I personally can't blame you if you want to learn the ropes on how to snow a car. Call it childish or immature, but snow foaming a car is huge fun. It might have something to do with the thick foam, or maybe the thought of spraying the whole car with foam, which looks pretty cool.
But snow foam might not be what you think. In fact, it might not be the miracle cleaning product you're looking for. In this article on how to apply snow foam to a car, I'll cover the raw snow foam products and what they can (and can't) do for your car.
What is snow foam?
Snow Foam is a concentrated liquid wash designed to pre-clean the exterior surfaces of vehicles. It comes out as a thick foam, which also happens to look like snow, hence the name.
The key word to note is precleaning. Snow foam will dissolve a small amount of surface dirt and grime, but will not remove all dirt from the paint surface.
As I said, snow foam is a pre-cleaner. The foam should have enough time to run off the vehicle. This will allow the solution to dissolve as much dirt as possible.
Simply put, snow foam is a non-contact washing solution and is recommended to be used as part of a cleaning regime.
Why should I snow foam my vehicle?
Now that's a pretty tough question you got there! However, it is not an issueWhyapply snow foam to your vehicle, butnever.
There are huge misconceptions about the use of snow foam in the detailing industry. In my experience, I've found that there are limits to what snow foam can do when it comes to cleaning your car. While it's true that snow foam can remove more dirt than just rinsing with clean water, it doesn't remove much.
Surprised? So did I when I entered the world of snow foam and details.
Actually, I want to tell you the truth. There are times when flushing with pressurized water is more effective than applying snow foam. An example is when cleaning an extremely muddy or dirty vehicle with baked-on dirt and grime. In these cases, rinsing the surface with water under pressure before applying car shampoo is the best method.
But if you're talking moderately dirty or dusty vehicles, that's when snow foam really comes into its own. The snow foam formula will instantly trap small dirt particles, so the contaminants will simply run off the vehicle.
But do not forget that snow foam is only a pre-cleaner. You will need to wash your vehicle with water and car shampoo after washing off the snow foam.
How does snow foam compare to other prewash processes?
Snow foam is better and less aggressive than citrus spray cleaners. However, the type of concentrated snow foam solution will vary. There are three main types of snow foam:
- Snow foam for deep cleaning. This formula is more aggressive and can wash away more dirt. Depending on the formula and concentration, this type of snow foam can remove the wax from the paint.
- Alkaline snow foam. This type is less aggressive than snow foam for deep cleaning and is the default choice of car enthusiasts.
- neutral PH snow foam. This type may have a slightly higher price than other varieties of snow foam. I highly recommend PH neutral formulas for foam snow. It's strong enough to remove loose dirt, but gentle enough on plastic and rubber parts. Best of all, this type of snow foam will NOT remove or remove the wax from the paint.
So if you plan on foaming your vehicle, make sure you buy the right type of concentrate.
The idea of the snow lather and the reason I love the process is that it adds another no-touch washing process to my repertoire. Less contact means less chance of paint scraping. This is extremely important on all cars, but especially if you have a black car or a dark color where any imperfections are magnified.
Best car snow foam
The Bilt Hamber Autofaom is by far one of the best snow foams on the market right now. What I love is that it is no frills and does a great job. They're not trying to give you the world, just a quality product that actually gets the dirt off your car, that's what it's all about!
Bilt Hamber Snow Foam is safe for use on plastic, rubber, glass and vinyl surfaces. The PH balanced formula will effectively remove dirt and grime without damaging the wax to the paint. Try this product if you plan to foam your vehicle.
Read: FullBilt Hamber Auto Foam Rev
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How do I use the snow foam?
The most important thing to remember is to devise the right dilution of snow foam in water. The general rule of thumb is to mix one part snow foam to about ten parts water, but take it with a grain of salt.
Most people make the mistake of using an overly thick foam mix, which is not a good thing.
The right way to determine the perfect foam consistency is to read the directions. As I mentioned earlier, not all snow foam products are the same. If you want the product to work as intended, it is always best to follow the manufacturer's recommendations for dilution ratios.
Why; When using snow foam, the foam should be thick enough to stay on the surface, but should be light enough that the foam can run off the car effectively.
If the foam is too thick, it won't be able to do its job well. Dirt and scum will just sit on top of the surface. This defeats the purpose of using snow foam in the first place.
But if the foam is too light and not given enough time to soak or set, you'll end up wasting your time and effort.
Again, the trick to foaming snow is to dilute the right proportion of concentrate. If you have a small measuring cup or a dosing syringe, then this will really help you for accurate measurements. It will be effortless to measure the amount of condensate required for each liter or gallon of water.
How to create snow foam on a car
There are two methods to de-snow a vehicle: you can use a pressure washer with the proper attachment, or you can use a good old pump sprayer. Both methods have their advantages, but using a pressure washer is faster, easier, and most of the time will give better results.
Park the car in a cool or shady place. Do not apply snow foam to a hot surface. It is also better not to snow foam under the hot sun. If the suds have a chance to dry before rinsing, the surface will be marred with soap scum, which is not nice at all. If the surface is hot to the touch, allow the vehicle to cool.
Some of you may be asking if the surface needs to be rinsed with water before applying snow foam, and I'm really glad you asked. I prefer to gently rinse the vehicle with water before spraying the snow foam. This is especially true for dirtier cars.
However, you can safely apply snow foam even without first rinsing the vehicle with water. To be sure, always read the instructions. There are many snow foam concentrate products on the market and not all of them work the same.
At this point, it's time to mix the snow foam concentrate with the right amount of water in a small plastic bottle. After that, all you have to do is attach the bottle to the snow foam lance and pressure washer. It's the same process when using a manual pump sprayer.
Top tip: Add the required amount of concentrate to the snow foam lance, then instead of pouring the water into the bottle through the faucet, fill a bucket or your sink and pour your bottle into it to slowly fill it. This means that the water fills gradually and does not foam up the condensate like running the tap. Think of it like pouring coke into a glass, slow and steady wins the race.
If this is your first time, be sure to adjust the snow foam lance so that it can distribute the foam properly. The same is true if you use a pump spray.
The lance will allow you to adjust the amount of thinner injected and the angle/size of the spray that hits the car.
Spray the snow foam from top to bottom. Start with the roof, trunk and hood before covering the sides of the vehicle with the foam. If you did it right, the entire vehicle should be covered in thick (but not too thick) white foam, similar to leaving the vehicle outside when it snows.
Pay special attention to the vehicle's wheels, tires and wheel wells. Make sure you spray a thicker amount of foam on these areas.
Now, wait for the foam to literally dissolve and run down to the ground. This is how snow foam works!
At the same time, you can use a soft-bristled brush to agitate the foam into high-traffic areas such as badges, emblems, around window sills and door handles.
Remember to spray, let the foam sit and rinse.
Rinse off the foam. Take your pressure washer and remove all the suds from the vehicle. Be sure to pay special attention to the wheel arches, the top of the hood just below the window, and the mirrors, as these areas can be notorious for holding water and foam.
After washing off the foam, you may find that you have some snow foam left on your lance. I actually make enough for two rows of snow foam and then just quickly run another process in the car. Again, just spray the remaining product on and let it sit before removing. Saves waste, which I hate.
Do you wet the car before the snow foams?
It is beneficial to use the pressure washer to remove any loose obstructions before the snow foam stage. You can then apply the snow foam to the wet car.
How long do you leave snow foam on your car?
This will depend on the outside temperature. You want to leave it long enough to work its magic, but not long enough for it to dry out there. The warmer the day, the less time you want to let it sit.
Is it worth using snow foam?
Yes. It adds another touch-free process to your car wash, which is always beneficial.
Do you need to wash the car after snowing foam?
Yes, snow foam is only one part of the washing process and will remove small but significant amounts of dirt. A touch-up wash is where you will really clean the car.
There may be times when only light dust or dirt is present on the car and in those cases, snow foam could remove most of it without a touch wash.
Is snow foam bad for paint?
A special snow foam will not be bad for your paint. Most are PH neutral, which means they are also wax or sealer friendly.
While the process of foaming snow seems very simple, it actually took me a while to perfect the art of foaming snow. Everything from using the right snow foam lance to making sure the right concentration levels were used took years of trial and error.
I want to point out that while the fancy details love the snow foam stage, it actually doesn't really do much in the way of cleaning. I stated earlier that there will be times when you remove more dirt simply with a pressure washer and water, and that is true.
However, it provides another non-contact stage in my detailing process, which is invaluable. It removes some dirt and that is more than enough to keep it as part of the regime. Plus, it still looks pretty cool!
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.Should you apply snow foam to wet or dry cars? ›
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.What is best pressure for snow foam? ›
The majority of snow foams come in a concentrated formula, which requires diluting with water. This allows the pressure washer to create a thick foam, which lifts the dirt away. For best results, a pressure washer rated between 125- 220 bar should be used.How long do you leave snow foam 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.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.Should you agitate snow foam? ›
Snow foam needs to be applied with a pressure washer and requires a special lance. The lance is important because it agitates the snow foam liquid, mixing it with water, and creates the thick foam that you need.Can snow foam be too thick? ›
When snow foam is too thick, it won't do its cleaning job effectively. In the end, the snow foam will only settle on the dirt on your car. The same goes for a heavier dilution ratio.Should you clean wheels before snow foam? ›
But we all love playing with Snowfoam! Pre washing is a must to help keep the infliction of swirl marks, scratches and abrasions to an absolute minimum. The key is to remove as much dirt as you can before actually touching the car.Do you need to rinse car before snow foam? ›
Always rinse your car with a pressure washer or snow foam your vehicle before making the first contact. The chances of causing swirl marks are very high if you try scrubbing the dirt off a dry car.What PSI is good for foam cannon? ›
Experts agree that a 1,100 PSI is a good starting point when working with foam cannons. Most foam cannons generally require a min of 1,100 PSI and 1.5 GPM (gallons per minute), though higher-performance foam cannons will require a minimum of 1,500 PSI and 2 GPM.
A pressure washer with sufficient volume and pressure – Foam cannons generally require a minimum of 1100 PSI and 1.5 GPM output, though higher quality and performance foam cannons will usually require 1500 PSI minimum with 2 GPM output, typically the maximum PSI will be around 5000 PSI and 5 GPM but this can vary ...How do you make foam last longer? ›
Steaming your milk so that you get the smallest possible bubbles is the way to ensure you get good silky foam that lasts and lasts. Smaller bubbles not only give a better look and feel to the milk foam, but result in a foam that is more stable and drains less quickly.What is the strongest expanding foam? ›
- Best Overall: Loctite TITE FOAM Insulating Foam Sealant.
- Best Kit for Large Projects: Great Stuff Pro Gaps and Cracks.
- Best Kit for Pests: Great Stuff Pro Kit.
- Best for Crafts: Smooth-On Foam-iT! ...
- Best Fire Block: Fire Block Polyurethane Foam Sealant.
- Best Value: Big Gap Filler.
As temperature increases, more foaming agents must be used. Gelling agents are also very important because they can be used to add stability to the fluid. Gelling agents will increase the viscosity (not considerably), but will improve proppant transport and fluid-loss control.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.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.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.Do I need a pressure washer to use snow foam? ›
So, can you use snow foam without a pressure washer? 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.Why is my snow foam not working? ›
Reasons Why a Foam Cannon Might Not Work Properly:
Dial is turned the wrong way. Incorrect snow foam dilution ratio. Low water pressure/ flow rate. Leaks in the pressure washer/ lance connection points.
Most people recommend to top the foam mixture with warm/hot water, so i would think using warm/hot water would produce better results.
Snow foam is basically a weaker car shampoo that foams up when mixed with water (from the pressure washer) and air (from the atmosphere).What is the maximum thickness of foam? ›
There is no maximum thickness of the insulation. It must be applied in preferably less than 20 mm per layer per purge to avoid shrinkage and obtain high dens- ity. Note: The density of the obtained foam depends on the actual conditions during the application process and also on the spraying technique.How thick should my foam be? ›
For closed cell spray foam, you'll want to make sure that your foam is 2-3 inches thick on the walls and 4-5 inches thick on the roof deck. For open-cell foam, the same thickness is needed for the walls, but the roof deck should be sprayed to be 6-10 inches thick.What is the mix ratio 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.Should I wet my car before using a foam cannon? ›
Make it easy on your car and foam cannon by rinsing your vehicle before you start foaming it! By rinsing your vehicle, you are removing the largest dirt and debris, so they never have a chance to be rubbed into the paintwork.How do you make cold foam thicker? ›
You might think that a full fat milk would make the creamiest, richest cold foam. Some homemade recipes even call for whole milk or heavy cream. But guess what? Skim milk makes the thickest, sturdiest cold foam.Should I add water to shampoo snow foam? ›
If this is your first time using a snow foam cannon or the foam gun on your pressure washer, it can be a challenge to get the right snow foam consistency. We recommend starting with a baseline mixture of 1:16, that is, 1 part concentrate to 16 parts water.How do you make expanding foam expand more? ›
Expanding polyurethane foam sealant requires moisture to expand and cure. If you're applying foam to dry wood or other dry surfaces, or working on a day with little humidity, misting the area first will help the foam expand and cure faster. Be careful, though; you want to dampen the area, not wet it.Which water gives more foam? ›
Distilled water will form more foam as it does not contain magnesium and calcium ions. These ions decrease the foam forming capacity.What foam expands the most? ›
Which expanding foam expands the most? High expansion foam expands the most. It's capable of expanding 200 to 300 times the liquid size, while low expansion foam can only expand up to 30 times its liquid size.
Regular blender: For big batches of DIY cold foam, feel free to use your large countertop blender or a smaller smoothie blender. Add all of the ingredients to the pitcher or cup and blend until the milk looks foamy and full of volume.What is the best milk for cold foam? ›
Making cold foam with nonfat milk (the best method)
You'll get the best results by using skim milk, and you can clearly see why based on the volume you get out of it. Just 1/4 cup of skim milk froths up into about 1 cup of cold foam, which you can easily use to top 2 iced coffee drinks!
The main difference between cold foam and whipped cream is that cold foam is made by whipping air into milk, while whipped cream is made from cream that is whipped into a thick, creamy consistency.Do you need a jet wash for snow foam? ›
So, can you use snow foam without a pressure washer? 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.What is the best snow foam dilution? ›
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.