosen and remove contaminants before you wash, so there is both less time and effort needed to clean your vehicle than before.

What's the difference between a foam cannon and a foam gun? ›

A Foam Cannon uses an electric or gas pressure washer, but a Foam Gun uses a regular water hose, which is the only major difference between the two devices. The water stream produced by pressure washers is much stronger.

Do you rinse the car first or foam cannon first? ›

Simply rinse your car from top to bottom with your pressure washer, then, proceed to foaming your car. Putting your foam cannon away full of water or full of soap creates calcium deposits which prevent the cannon from shooting the maximum amount of foam.


1. 5 Tips On How To Choose and Operate your Foam Cannon - Chemical Guys Car Care
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