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Best snow foam 2021: Take the shortcut to a cleaner car

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Soften up the dust, dirt and caked-on grime with the top snow foams from £12

There’s no getting around the fact that washing your car can be a chore, but it’s the only way to keep it looking good and in tip-top condition. Snow foams can help, acting as a pre-wash to loosen up any surface dirt and grime before you wash it away with the old sponge and bucket – or blast it off (gently, please) with a pressure washer.

Snow foams differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, but they all work in roughly the same way. Basically, you’re looking at pH neutral cleaning solution applied using a pressure washer with a special form of lance attachment. When mixed with water at high pressure the cleaning solution turns into a dense foam (hence the name), which acts on the car body – plus the glass, hubcaps and tyre trims – to separate any dirt from the surface so that it’s easier to remove. Leave the snow foam on for five to 15 minutes, rinse it off, and your car will already be cleaner and primed for a thorough shampoo and wax. What’s more, the surface should be slightly lubricated, so that there’s less chance of causing scratches or leaving swirl marks once you get the sponge in action.

The best snow foam: At a glance

  • The best snow foam and shampoo: Bilt Hamber Surfex HD | Buy now
  • The best value snow foam: Autoglym Polar Blast | Buy now
  • The best snow foam for effective cleaning: Angelwax Fastfoam | Buy now
  • The best snow foam and lance bundle: Pro-Kleen Snow foam and Lance | Buy now

How to pick the right snow foam for you

Snow foams come at a range of different prices, but some are definitely more effective than others, creating a denser foam that hangs onto the car’s panels for a little longer or simply works harder to loosen up the dirt. Some also promise not to remove any sealants or layers of wax. Beyond this, the decision really comes down to how much you’re willing to spend – unless you’ve got a particular love or hatred of a specific fruity fragrance. No snow foam seems complete without one.

As we mentioned, snow foams generally need to be applied with the aid of a pressure washer, using an attachment that replaces the tip of the nozzle or lance. This generally has a bottle where you pour the snow foam concentrate, plus water to dilute it, which may need to be refilled two or three times during each wash. You’ll be surprised how quickly the solution goes down while you’re having fun covering the car in foam.

If you don’t have a pressure washer, some foams can be applied using a pressurised sprayer bottle of the type you might use in gardening or using a special pump foam sprayer or blaster with its own lance. These usually struggle to deliver the kind of pressure you need to create a really dense foam, but they’re better than nothing.

Meanwhile, if your pressure washer came without the necessary attachment, you’ll find that some snow foams come with one included, although you ought to check it will fit your brand of washer as not all use the same connectors. In some cases, the bundled attachment or a third-party alternative will give you better results than your original accessory.

Is there anything else worth looking out for?

Double-check that the foam is pH neutral; while it’s unlikely to affect your car’s paint, you don’t really want anything that’s even slightly caustic on your driveway or running off onto the garden. It’s also worth checking how much concentrate you need to use per litre or half-litre of water, as some are much more economical to use than others – and can even be stretched out a little further than the manufacturer’s recommendations without seriously affecting cleaning power.

Any other tips?

Watch the weather. On the one hand, it’s a bit annoying when the rain arrives while you’re still applying snow foam. On the other, applying it in hot weather can mean the foam starts to evaporate before you’ve had a chance to rinse it off, leaving an ugly residue behind. While you can leave most snow foams to work for up to half an hour, it always needs rinsing off before it dries.

READ NEXT: The best pressure washers

The best snow foam to buy

1. Bilt Hamber Surfex HD: The best snow foam and shampoo

Price: £27 for five litres | Buy now from Amazon

It’s not actually described as a snow foam – it’s more of an all-purpose cleaner and degreaser – but Bilt Hamber Surfex HD creates an impressive foam nonetheless. It clings and cleans as well as many specialist foams, if not better, and you can get away with diluting it further if your car only needs a light clean. What’s more, you can also use it to wash your car, while some of its more enthusiastic users recommend using it for a wide range of house and garden cleaning jobs. Surfex HD isn’t just an effective snow foam: it’s also a great all-round car cleaner.

Key specs – Available sizes: 5 litres; Recommended dilution (water to concentrate): 20:1 (light soiling), 10:1 (heavy soiling)

2. Autoglym Polar Blast: The best value snow foam

Price: £12 for 2.5 litres | Buy now from Amazon

As the name suggests, Polar Blast does a great job of blanketing your car in thick foam, which will cling to every surface and lift off any stubborn grime over around ten minutes. It has a pH neutral formulation that won’t get rid of any wax or sealants, and you can dilute it down to a 5:1 ratio without losing any density. At roughly £12 for 2.5 litres, it’s also cheaper than other specialist snow foams, while still delivering a brilliant clean.

Key specs – Available sizes: 2.5 litres; Recommended dilution (water to concentrate): 5:1

3. Angelwax Fastfoam: The best snow foam for effective cleaning

Price: £14 for a litre | Buy now from Amazon

Angelwax’s Fastfoam is sold as a professional-grade snow foam and it’s certainly a top performer. You can get a fantastic thick and creamy foam with a pressure washer lance, but even with a sprayer you can get a good lather. The recommended dilution is 9:1, so a litre goes a little further than it does with some rival snow foams, which helps make up for the fact that it’s relatively expensive. And while it has to be left for ten minutes to do its work, the wait is worth it: you won’t have to put in too much elbow grease afterwards to give your car a thorough clean.

Key specs – Available sizes: 1 litre, 5 litres; Recommended dilution (water to concentrate): 9:1

4. GTechniq W4 Citrus Foam: The best snow foam for SUVs and vans

Price: £14 for a litre | Buy now from Amazon

GTechniq’s foam has more going for it than a rather pleasant citrus scent. It’s pH neutral, biodegradable and formulated so it won’t attack existing sealants, waxes or polishes. Best of all, it creates an impressively dense coating of foam that defies gravity, which is a real plus on vertical panels where it gets plenty of time to work. What’s more, once the foam’s rinsed off after three to four minutes, you’ll have waved goodbye to a lot of road grime.

It’s a fine snow foam for any car, but an absolute winner for larger 4x4s and vans. Just be warned that the 200:1 recommended dilution seems to refer to the overall amount of water running through the pressure washer rather than the amount you should pour into the attachment. At anything below 20:1, you won’t get the required foam.

Key specs – Available sizes: 1 litre, 5 litres; Recommended dilution: 200:1

5. Car Gods Arctic Storm: A strong foam with a great orange scent

Price: £19 for 2.5 litres | Buy now from Amazon

We wouldn’t recommend any snow foam for its smell alone, but the Car Gods Arctic Storm does have a particularly nice orange scent. As for the foam, well it sprays a little thinner than some of our contenders so we didn’t have high hopes for its cleaning performance. After five minutes and a pressure wash rinse, though, we were pleasantly surprised to find the once dirty panels gleaming and ready for a final scrub. It’s also very respectable value, making it a good alternative to the Autoglym Polar Blast.

Key specs – Available sizes: 500ml, 2.5 litres; Recommended dilution: 10:1

6. Pro-Kleen Snow foam and Lance: The best snow foam and lance bundle

Price: £35 for five litres with lance | Buy now from Amazon

Pro-Kleen’s cherry-scented foam is a good performer, with a choice of orange, cherry and apple fragrances, a non-caustic formula and a thick, dense foam. You’ll want to up the dilution rate from the recommended 3:1 to get this – around 2:1 is closer to the mark – but if other foams seem more concentrated, this one’s comparatively cheap. The best thing about it, though, is that you can grab it in a bundle with a lance adapter that fits the most common Karcher pressure washers, and it’s actually better than some budget third-party options. If you’ve just got a basic pressure washer and want to hit the grime with snow foam, this is a top starter kit.

Key specs – Available sizes: 1 litre with lance, 5 litres with lance, 5 litres; Recommended dilution: 3:1

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