Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Stewart

Snow foam is a crucial component of any pre wash regimen. Generally, it can only be done with a pressure washer, but some snow foams can also be used in a foam sprayer, suck as the IK Foam Pro 2. A great snow foam will help to break up road grime and dirt, allowing a large portion of it to be removed before you carry out a contact wash.

Whilst it isn’t always necessary to carry out a snow foam pre wash (other options are available), when snow foam is needed, it’s important to know what the best ones are so that you can get a great pre clean, whilst also protecting the finish of your car.

Regardless of the snow foam you choose, the best ones will share the same characteristics:

1) The snow foams also should not impact any waxes or sealants that are on the paint work.

2) They effectively remove the dirt and grime that is on the car.

3) They are non-caustic and will not cause any permanent damage to the car.

I tested all of these at the same time on the same dirty cars to make sure that the comparison between them is as far as possible. To use a snow foam, you need a high quality snow foam lance.

Autoglym Polar Blast

Autoglym Polar Blast is part of their Polar series (which also includes Polar Wash and Polar Seal).

It is one of the few snow foams that I’ve used that can also be used with the aforementioned IK Foam Pro 2, to great success. Polar Blast comes in a 2.5 litre container, with the instructions to use 100ml of Polar Blast with 900ml of water. At that dilution ratio, you’ll get 25 washes out of it. This might not seem like a lot, but if you’re washing your car every fortnight, then you’re getting nearly a year out of it.

If you’re using it in the IK Foam Pro 2, then I’ve found that adding in 15ml of Polar Blast to 1 litre of water works extremely well.

At both dilutions, the snow foam was nice and thick and clung to the paint for a reasonable period of time. It looked as though the road dirt was melting off of the paintwork. Whilst testing it, I was curious about how it would affect the UHD Wax that was on the panel.

I’m glad to say that the pH neutral claim from Autoglym was correct. It did not cause any degradation of the UHD Wax and it lifted off a significant amount of dirt. The remaining dirt on the car was really loose, and came off with ease with very light agitation.

Having a white car really makes it easy to see the before and after. I was extremely impressed with the amount of grime that Polar Blast removed from the paintwork, and it should definitely be considered in your snow foam search due to it’s cleaning ability at such a low price point. In that regard, it’s a double winner.

Autoglym have also produced a snow foam cannon which works great with Polar Blast, as well as all the other snow foams on this list.

Last update on 2023-12-06 As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Autoglym Polar Blaster Snow Foam Lance, Car Wash Foam Gun For Pressure Washer Application
  • Unique car wash snow foam lance designed to work in harmony with all Autoglym Polar Series products - Polar Blast, Polar Wash and Polar Seal

Last update on 2023-12-06 As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Gtechniq W4 Citrus Foam

Gtechniq W4 Citrus Foam is an interesting combination. Not only is it a snow foam, but it also contains a citrus degreaser in it as well. This effectively doubles up on the cleaning power of the snow foam instead of having to apply a citrus based cleaner and then a snow foam on it thereafter.

The dwell time on this seemed a bit short at first, with the suggested maximum dwell time being 5 minutes. I was in two minds about if this would be long enough to tackle the road film. I can say that it definitely was long enough to help break this up considerably. This is especially true after the winter when the car can be thick with grime. I have used W4 Citrus Foam after I’ve been down some extremely muddy roads, and it chewed through the mud like a hot knife through butter.

This is no doubt thanks to the citrus cleaners in it. The clean was brilliant, and really made removing the remainder of the dirt extremely easy. If you have Gtechniq coatings on your car, this is the option I would go for. It is also non-caustic, meaning exposed metal on your car won’t be damaged.

It is a bit more expensive than other brands, and comes in 1litre and 5litre sizes. I would say that the 5litre version offers the best value for money over all.

One thing I thought was a bit off though was that instructions wise, it says to add 2.5cm of the product into a foam cannon. This doesn’t take into account though the kind of foam cannon that is being used though, so it the dilution ratios might take a bit more trial and error until you get the results you’re happy with. Regardless, it successfully removes a lot of road dirt before you need to carry out the contact wash.

Gtechniq Auto W4 Snow Foam Car Shampoo and Degreaser For Cars, 100% Biodegradable Non-Caustic Pre-Wash Snow Foam Car Wash, 1L
  • USE BEFORE CAR WASHING TO LOOSEN DIRT - apply to paint and let the thick foaming agents and degreaser lift off stubborn dirt and road grime to make car washing much safer, easier and quicker.

Last update on 2023-12-06 As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Turtle Wax Cherry Snow Foam

There are quite a few Turtle Wax snow foams available, but their Cherry Snow Foam for me is a real winner.

For starters, it’s really well priced. For 5 litres of product, it’s just under £15 which is great value for money. Turtle Wax recommend a maximum dilution ratio of 300ml of snow foam to 700ml of water. When I tried this, it did a great job at lifting off the vast majority of dirt and grime that was on the car.

When knocking the dilution back to 150ml of snow foam to 850ml of water, the results were still great. I would say that for a well maintained car, this would be optimal in the summer months before carrying out the contact wash.

Importantly, the Cherry Snow Foam is pH neutral. Even at the high concentrations of snow foam, it didn’t cause any damage to the wax that I had on the car.

It doesn’t produce the thickest foam, but that’s not important when you factor in how much dirt it breaks down on the car. For those on a budget, but still want a great, and fast acting snow foam, this is a real contender.

Turtle Wax Cherry Snow Foam 53111 - Thick, Rich Car Shampoo & Wash Removes Road Film, Grease, Oil & Dirt – Streak Free Formula Safe for All Paint, Tires, Wheels & Trim
  • Thick Foam – Turtle Wax Sow Foam is a super thick and fluffy car shampoo that blankets your car to lift of road film, grease, oil, and dirt that would otherwise be moved around the vehicle

Last update on 2023-12-06 As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Bilt Hamber Auto Foam

Bilt Hamber offer a few pre wash products, of which Auto Foam is my favourite. From the off, it should be noted it is a bit more expensive than the Polar Blast and W4 also discussed on this page. However, it needs to be taken into account that it is a 5 litre bottle that is on sale, so that does make up for it.

Unlike  the other two snow foams on this list, it isn’t pH neutral, although having said that, I didn’t notice any degradation to the protective coatings on my car. Had it caused a lot of degradation to the wax on my car, I wouldn’t want to recommend it to others.

What I really like about it is that despite it being on the alkaline end of the pH scale, it is also non-caustic, making it safe to use repeatedly on cars without fear of there being in damage to unpainted surfaces. Whilst any good detailer will always ensure snow foam is properly removed from the car, if you’re in a hurry, there’s no worry that it will cause damage to the paint work.

In terms of cleaning power, it only required a few minutes of dwell time to really make a noticeable difference to the grime on the car. It isn’t as thick as the other two products on this list, but at the same time, it doesn’t need to be. I found it to be highly effective at removing a lot of grime that I purposefully let sit on the lower panels on the car, without having to agitate it.

One thing to consider is the dilution ratio of Auto Foam. Bilt Hamber give the suggestion of using a  Panel Impact Ratio of 4%. After a lot of testing, I found that 120ml of product to 800ml of warm water produced a great clean. Although your mileage will of course vary depending on what condition the car is in. I really like Auto Foam though, and felt it did an excellent job when it came to pre-washing the car.

After using it is, the contact wash was incredibly quick thanks to how much had been removed.

Bilt Hamber Auto Foam (5 Litre)
  • auto-foam is the result of extensive in-house research and development. auto-foam will reduce even further the possibility of damage to paintwork by presenting you with beautifully clear FOD free paint, ready for subsequent detailing.

Last update on 2023-12-06 As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Koch Chemie Gentle Snow Foam

Koch Chemie are well known in the professional scene for their high quality products at modest price points.

Whilst they have Greenstar which is a great all purpose cleaner than can also be used as a snow foam, I actually prefer using GSF instead.

For cars that are well maintained and regularly washed, GSF is a great way to carry out a pre-wash on the car. Since it’s pH neutral, it is of course wax and sealant safe.

However, due to it being pH neutral, I found that it lacked a certain amount of “bite” to remove more stubborn dirt and grime. Using this on various cars that have various different coatings on them and that are washed once a week, I found that GSF removed a considerable amount of dirt before the contact wash was carried out.

The value for money is also great. I tried it several times at a dilution rate of 20ml of GSF to 1 litre of water in a snow foam lance and it produced a thick blanket of snow. It can also be used as a car shampoo in a bucket which gave great results, too.

However, if you’ve still got product in the snow foam lance after carrying out the pre-wash, you could cover the car again using the lance and then wash the car that way.

I found that on dirtier cars, adding 10ml of Koch Chemie Green Star really helped to remove more stubborn, engrained dirt. Gentle Snow Foam is a great, dual action and cost effective product.

Koch Chemie Gentle Snow Foam 1000ml, Car Cleaning Active Foam
  • Diversity – not only for the perfect car care but can also be used for cleaning motorcycle, bicycle, motorbike, boat, yacht, also ideal for working with a foam canon.

Last update on 2023-12-06 As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Snow Foam FAQs

What Do Snow Foams Do?

Snow foams are specifically formulated to be applied via a snow foam lance. Their chemical composition allows it to stay on the car for up to five minutes. Doing so allows it to break down a large amount of dirt and grime that is on the car.

This allows the heavily baked in dirt and grime to be removed before carrying out the contact wash. If a wash mitt was directly applied to this dirt and grime, it could severely damage the paint work.

Do I Need To Use a Snow Foam?

This really depends on a few factors. The first thing to consider is how dirty the car is. If it’s washed routinely, and it only has a light layer of dust on it, then simply rinsing the car with water should be enough to remove any contaminants before a contact wash.

The other thing to consider is if there is a wax, sealant or ceramic coating on the car. Since dirt and debris will stick to this, and not the paint work, if the car isn’t overly dirty then again, rinsing the car with water may dislodge a large amount of dirt from it.

Can I Use Car Shampoo Instead Of Snow Foam?

Generally speaking, no. The reason for this is that the chemical structure of both products are wildly different. Whilst a snow foam will cling to the paint work and actively dissolve dirt and grime, car shampoo doesn’t work this way. Instead, car shampoo cleans when it is agitated on the paint work.