How to Snow Foam
Why do you snow foam?
We have found that snow foaming is the perfect first step to dramatically reduce swirl marks and micro scratches while washing modern clear coated paint. It's effectively a pre-wash system that creates a thick, deep blanket of cleansing foam that gently dissolves and releases a lot of the grit and grime that has bonded to the paints surface. After letting the foam dwell, you blow it off with a strong jet of pressurised water. With it goes the vast majority of the potentially scratching contaminates.
This is why snow foaming has now become so popular with hardcore enthusiasts and professional detailers to do before hand-washing their cars. After a couple of years playing around with different foams and guns, we have created our own combination that we believe is quite perfect for a great Snow Job.
Three things you need
1. Snow foam wash
Of which our Snow Job is as good as you’ll get for creating that thick and beautiful foam. It has a purpose specific grouping of detergents and surfactants that work to loosen and remove the grit and grime as it dwells on the car. A lot of snow foams were made to be quite strong, so they can strip the car of all its waxes and sealants, which are more suitable for professional detailers to decontaminate the car before they begin their multi stage methods of paint care and repair. We engineered ours to be more enthusiast friendly, with a gentle pH neutral formula that allows it to be used more regularly.
2. The foam gun
The Snow Blow Cannon was custom designed to be easy to use and give amazing foaming capabilities. Our back to back tests against other foam guns have shown it to be well above them in this regard. We also custom made a short, stubby bottle so you can put the Cannon down and not have it tip over, like every other foam gun does...
On the same note, the standard "foam guns" that come with most pressure washers give very poor foaming and in our opinion are quite useless if you're wanting a good thick layer of foam!
3. A good pressure washer
You need something that's rated over 1500 PSI, with 1800 to a maximum of 3200 PSI being ideal, the more pressure you have, the better the foaming and cleaning power will be. Water flow is also important, so make sure your machine has at least 7 to 8 litres per minute flow too. A hose that's 8 to 10 metres long is handy so you dont have to carry the machine around as you apply the foam. Attach the gun/Cannon to the machine with the right adapter and you’re ready to foam.
We’ve used a Gerni brand "125 Classic" pressure washer that’s rated at 1800 PSI in our videos and images here.
The hook up
We supply the popular current Karcher K Series, Gerni/Alto/Nilfisk Pro/Kew and Stihl pressure washer adapters to hook your pressure washer up to the Snow Blow Cannon. If you require a different type of adapter, please contact us as we also keep the more popular Kranzle, Lavor, Karcher HD/HDS, Nilfisk and Kew quick connect, Black and Decker, Ryobi, Bosch and a 1/4" quick connect fittings in stock too.
A lot of these fittings will work on other machines as well (there are literally hundreds of different machines) but if we don't have the fitting you're needing, they can usually be found online at different EBay stores.
Have a read of our article on finding the right adapter for your machine. Click the image below.
For first time use, screw the required adapter on very tight to the white thread taped end. We have found the base model Karcher K Series pressure washers don't allow the Cannon to swivel and sit straight, so apply some extra thread tape to the connector end and move to where it feels comfortable.
Mixing ratio made easy
Set up your pressure washer directly in front of your car and connect the power and your hose/water to it. Don’t turn it on yet!
We use a 9:1 ratio of water to foam wash and have made this super easy to work out. Simply fill the Cannon’s bottle to the “Fill Water to Here” mark (that’s 900ml of water), then top it up with the Snow Job foam formula to the “Fill Snow Job to Here” mark (100ml of Snow Job). We put the Snow Job in last so it doesn’t foam up while you’re filling.
If you're not using our Snow Blow Cannon, each capful of Snow Job is 50mls, so two capfuls is all you need to make up to one litre.
You can mix the foam as low as a 15:1 ratio (if you're a cheaper bugger), it just means a bit less foaming action though.
If you do want a stronger strip snow, add 800mls of water to 100mls of our Orange Agent citrus cleaner and 100mls of Snow Job wash.
Important pre-wash tips
Before you begin foaming away, make sure the car is cool to touch (especially black plastic mirrors and trim) and it's not overly windy. We also think it's best to foam in the cooler parts of the day, like first up in the morning or late in the afternoon. All these are done to slow down the evaporation time of the foam, so it gets optimum dwell time.
Getting ready to blow
Attach the bottle to the Cannon’s screw in intake, being careful to not cross-thread it, then shake it well with your thumb over the adapter tip to stop it splashing out.
Now attach the Cannon to the pressure washer, turn on the water, then power it up.
For the thickest foam possible, turn the Cannon’s top blue air adjustment knob clockwise towards the “-” symbol. If you desire less foam or wish to use less foam solution, turn it the opposite way towards the “+” symbol.
The fun part
Squeeze the trigger of your pressure washer till the foam starts coming out.
Adjust the Cannon’s blue end nozzle to find your desired foam arc. Don't overturn this part or rotate it too hard. We like it around half to two thirds the way between full fan and powerful jet.
Keep the Cannon about a metre away from the cars surface to cover it in a lovely, thick foam. Starting on the lower sections and rear of the car, working your way around the car, from the bottom to the top, allowing the foam a longer dwell time on the dirtier lower areas. Let the foam sit and do its work for 4 to 5 minutes, gently dissolving the grit and dirt from the surface.
Remove the Snow Blow Cannon attachment and apply your pressure washer nozzle. Pressure wash the whole car starting from the top and working to the bottom, cleaning the very back of the car last so the foam has the longest dwell time on it.
Don’t let the jet of water get too close to window and door rubber seals or other delicate parts like fabric tops, or emblems on the car. A distance of 30 to 50cm away is always recommended so no damage can occur from the water jet.
Do you need to wash again?
Once the foam is completely washed off, use your best judgement on whether it now needs a hand wash or not.
Inspect the cars surface at the rear and lower parts of the car closely for any dirt or grime. If you see any, or if it has been through rain since the last wash, you should follow up this foam wash with a safe two bucket wash method. This is where you have 1 bucket that is filled with our lubricating Nanolicious Wash (best, most lubricating), Wax Wash or Auto Body Gel, and a 2nd bucket that's filled with clean water to rinse your microfibre wash tool (Like our Wash Pillow or Shagamittastic Wash Mitt) out in each time you come off the car, so you're releasing any left-over dirt and grime from the cleaning tools and never putting dirty water back on the car.
If there was only light dust or sea spray on the car, we find the Snow Job foam can remove it all, so you can begin drying it with The Big Green Sucker microfibre drying towel and the Boss Gloss spray as the lubricant/drying aid spray.
If you don’t use all the foam solution in one wash, it can be stored in the Cannon’s bottle for up to a month.
Use the Fully Slick protective spray after the car is all done, or apply our Happy Ending finishing foam to now protect the paint as per the information below. The slick and slippery finish allows the Snow Job foam to be more effective as the dirt cannot stick as well to the slick surfaces. You'll also notice how it also makes the foam slide off the car a bit faster, helping take any dust and grime away with it.
Finishing it off nicely
Now that you've just finished using the Snow Job snow foam, and then washed your car, you can use our super hydrophobic finishing foam; Happy Ending.
Happy Ending was made to quickly give a visible boost of protection to the car at the end of the wash, as well as creating a super high gloss and slippery smooth finish. All this happens from simply spraying it on, and then pressure washing it off, to leave a super hydrophobic coating, before drying the car as you do in a normal wash.
Foaming issues? Here's some helpful tips.
Sometimes the level of foam can be an issue and it depends on a few factors that we touch on in this article. Here are the main things we have seen the last few years that you need to look at if your cannon is not foaming the way you'd like.
1. The top blue knob should be turned to full minus/negative towards the "-". This means the Cannon will take on less wash solution, meaning more air, which means greater foam. Turning the knob to the "+" symbol means the Cannon takes on more wash solution and less air, which means less foam.
2. Your pressure washer does not have enough PSI or water flow. Smaller machines with less water and pressure won't ever foam as good as bigger machines do. In our video here we are using a middle range Gerni machine with 1800 PSI and 7 litres per minute of water flow. If your machine is under this, you may need to add more Snow Job foam wash to compensate for it. Between 20 to 100 mls extra is what we recommend and some trial and error to see what works best for you and your machine. We have also noticed a larger than normal amount of issues with people using Karcher machines, especially as they age and the pumps become less effective.
3. Bad water quality. If you're using harder bore or dam water, this will negatively affect the sudsing ability of the Snow Job foam. Always use good quality water!
4. The clear tube is not connected in the cannon, or it's kinked inside the bottle and is not able to suck up the Snow Job solution from the cannons bottle. Also make sure it is not perfectly flush with the base of the cannon bottle when inside. Check to make sure this tube is connected right and not kinked or blocked in any way.
5. Bad water pressure. If your tap water is too low of a pressure, or the hose going to the pressure washer gets a kink in it, it will starve the pressure washer of water and won't work as well. We have seen this on a property tank water where it's been gravity fed and it was not enough for pressure washer to work its best. Likewise at a demo event we hosted and the town water we used was very poor, so the cannon stopped foaming as the pressure washer was starved of water.
6. Over time you might notice the cannon not foaming as well as you remember, this can be from the Snow Job solution drying inside the cannon and building up, blocking the water flow. After each time you use the cannon it can help to turn the top knob to full positive to run fresh water through the unit and flush the foam solution out. Or, you can flush the cannon by adding 200mls of straight Orange Agent (no added water) to the cannon bottle and running it through as you would normally use the Snow Job foam. This will help clean the cannon free of any dried up detergent.
7. If the cannon stops foaming while you are using it, the culprit will most likely be something foreign has entered the cannon and blocked it. We have had this happen a couple of times at our shed, even on town water with small particles have been found in our cannon internals. If this is the case, you will need to disassemble the cannon to find and remove the object, which is an easy job as you can read in this article by clicking here.
If you have pulled the cannon apart and still having issues after, please make contact with us: email@example.com
New Snow Job formula
Our 2022 update to Snow Job brings with it a more sophisticated detergent blend that cleans better, clings to the paint surface for longer, creates a thicker, wetter foam, while still retaining the quality features that we enjoy in a snow foam like being pH neutral, so it won’t affect waxes, sealants or professionally applied ceramic coatings. Some other key features we added to this formula are anti rust and anti salt additives, making it perfect for using after a trip to the beach, and importantly, it’s totally free rinsing, meaning no residue is left behind by the detergents, to reveal that beautiful bead porn when pressure rinsing off.
We believe that Snow Foaming is a great addition to your regular washing regime, to provide the best and safest wash possible. It's fast, easy and fun!
These two products are currently available from our supporting AutObarn, Supercheap Auto, Repco as well as many other independent stores. Part numbers to quote them (if it's not already on the shelf) are BOCANNON for the Snow Blow Cannon and BOSNOW for the 2 litres or BOSNOW1L for the 1 litre Snow Job foam.
If there's any other questions you may have about this process that's not covered in this article or the video, please feel free to contact me and my great team via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 1800 351 308.