Detailing Snow foam: a good idea, or just a gimmick?

Discussion in 'Detailing & Cleaning' started by Galgo, Wednesday 25th Feb, 2015.

  1. Galgo Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    A few months back I bought a pressure washer to use at home cleaning the cars etc.

    I've always used normal car shampoo whenever I've cleaned cars in the past, my favourite one being Turtle Wax.

    On some detailing websites I've seen people using snow foam with bottles that have adjustable valves on them. I'm curious as to how effective snow foam really is, and whether it's worth the extra expense to buy it along with the better shampoo bottle? Do you literally just spray a slightly thick layer of snow foam on and then leave it for a bit? Or is some scrubbing involved like with conventional shampoo?

    I'm quite interested in using snow foam as it could mean I don't have to spend ages scrubbing the body panels with a sponge or micro-fibre cloth :Laughing:

    Please post up your experiences with snow foam, and the names of the products you've used.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Duc de Pommfrit Moderator Staff Team

    United Kingdom Chester Northumberland
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    I use a snow foam for every wash, it does remove lots of surface dirt. Will not magically wash the car for you but is a good start for a proper wash.
     
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  3. Ichiban Founder Staff Team

    England CJ Leeds
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    Foam wash is not a touch less complete wash.it facilitates the TRF and grime to be broken down so damage by hand washing can be minimised, Incorrect washing technique will cause swirls, so always wash with 2 buckets and in a straight lines.
     
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  4. SpeedyGee Administrator Staff Team

    England Speedy Birmingham
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    It's no gimmick at all. It forms part of technique that utilises a well set out way of cleaning your car without adding swirl marks and other damage to the paint work.

    Imagine a very dirty car. When you grab a mit and apply soapy water, scrub the paint to get the dirt off you are actually scratching up the top coat of your car.

    The purpose of snow foaming is to lift off some this dirt and drop it to the floor. It's a pre-wash step, you then follow this up with a two bucket wash approach to get the rest of the dirt off.
     
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  5. Galgo Senior Member ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

    Two bucket wash?
     
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  6. SpeedyGee Administrator Staff Team

    England Speedy Birmingham
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    Very briefly as I need to rush off.

    You use two buckets, one with you car wash soap in it, the other with just water. After scrubbing your mit on the car, you rinse in the water, to remove the dirt from before dipping it in the soap bucket.
    Thereby reducing the scratches and swirl marks on your car.
     
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  7. FirstHonda Premium Member Club Supporter

    The comments from @SpeedyGee and @Ichiban about the "two bucket" method are an essential part of good washing technique if you want to keep your paintwork in good condition.

    I'd also recommend a good quality wash mitt - I use a "Wookie's Fist" and a "Yeti's Fist" (really!) - and have one for the upper panels, with a different one for the lower panels. I also have a separate (Meguiars) mitt for the wheels.

    Supernatural Wash Mitt Lonng Hair Wookies Fist | Soft Merino Fibres | SNWM1PC

    Supernatural Yeti's Fist Long Hair Wash Mitt | Natural Merino Wool | SNYM1PC

    If you don't want to go the whole hog, and use snow foam with a lance, you can minimise swirling issues in other ways. Always use a good quality wash product (shampoo), and don't over concentrate - you'd be surprised how different better wash product is at lifting grime (at the moment I'm using Chemical Guys citrus wash & gloss, which is pretty good).

    Also, you can use spray on an APC (All Purpose Cleaner), and then rinse off with a normal hose prior to washing with a mitt. That is what I do, as I've never been a great fan of pressure washers. It isn't as good as snow foam (my MINI never gets dirty enough to worry, she never goes out in the rain or in Winter :Smile:) but for an everyday car, it is a good compromise IMHO.
     
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  8. Nels Moderator Staff Team

    Snow foam makes sense as a pre-wash.
    The surfactants not only deal with the oil/grease, but the foam holds moisture against the 'mud' to soak and loosen it.
    If this is then rinsed off there is less chance of marking the topcoat with your sponge/wash mit.

    I have also found, that using a good microfibre towel to dry the car off is far better that a leather - Something I learnt from this site!

    I don't have a decent snow foam attachment yet, but that will be changing in the next few days. :Grin:
     
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  9. RogerH69 Premium Member Club Supporter

    South Africa Roger Oxford, UK
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    Any recommendations on a good Snow Foam that works with with Karcher pressure washers ? Something with a panel time (how long the snow foam takes to run down the side of the car) of about 4 to 6 minutes. I can say from experience, Demon Snow Foam is shite. It's nowhere near as think as advertised (no matter what I set the Karcher foam attachment to) and it's panel time is about one and a half minutes.
     
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  10. DeviateDefiant Co-Founder Staff Team

    United Kingdom Leo Northants
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    I personally am using Bilt Hamber as it's always consistently reviewed well and I've had good results, Dodo Juice Apple iFoam is the new rave product, Valet Pro and Magifoam are probably the "staple tried and tested" products. @wanner69 will have good input on this.

    For the lance I use this from CleanYourCar.
     
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  11. Duc de Pommfrit Moderator Staff Team

    United Kingdom Chester Northumberland
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    I use
    - - - Updated - - -
    You also need a foam lance like this

     
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  12. DeviateDefiant Co-Founder Staff Team

    United Kingdom Leo Northants
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    That looks identical to the one I have from CleanYourCar.
     
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  13. Duc de Pommfrit Moderator Staff Team

    United Kingdom Chester Northumberland
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    Think I paid about £40 for my lance
     
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  14. Nels Moderator Staff Team

    Many of the bulk 25l packs, state they are mildly alkaline.

    Is this going to be a problem?

    e.g.

     
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  15. DeviateDefiant Co-Founder Staff Team

    United Kingdom Leo Northants
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    You ideally want pH neutral so as not to remove layers or wax/sealant.
     
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  16. Kris81 Valued Contributor ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

    So I'm brand new to the world of detailing, I've used/got snow foam do I put it onto a dry car? Or rinse the car first?
     
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  17. SpeedyGee Administrator Staff Team

    England Speedy Birmingham
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    Dry car.
     
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  18. Racy Jace Expert Advisor ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    I tried some jwac snow foam which has wax in it. I found that by drying the wet car off with a micro fibre towel it left a great wax finish and rain beads off it really well. I have also tried removing the excess rain off using a squeegy blade before using a towel and it left no wax on the car as the rain didn't bead off.

    Snow foam is great and makes cleaning a car easier.
     
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  19. wanner69 Detailing & Styling Trader

    Wirral
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    Not much more i can add that hasn't already been said above, some sound advice. Snowfoaming will always be part of my wash routine, apply to a dry car, leave for 5-10 mins then pressure wash off. This process would have softened the dirt on the paint surface making easier to remove when rinsing. By no means will the paint be thoroughly clean though, always follow up with the 2 bucket method. As for products i've tried a few foams, for me, i'm happy with Magifoam.
     
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  20. RogerH69 Premium Member Club Supporter

    South Africa Roger Oxford, UK
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