If you haven’t used snow foam on your car before, you probably have a few questions about it. As with any car care product, there is a seemingly endless list of options available. Do you want regular snow foam, fragranced snow foam, or pH neutral snow foam? How do you spray it on your car? How much should you use? And what even is snow foam, anyway? The FAQs below will answer all your questions and they’ll help you make an informed decision.
What is Snow Foam?
The short answer is that snow foam is a pre-wash that you spray on your car before your ‘proper’ car wash. This helps loosen dirt, grime and traffic film so you can rinse most of it off, meaning using your car shampoo becomes much easier and more effective. For the long answer, you can read our detailed guide to snow foam here.
How Do I Apply Snow Foam?
To use snow foam you need a bottle of snow foam liquid, a special nozzle called a snow foam lance, and a pressure washer to attach the lance onto. Mix the snow foam with some warm water (the snow foam to water ratio depends on the make of snow foam you’re using – our snow foam uses a 50/50 mix of snow foam and hot water) and spray away!
How Does Snow Foam Work?
When the snow foam liquid is sprayed through your snow foam lance, it’s agitated into a thick, clingy foam – hence the name! This foam sticks to your car’s paintwork rather than running off straight away, so it’s in contact with the dirt on your car for a much longer time. This gives the cleaning agents in the foam much more time to break down dirt, so you can simply rinse it off!
It can take a bit of practice to get the thick snow foam you’re looking for, but once you get the mix just right (our guide to getting thick snow foam will help here) you’ll never look back!
Do I Need pH Neutral Snow Foam?
Chances are, no you don’t. Some people worry that the alkaline cleaning agents in regular snow foam can damage the protective wax and sealants that are already on their car, but most consumer-grade snow foams aren’t alkaline enough to do this.
If you have a classic or valuable car with sensitive paintwork, you can look at pH neutral snow foam to make absolutely sure you won’t damage any waxes or sealants. pH neutral snow foam doesn’t have quite the cleaning power of regular snow foam as the detergent in it isn’t as strong, so it’s a slight trade-off. For more information, read our detailed guide to pH neutral car products here.
Should I Spray Snow Foam on Top to Bottom or Bottom to Top?
Spray snow foam from bottom to top onto your car. This is because the bottom of your car tends to get dirtier, so spraying on the bottom first gives the snow foam more contact time where it’s needed most.
When you rinse off your snow foam, however, you should rinse from top to bottom. This stops dirty snow foam from dripping onto newly-rinsed parts of your car.
Is Snow Foam Like a Car Shampoo?
Not really. While some good quality snow foams (like ours, for example!) are incredibly effective cleaners that can clean most dirt from your car, that’s not really what they’re designed to do. They’re meant to be a pre-wash – something you spray on your car to make your car shampoo’s job easier. If you follow up your snow foam with a proper wash and wax, you’ll notice your car looks cleaner and brighter!
Should I Use Snow Foam on a Wet or Dry Car?
Always snow foam onto a dry car. When you spray snow foam onto a wet car, the water on the car’s surface acts as a barrier between the snow foam and the dirt it’s meant to be cleaning. It also dilutes the snow foam, causing it to turn runny, so it won’t work as effectively.
Can I Wipe Snow Foam Off My Car?
No! As we said above, snow foam isn’t a car shampoo and shouldn’t be used as a contact wash. 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.
Can I Use Snow Foam with a Pump Action Sprayer?
No. Pump sprayers don’t create enough water pressure to agitate the snow foam, so it won’t foam up properly. You also can’t use snow foam with a hosepipe for the same reasons, although you can rinse it off with a hose if you like.
How Much Snow Foam Do I Need to Use?
It depends on the size of your vehicle. If you’ve got a larger car or a van, we recommend half-filling your lance bottle with snow foam and filling up the rest with warm water – this should give you more than enough foam to work with.
Can I Use Snow Foam on a Motorbike?
Yes – in fact, it’s highly recommended that you do! Snow foaming your bike will help clean dirt from under your fairings and other nooks and crannies. This will help improve your bike’s performance.
Does Water Hardness Affect Snow Foam?
If you’re in a very hard water area, it can be harder to get the thick snow foam you’re after. Mix a little less water in with your snow foam liquid if this is the case.
Can I Use Snow Foam on a Convertible Soft Top?
It won’t affect your soft top roof if you splash a bit of snow foam on it, but it’s not recommended that you fully snow foam your soft top roof – especially if it’s a light colour.
Why Isn’t My Snow Foam Thick Enough?
Snow foam thickness can be affected by a number of different factors. Common problems include;
- Diluting snow foam liquid with too much water
- Insufficient water pressure in your pressure washer
- Using a snow foam liquid and a snow foam lance which aren’t designed to work together
- The surface of your car is wet
- Your water is very hard (if this is the case, mix your snow foam with a little less water than the recommended amount)