Author Topic: pressure washer and snow foam  (Read 1704 times)

Offline scanesare

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pressure washer and snow foam
« on: 30 June 2018, 16:44 »
Yesterday, I finally succumbed and bought a K4 Karcher pressure washer. Seemed like a big purchase but I calculated that was equivalent to the cost of 6-8 months washes by going to my local DIY wash station (that's how I sold it to SWMBO anyway) so it should make sense I think. Now a whole lot of questions came with it:

Half of the appeal of the pressure washer was the ability to use a foam cannon, I have been envying this for a while... But then I found out so much debate online on foam lances, and some of the most popular ones like Chemical Guys or Adam's cost around 1/3 of the actual washer's price  :shocked: for what seems to be effectively a plastic bottle with a washer gun attachment (not referring to the actual guns that you attach to a hose when you don't have a p.w.). It seems crazy but maybe I miss something?  I was thinking of sticking to OEM parts and getting the Karcher FJ-6 foam nozzle, i feel the "foaminess" is more a matter of the mix ratio and the shampoo than an actual ability of the lance/nozzle you use?

Also, is it possible, on not very dirty cars with sticking dirt, to just snow foam and rinse off without touching the car? I guess you would risk swirls when drying it (if there was still dirt that hadn't been removed) but isn't that the same as if you opted for hand-washing after?

And last one, do I need special snow foam shampoo in order to make sufficient foam or I can dilute my own normal hand wash shampoo? I currently use Meguiars Wash n Wax.
« Last Edit: 30 June 2018, 16:46 by scanesare »

Offline Booth11

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Re: pressure washer and snow foam
« Reply #1 on: 30 June 2018, 17:52 »
Yesterday, I finally succumbed and bought a K4 Karcher pressure washer. Seemed like a big purchase but I calculated that was equivalent to the cost of 6-8 months washes by going to my local DIY wash station (that's how I sold it to SWMBO anyway) so it should make sense I think. Now a whole lot of questions came with it:

Half of the appeal of the pressure washer was the ability to use a foam cannon, I have been envying this for a while... But then I found out so much debate online on foam lances, and some of the most popular ones like Chemical Guys or Adam's cost around 1/3 of the actual washer's price  :shocked: for what seems to be effectively a plastic bottle with a washer gun attachment (not referring to the actual guns that you attach to a hose when you don't have a p.w.). It seems crazy but maybe I miss something?  I was thinking of sticking to OEM parts and getting the Karcher FJ-6 foam nozzle, i feel the "foaminess" is more a matter of the mix ratio and the shampoo than an actual ability of the lance/nozzle you use?

Also, is it possible, on not very dirty cars with sticking dirt, to just snow foam and rinse off without touching the car? I guess you would risk swirls when drying it (if there was still dirt that hadn't been removed) but isn't that the same as if you opted for hand-washing after?

And last one, do I need special snow foam shampoo in order to make sufficient foam or I can dilute my own normal hand wash shampoo? I currently use Meguiars Wash n Wax.

The ability of the lance nozzle etc makes all the difference. You will get the best results out of your snow foam of you use it in conjunction with a proper snow foam lance which gives you much greater control over dilution, spray angle, intensity, etc, and these adjustments make a huge difference to the application and thus the effectiveness of snow foam.  And whilst they are not cheap, if you look after them properly (rinse through after use with clear water etc), service. now and again, they last years and years, so a great investment.

I know lots of people that have used the Karcher lance only to ditch it fairly swiftly for a proper lance. When they use a proper lance, they realise the massive difference between the two types.
 
These two are the best lances you can buy imo.  Both are made by Italian company PA and are essentially the same lance.  The Autobrite one is on offer at a lower price with snow foam.
 
https://www.autobritedirect.co.uk/index.php/exterior-cleaning/autobrite-direct-snow-foam-lance/autobrite-heavy-duty-foam-snow-foam-lance-magifoam-500ml.html
 
http://www.cleanyourcar.co.uk/washing-and-drying/foam-pre-wash/snow-foam-lance-various-fittings/prod_371.html

You’ll get much better results if you use a dedicated proper snow foam rather than using normal shampoo with it, they are a more concentrated formulation designed for use as snow foams in varying dilution ratios depending on your requirements, so it’s not as straightforward as just upping the amount of normal shampoo you use, which will ultimately prematurely degrade and strip your protection.
 
It is entirely possible to just use a touchless snow foam wash on a lightly soiled car, loads of people do that (I personally don’t as I always wait till I can do a full wash).  But as you say, drying is the issue and that’s the stage of washing where there’s the greatest risk of inflicting swirls anyway.  So I would only suggest a touchless snow foam if you either have soft water that won’t leave water marks; or are using filtered DI water for the final rinse; or you have a air blower to dry the car.  If you are towel drying then the risk of swirls is something that should make you think carefully about it.
 
« Last Edit: 30 June 2018, 18:02 by Booth11 »
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Offline scanesare

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Re: pressure washer and snow foam
« Reply #2 on: 30 June 2018, 19:53 »
I see your points, another case of buy nice or buy twice... As usual, the availability of most detailing items is not similar between UK and Sweden so in some cases i must find equal alternatives. The two products in your link cost almost double the price when shipped here so with some searching I came across this Dr. Dirt G1 snow foam lance that has raving reviews in a pretty big Swedish detailing online shop (not cheap either).

http://www.autodude.se/produkt/foam_lance_dr_dirt_g1/

Video of it in action is pretty convincing too https://youtu.be/ZcJCEZlC9rE

The next question I guess is which snow foam given the options available in the same shop. The top two recommended products are "Pre-wash King Arthur" with a PH of 12 (advertised as safe for wax, is it possible?) and the ValetPRO Advanced Neutral Snow Foam with neutral PH and biodegradable. I am leaning towards the second due to its more ECO-ness and coat friendliness. Would you recommend one over the other?

Overall from your experience, do you find the pre-wash snow foam process a must nowadays? Is it a case of "I'm never just rinsing off dirt with only water again" and does it actually reduce swirls induced from hand washing and drying afterwards? Or is it more like a trend, something that looks cool and makes you feel nice? For years I've only cleaned my cars by first spraying water, then hand wash then hand dry so I just wonder how much of a difference all these new extra steps make.

Offline Booth11

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Re: pressure washer and snow foam
« Reply #3 on: 30 June 2018, 20:04 »
I see your points, another case of buy nice or buy twice... As usual, the availability of most detailing items is not similar between UK and Sweden so in some cases i must find equal alternatives. The two products in your link cost almost double the price when shipped here so with some searching I came across this Dr. Dirt G1 snow foam lance that has raving reviews in a pretty big Swedish detailing online shop (not cheap either).

http://www.autodude.se/produkt/foam_lance_dr_dirt_g1/

Video of it in action is pretty convincing too https://youtu.be/ZcJCEZlC9rE

The next question I guess is which snow foam given the options available in the same shop. The top two recommended products are "Pre-wash King Arthur" with a PH of 12 (advertised as safe for wax, is it possible?) and the ValetPRO Advanced Neutral Snow Foam with neutral PH and biodegradable. I am leaning towards the second due to its more ECO-ness and coat friendliness. Would you recommend one over the other?

Overall from your experience, do you find the pre-wash snow foam process a must nowadays? Is it a case of "I'm never just rinsing off dirt with only water again" and does it actually reduce swirls induced from hand washing and drying afterwards? Or is it more like a trend, something that looks cool and makes you feel nice? For years I've only cleaned my cars by first spraying water, then hand wash then hand dry so I just wonder how much of a difference all these new extra steps make.

Sorry, I forgot you were in Sweden.

Yes the one in your link is a proper snow foam lance. 

I can vouch for the ValetPro Advanced snow foam.  I use it and ime, it’s the best snow foam, closely followed by Bilt Hamber Auto Foam.  I’ve tried a few.

Yes I find the pre wash snow foam a must process to the point I do two pre washes. One with snow foam, followed by one with ValetPro Citrus Pre wash, but of course that’s my personal pref.  But pre wash is, IMO, an invaluable method of touchless cleaning which leaves much less cleaning to be done at the ‘touch’ bucket stage.  I’m not interested in ‘trends’, only in processes that have a measurable  value to the cleaning process, and ime pre washing is one that delivers.  But at the end of the day it’s your decision whether you want to introduce it into your current regime.
Black Beauty: MK7 R 5dr DSG, DBP, 19" Pretoria, DCC, Vienna leather, Keyless, Dynaudio, DNS Pro, Rear camera, HBA
2012 MK6 GTI DSG
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Offline scanesare

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Re: pressure washer and snow foam
« Reply #4 on: 30 June 2018, 20:19 »

Sorry, I forgot you were in Sweden.

Yes the one in your link is a proper snow foam lance. 

I can vouch for the ValetPro Advanced snow foam.  I use it and ime, it’s the best snow foam, closely followed by Bilt Hamber Auto Foam.  I’ve tried a few.

Yes I find the pre wash snow foam a must process to the point I do two pre washes. One with snow foam, followed by one with ValetPro Citrus Pre wash, but of course that’s my personal pref.  But pre wash is, IMO, an invaluable method of touchless cleaning which leaves much less cleaning to be done at the ‘touch’ bucket stage.  I’m not interested in ‘trends’, only in processes that have a measurable  value to the cleaning process, and ime pre washing is one that delivers.  But at the end of the day it’s your decision whether you want to introduce it into your current regime.

ValetPRO it is then. There's two versions of them though: Advanced Neutral and PH Neutral, any idea why the two options? Which one are you using?

You sound very fond of the pre-wash snow foam and coming from someone who's tried so much stuff that's all the convincing I needed  :wink:   And since I'm going to be using a pressure washer from now on anyway, it does not make sense not to snow foam as I understand it. It's a small extra investment for a quality lance and snow foam but the whole process is quite fast. Probably 5min to cover the car, then leave it to work for 5-10? and then rinse off, not a big deal. Plus, on a car with minimal dirt (think mostly dust) it could offer the option of an express cleaning occasionally, something I could never trust doing before with just water or quick detailers so there are even more benefits to be had.

Offline Booth11

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Re: pressure washer and snow foam
« Reply #5 on: 30 June 2018, 20:36 »

Sorry, I forgot you were in Sweden.

Yes the one in your link is a proper snow foam lance. 

I can vouch for the ValetPro Advanced snow foam.  I use it and ime, it’s the best snow foam, closely followed by Bilt Hamber Auto Foam.  I’ve tried a few.

Yes I find the pre wash snow foam a must process to the point I do two pre washes. One with snow foam, followed by one with ValetPro Citrus Pre wash, but of course that’s my personal pref.  But pre wash is, IMO, an invaluable method of touchless cleaning which leaves much less cleaning to be done at the ‘touch’ bucket stage.  I’m not interested in ‘trends’, only in processes that have a measurable  value to the cleaning process, and ime pre washing is one that delivers.  But at the end of the day it’s your decision whether you want to introduce it into your current regime.

ValetPRO it is then. There's two versions of them though: Advanced Neutral and PH Neutral, any idea why the two options? Which one are you using?

You sound very fond of the pre-wash snow foam and coming from someone who's tried so much stuff that's all the convincing I needed  :wink:   And since I'm going to be using a pressure washer from now on anyway, it does not make sense not to snow foam as I understand it. It's a small extra investment for a quality lance and snow foam but the whole process is quite fast. Probably 5min to cover the car, then leave it to work for 5-10? and then rinse off, not a big deal. Plus, on a car with minimal dirt (think mostly dust) it could offer the option of an express cleaning occasionally, something I could never trust doing before with just water or quick detailers so there are even more benefits to be had.

Read this for explanation of the difference between the two VP snowfoams.

http://detailingworld.co.uk/forum/showpost.php?p=4820614&postcount=4

I’m particular about keeping my paintwork as free from unnecessary swirls as possible - black paint is unforgiving when it comes to swirls - so touchless washing is very important to me as it massively reduces the risk of swirling the paint at the touch stages, the majority of the dirt having been removed at the pre wash stages.

Hopefully you will see the benefits of it too.  :smiley:
Black Beauty: MK7 R 5dr DSG, DBP, 19" Pretoria, DCC, Vienna leather, Keyless, Dynaudio, DNS Pro, Rear camera, HBA
2012 MK6 GTI DSG
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Offline scanesare

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Re: pressure washer and snow foam
« Reply #6 on: 30 June 2018, 21:00 »
Read this for explanation of the difference between the two VP snowfoams.

http://detailingworld.co.uk/forum/showpost.php?p=4820614&postcount=4

I’m particular about keeping my paintwork as free from unnecessary swirls as possible - black paint is unforgiving when it comes to swirls - so touchless washing is very important to me as it massively reduces the risk of swirling the paint at the touch stages, the majority of the dirt having been removed at the pre wash stages.

Hopefully you will see the benefits of it too.  :smiley:

That link helped. Was about to ask, why not go to the Advanced directly if it does what the Neutral PH does and more? And then remembered the 70% bigger price  :tongue: Still it's a cheap expense so I'll be going with Advanced. Says 1:20 - 1:30 dilute ratios so 25ml in a 500ml mix, is that enough for one pass? (no idea how much you waste). Ιf that's correct 1L should last 40 washes , more than I do in a year so I don't need more than that.

Offline Booth11

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Re: pressure washer and snow foam
« Reply #7 on: 30 June 2018, 21:25 »
Read this for explanation of the difference between the two VP snowfoams.

http://detailingworld.co.uk/forum/showpost.php?p=4820614&postcount=4

I’m particular about keeping my paintwork as free from unnecessary swirls as possible - black paint is unforgiving when it comes to swirls - so touchless washing is very important to me as it massively reduces the risk of swirling the paint at the touch stages, the majority of the dirt having been removed at the pre wash stages.

Hopefully you will see the benefits of it too.  :smiley:

That link helped. Was about to ask, why not go to the Advanced directly if it does what the Neutral PH does and more? And then remembered the 70% bigger price  :tongue: Still it's a cheap expense so I'll be going with Advanced. Says 1:20 - 1:30 dilute ratios so 25ml in a 500ml mix, is that enough for one pass? (no idea how much you waste). Ιf that's correct 1L should last 40 washes , more than I do in a year so I don't need more than that.

I use at around 1:9 or 1:8 which is enough to give effective cleansing without stripping the protection unnecessarily.   500mls is sufficient to do a full pass.
Black Beauty: MK7 R 5dr DSG, DBP, 19" Pretoria, DCC, Vienna leather, Keyless, Dynaudio, DNS Pro, Rear camera, HBA
2012 MK6 GTI DSG
2008 MK5 GTI DSG
2005 MK5 GTI Manual

https://www.flickr.com/photos/booth11

Offline scanesare

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Re: pressure washer and snow foam
« Reply #8 on: 01 July 2018, 09:27 »
I use at around 1:9 or 1:8 which is enough to give effective cleansing without stripping the protection unnecessarily.   500mls is sufficient to do a full pass.

Cheers!

Offline scanesare

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Re: pressure washer and snow foam
« Reply #9 on: 16 July 2018, 00:15 »
The lance and shampoo have arrived and they very much do what they say on the box, although to get that pro level foaminess you need to work with higher ratios than the 1:20 advertised, more like 1:8 as you say, and I don't think there's anything wrong with the lance, it seems a sturdy, quality piece of kit, my buddy got a video of it.

So now that I got them, how should I be maintaining them in order to last long? Do I remove the metal adapter with the suction hose and rinse it off lightly with water after each use? Then store separately from the bottle? Do I just leave them assembled with the remaining shampoo mixture in the bottle?