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What is Snow Foam? | A Detailed Guide for 2020

Updated: Jan 29




When it comes to detailing your own car snow foam has been a big hit. The product has built up a lot of traction in recent years and is becoming increasingly popular.


The reason it’s turned a lot of heads is down to the glorious pictures detailers leave online.


They showcase their recent work with snow foam before and after and show just how satisfying it is to use.


You’ll often see pictures on their sites or social media of a vehicle being covered in a thick layer of what looks remarkably like snow; hence the name.


However, it’s not as easy to use as most people tend to think. Unfortunately it can’t just be sprayed onto the paintwork, washed off, and then voila. As with all detailing techniques it requires a little more work, and no doubt skill and practice.


But does it actually do any good? Or does it just look pretty?


What is Snow Foam? | A Detailed Guide for 2020

  1. What is snow foam?

  2. Why do I need to “pre-wash” my car?

  3. How does it work and how do I use it?

  4. How do I make Snow Foam thicker?

  5. Do I really need Snow Foam?

  6. Snow Foam vs car Shampoo

  7. What do you recommend?

  8. Conclusion



What is Snow Foam?


Snow foam is a pre-wash that helps remove dirt and grime from your vehicles paintwork. You simply use Snow Foam to soften all the grime leaving it ready for a more effective wash.


It’s sort of a foundation product used to ensure no damage is carried out when you’re detailing your car.


One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to not pre-wash your vehicle before commencing a detail process, whether that be a single stage polish or paint correction.


The product, as mentioned above; will leave a think snow-like layer over your vehicle.


Why do I need to “pre-wash” my car?


Pre-washing will effectively soften any dirt and grime on your vehicle and any other damaging particles, such as bugs or bird droppings. It’s a crucial step to the process and is often missed by many, causing you to potentially scratch your paintwork as soon as you touch it!


It will also help stop swirl marks and water spots when the wash is being carried out.



How does it work and how do I use it?


To use Snow Foam effectively you will need a specially designed lance with an adapter for your pressure washer.


There’s no real “magic formula” for the ratio you want to use, it depends on the size of your tank and what products you are using.


That being said, the thickness of the layer can be adjusted depending on your requirements, you can do this by simply adjusting your water to Snow Foam ratio or by the dial on your lance – or more commonly, just don’t hold it at the same spot for as long!



You can see above from a car we have recently detailed in the West Midlands, what snow foam looks like once it's been applied.


Nonetheless, the mixture will require you to add snow foam liquid into your bottle and then fill the rest with fresh water.


When you’re in action make sure not to stand too close to the area of contact, usually around 1 metre should be fine.


Common sense should tell you to start from the bottom up, you should be able to cover a whole side in one go if your vehicle is small enough. The bottom areas are generally the dirtiest and often carry the most grime.


Although you can cover a lot of surface area at once time, make sure to pay attention to the gaps in the panels and anywhere where the dirt can get trapped.


I’m sure you don’t need us to point this out, but just in case, make sure you go the opposite way around when your rinsing off the mixture, start from the bottom and work your way down to the top.


You may not get it on the first try, but with a little experimentation and practice you’ll find the perfect process in no time.


Once you’re car is covered in Snow Foam, you’ll want to leave it stand for around 10 minutes, but make sure you don’t leave it in direct sunlight!


After the foam has been left to stand, you’ll want to switch back to your regular adaptor and rinse it off. The wash should take all the dirt and grime with it.


But as we said…this is only a pre-wash and a conventional proper wash should be conducted afterwards – and no, we don’t mean a bucket and sponge!


Now all your grime is power-washed off the paintwork, you should no longer have a problem with rubbing it around your paintwork and covering it in swirl marks and scratches.


Finally, rinse your snow foam lance out and keep it clean ready for your next wash, or in our case, our next customer!



How do I make Snow Foam thicker?


Getting the wrong ratio of Snow Foam to water can cause your mixture to either be too thick, or too thin.


You also have to bear in mind that not all Snow Foam products and lance nozzles will work the same, make sure you give them a test out before spraying directly onto your car.


If you’re unsure about what ratio of mixture to use, you can always look up the product manufacturer online, they tend to give a recommendation. If not, you can always drop them a message.



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.



Your vehicle can take a lot of abuse over the years especially if you’re prone to putting your foot down on the odd occasion. It will get knocked by all sorts of residues and grit, and a normal wash just won’t do the trick.


The key of using this product is to reduce the risk of damage and keep marks and scuffs to a minimum.


It’s best to conduct a thorough pre-wash before you start on any detailing process to make your life easier.


We can’t forget that snow foaming your car is also pretty fun! It’s an incredibly satisfying product to use and you’ll no doubt find it therapeutic to wash off.


If you do plan on using Snow Foam however, please note that we definitely don’t recommend using it on soft tops! Don’t worry if you splash a little, but don’t go spraying it directly onto it now will you.



Snow Foam vs car Shampoo



Many of home detailers tend to battle between Car Shampoo and Snow Foam, but what is the difference?


As we now know, snow foam is dedicated to soften dirt and grime on your paintwork to reduce the risk of damage, with the added benefit of making your life easier.


But Car Shampoo doesn’t always work the way we want it too.


It is much harder to get the correct ratio of shampoo and even when you do; it has a very different end result.


Car Shampoos have a habit of drying out and leaving marks on the windows and paintwork, and if you get the ratio incorrect it can also strip your wax as well as the dirt.


The product, in addition, costs a fair bit more than Snow Foam, especially if you’re buying some serious products.


You also have to be mindful of how often you use these products, as again, they can be harmful to your wax.



What do you recommend?


When you’re looking for detailing products it is important to take into account the pH levels. The pH is simply how we measure how alkaline or acidic something is, being measured on a scale of 0-14 – 0 being the most acidic.


By that logic we can work out that 7 is pH neutral (in the middle). This is what we were talking about above; a caustic product can strip the wax from the paintwork.


You have to find the balance of what is needed for your particular detail. By no means are alkaline products a no go, but it is worth reading up on it first.


pH neutral Snow Foam will be much gentler on your paintwork, on the contrary, alkaline products will provide a deeper clean and likely remove more dirt, but are generally considered more harmful for your cars paintwork.


You can however perform counter measures such as an effective wash and wax, which will add a new layer of protection to your car.


The Snow Foam that we use at our studio is Valet Pro.






Conclusion


All in all, Snow Foam is a great product to use, especially if your car is covered in grime. If you use it correctly and master those ratios, you’ll make giving it a proper wash a lot easier with much finer results.


It can be an expensive solution to dirt, as after all you are adding an extra step to your process, it also depends on the products that you are using, but once you have tried Snow Foam I doubt you will ever go back, the results generally speak for themselves.

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Black Country Detailing, Units 1, 4 Dudley Port, Tipton DY4 7SA

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