What is a Foam Cannon – Should you use it?

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If you’re already an Expert Automotive Detailer, this article will most likely be a refresher for you, on Foam Cannons. If you’ve never heard of a Foam Cannon, or maybe you’ve heard of them, but don’t quite know what they are, this article will be an eye-opener for you.

If you’re like most people, you may find yourself asking the questions, “What is a Foam Cannon? Should I use it?”. Well, you’re in luck, because we are going to answer theses very questions, and more, in detail today.

Wait, was That a Foam Cannon I Used, at the Self Spray Car Wash?

Have you ever used one of those Self Spray Car Washes, where you drive in, and then Spray your Car down yourself? If so, you may think that you have used a Foam Cannon, because part of this Self Wash includes turning the Self Wash’s Control Knob, so Soap shoots out of the High Pressure Nozzle, instead of Water.

You may be thinking that this a Foam Cannon, but it’s not really the same. It may be a similar form, of a Foam Cannon, but not quite what you would be buying, if you were to buy a true Foam Cannon, from a reputable Automotive Detailing Supply Company.

The Self Spray Car Wash is mixing Soap, with some High-Pressure Water. However, it not precisely mixing Car Wash Soap, Water, and Air, to generate a Thick Sudsy Lather, like you see in the picture above.

So, What Exactly is a Foam Cannon?

A Foam Cannon is pretty much like it sounds. It’s a piece of Automotive Washing Equipment, which shoots Foam. It’s playfully referred to, as a Cannon, because of its ability to shoot a strong stream of Foam, all over your Vehicle.

The Foam, which it shoots, has the consistency of Thick Shaving Cream. The Thick consistency helps adhere the Foam, to the Vehicle’s Exterior Surface, while it starts to break down the dirt, and grime.

Once the dirt, and grime, has broken down, you rinse all the Foam off, along with all of the loosened dirt, and grime. By removing as much of this dirt, and grime, from the Vehicle’s Exterior Surface, you help lessen the chance of scratching your Vehicle’s Exterior Surface, when starting to Hand-Wash it.

The Foams color is usually white. However, the color of the Automotive Soap used, may determine the final Foam color.

The secret, to the Thick Foam consistency, lies with the actual Foam Cannon itself. The Foam Cannon precisely mixes the perfect amount of Automotive Soap, Water, and Air, to generate a luxurious Thick Foam. Covering your Vehicle, with this Thick Foam, is the first step, to washing your Vehicle “Scratch-Free”!

Wait, what? There are 2 Types of Foam Canons!

Yes, there are 2 primary types of Foam Cannons. They are both powered by Water. The difference is that one is powered by a Garden Hose (Lower Pressure), and one is powered by a Pressure Washer (Very High Pressure).

If you don’t own a pressure Washer, you will most likely want to use the “Garden Hose” Version, so you don’t have to invest in a Pressure Washer. However, if you already have a Pressure Washer, or were planning on investing in one anyways, you will definitely want to buy the “Pressure Washer” Version.

Note that both Versions start with a Garden Hose connection, to supply Water, but the “Pressure Washer” Version will be able to shoot the Foam, at an insanely high pressure, and will be able to achieve a more consistent Thick Foam. It’s also good to note that you can use a Pressure Washer for many other cleaning projects, and is not limited to only running Foam Cannons.

If you end up purchasing a Pressure Washer, you should know that they can either run on Gasoline, or on Electricity. There are many versions, of Pressure Washers, which retail at different Price Points. The different Price Points usually coincide with the Quality Level, of the Pressure Washer.

How Exactly Do I Use a Foam Cannon, When Hand-Washing my Vehicle

So, how do I use a Foam Cannon, when hand-washing my Car? It’s really quite simple, and does not require any special skills. Since the Foam Canon will get its water through either the Garden Hose, or the Pressure Washer, depending on the type you are using, we will assume you know how to operate either the Garden Hose, or the Pressure Washer.

Remove the Foam Cannon’s Soap Canister, from the Foam Cannon. Mix 1-3 ounces of your Automotive Soap, and Warm Water, in the Soap Canister. Then, re-attach the Soap Canister, to the Foam Cannon.

If you are using the “Garden Hose” Type, connect your Foam Cannon to the Garden Hose. If you are using the “Pressure Washer” Type, connect your Foam Cannon to the Pressure Washer. Now, the really fun part!

Make sure that your Garden Hose is turned on, and your Pressure Washer, if you’re using that type. Point the Foam Cannon, at your Vehicle, and start spraying, using the Cannon’s trigger. Completely cover your Vehicle, with a thick layer of Foam. Note that most Foam Cannons have an adjustable dial, to fine tune the Foam.

Let the Foam Sit, for a few minutes, to let the power of the Automotive Soap, and gravity, work to make the dirt, and grime, start to slide down, and off, your Vehicle. Then, rinse off your Vehicle, with water. After this first Foam application, a lot of the dirt, and grime, will already be off your Vehicle.

Now we get to coat the Vehicle again! Like before, point the Foam Cannon, at your Vehicle, and start spraying, using the Cannon’s trigger. Completely cover your Vehicle, with a thick layer of Foam. Then, using a Wash Mitt, scrub off the remaining dirt, and grime. I recommend that you use the Two-Bucket Method, to further avoid scratches, or swirls. If you’ve never heard of the “Two-Bucket Method”, don’t worry, I will be covering it, in a future article.

After your done scrubbing, you need to rinse off your Vehicle again, with water, to remove any remaining dirt, grime, and soap. Then, thoroughly dry your Vehicle, using a very soft Microfiber Towel, which was made for drying Vehicles.

Should You Use a Foam Cannon

Yes! You absolutely should be using a Foam Cannon. The whole purpose of using a Foam Cannon, is to remove as many contaminants, as possible, prior to Hand-Washing, so you lessen the chance of scratching your Vehicle’s Exterior Surface, with loose dirt, and grime.

Nobody wants to purposely damage their Vehicle! The Foam lubricates the Exterior surface, of your Vehicle, and will allow the Wash Mitt, to glide over the Exterior Surface, without causing scratches, swirls, etc.

Hopefully, this Article has given you some insight, into the world of Foam Cannons.

Please read my review on the Torq Professional Snow Foam Cannon here.

Please stay tuned, to learn about more topics, tips, tricks, product reviews, etc.

As always, If your have a particular question, or comment, please feel free to ask it below.

Have a Great Day,


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