How to Use a Foam Cannon – How Does It Work?
Foam cannons make car washing more enjoyable while also assisting you in thoroughly cleaning your vehicle. You can ask them to spray your car with a thick, manageable foam that resembles shaving cream using a pressure washer. In addition, if you’re like most people, you probably believe that foam with a higher density has a greater ability to clean. The purpose of this guide is to demystify foam cannons and suggest appropriate usage.
What Is A Pressure Washer Foam Cannon?
A pressure washer foam cannon is essentially a canister with nozzles on top that were specifically made to be attached to a pressure washer and an extension wand. The foam cannon mixes soap, water, and air in a way that creates thick suds that, when they land on your car, stick to the surface because of the pressure water from the pressure washer that the foam cannon uses.
How To Use A Foam Cannon
The best are pressure washers. They use the water from your garden hose and a small electric or gasoline engine to drive a pump that sends water out at absurdly high pressures. They are used for a variety of purposes, but when coupled with a foam cannon, they shoot obscene amounts of suds that transform any driveway into a winter wonderland.
The equipment used for car washing is called a foam cannon, and it is fairly simple. It only requires unscrewing the canister, filling it with soapy water, screwing the canister back onto the brass connector, and gently swirling the mixture (do not vigorously shake it) to mix it. Then, connect your pressure washer gun to the foam cannon’s quarter-inch quick connection plug, set the soap control and nozzle control knobs, and spray foam onto your car.
Step 1: Pre-Rinse The Car
Many will contend that using a soap cannon with a pressure washer does not require the pre-rinse step.
Some auto owners prefer to begin foaming their vehicles dry, without first hosing them down. However, the pre-rinse step is crucial for avoiding swirl marks from showing up on the exterior as it dries.
Pre-rinsing the car also helps to soften any stubborn stains or messes, making them easier to remove later.
Use a pressure washer to thoroughly wet every surface of your car as you rinse it from all angles. Wait a few minutes while it settles.
Step 2: Elect A Foaming Car Shampoo
There are many foaming car shampoos available, but those that are compatible with a foam gun or cannon and are used for routine cleaning tend to be the most effective.
The verdict is still out on whether or not the “foam weapon exclusive” shampoos actually produce a better lather, clean more thoroughly, or are worth the extra money.
The best option if you already have a high-grade ceramic coating, such as Armor Shield IX, is to choose a pH-balanced maintenance car shampoo. However, choosing a high-quality surface prep shampoo will yield the best results if your vehicle hasn’t been ceramic coated yet or the exterior is extremely dirty.
Step 3: Mix Soap and Water into the Container
In addition to being wasteful, using too much soap formula could render the mixture ineffective. Instead, adhere to the instructions provided on the product label.
Depending on the kind of soap you’re using for a car wash soap gun, this can range from 2 to 4 ounces.
The soap is put into the foam cannon container, and then water is added to the mixture.
Water that is cool or lukewarm will do just fine, but adding distilled warm water will add more air to the mixture, allowing for easier foaming.
Mix the solution gently after re-connecting the container to the cannon’s connector. You can almost immediately start using the device after assembling the pressure washer and cannon.
Step 4: Apply Foam to the Vehicle
A proper nozzle must be used when using a foam cannon to wash a car. Different nozzles will produce different angles and patterns of spray, such as a hard spray, a fan-shaped spray, or a straight stream. The knob can be turned up or down as necessary.
A pressure washer should be set between 1,000 and 3,000 PSI, as well. When cleaning regularly, you may use lower pressure, whereas heavily soiled vehicles typically require a higher pressure to remove the dirt.
The car’s tires, rims, fenders, bumpers, windshield, etc. should all be covered with thick layers of foam. Give each area a generous coating of foam, then wait a few minutes before rinsing it off with water.
Step 5: Rinse Off the Foam with Water
After the initial foaming:
- Rinse the foam with water by using the pressure washer once more.
- Rinse gradually from left to right while moving from the top to the bottom of the car, making sure to remove all of the foam.
- Once you’ve rinsed, check to see if there are any obvious traces or spots of dirt or other impurities.
Use distilled water, not mineral water, to wash the car as much as you can with a foam cannon. In doing so, you reduce the possibility that after they’ve dried, water spots will still be visible on the surface of the car.
Step 6: Re-Apply the Foam (Optional)
For the removal of tough stains, another application of car foam is advised. For much larger vehicles, such as SUVs, trucks, pickups, or vans, or for cars that haven’t been cleaned in a while, like those mentioned above, this is advised.
Once more, wait a while for the foam to set before performing the last wash. While you’re at it, get a little bucket of water ready and get a microfiber cloth or wash mitt ready to scrub the dirt and foam that’s still on the surface.
Step 7: Scrub Off the Foam with a Microfiber Wash Mitt
With a microfiber cloth, towel, or wash mitt, begin wiping down all of the remaining foam on the car. Microfiber towels are much kinder to the painted body than regular towels are. It can stop unwanted streak marks from developing.
After dampening the cloth, squeeze out any extra moisture. Start cleaning the car from top to bottom, making sure to reach every nook and cranny.
Pay close attention to the wheel spokes, door handles, and other confined areas.
Before soaking the towel in water, manually remove any debris that may be entangled in its fibers. Dry the car completely before wiping off any additional observable stains.
Benefits Of Using A Foam Cannon
Easier lubrication for removing dirt
When the water dries and you use a wash mitt to attempt to remove dirt from a panel of your car, you almost certainly missed a few spots.
Regardless of whether you use a foam cannon or not, paint does require some agitation with a microfiber towel or wash mitt because dirt tends to stick to it.
The issue with washing a panel of your car the conventional way (applying soap with a bucket) is that it’s very simple to run out of suds before you’re done.
Foam cannons help to avoid cross-contamination
If you typically wash cars with a bucket of water and car shampoo, you are aware that the water is usually quite dirty by the time you get to the last panel. Due to the possibility of reapplying dirt, this often causes more harm than good.
By preventing your wash mitt from coming into contact with dirt at the bottom of the bucket, a grit guard can help keep your wash mitt clean. However, when you’re rushed or tired, it’s easy to forget to check the water level in your bucket.
The foam creates a slick surface to easily wash the dirt away
According to my experience, it’s much simpler to determine where you’ve used your wash mitt because foam actually has a tendency to stick to a vehicle’s surface before running down the sides. It can be challenging to determine where you’ve washed when using suds because they can occasionally dry out in hot weather.
Reduced risk of scratching the paint
Many people (including myself at one point) learned how to clean cars by scrubbing them with a wash mitt or sponge dipped in a bucket of water.
This should be avoided because it makes it much simpler to scratch a car. There is no need to scrub; the soap itself effectively removes dirt.
You really don’t need to use any pressure at all when using a wash mitt because a foam cannon applies much more soap than a wash mitt ever could (even those that hold a lot of suds). In order to prevent the soiled foam from slipping off the surface, you are essentially just lightly grazing it.
Does Foam Actually Work?
Yes, foam works; the surfactants in car soaps made for foam cannon use lessen surface tension, making it simpler for soap and water to mix with air in the foam cannons. The generated foam develops a thick, clingy consistency that allows it to adhere to the surface of your car for a longer period of time. This gives the soap’s cleaning agent more time to disintegrate and loosen dirt and grime.
The foam doesn’t have much cleaning power by itself. More foam doesn’t necessarily mean more cleaning power because it’s simply the result of a reaction between air, water, and soap. Cleaning is actually carried out by the detergent in the soap.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that foam helps to lubricate the car’s surface and does so by preventing the formation of swirls when you wash the car’s surface with wash mitts.