How To Use A Foam Cannon (Quicker Washes)

How To Use A Foam Cannon (Quicker Washes)


Are you looking to get the ultimate car wash feel from your driveway? The moment where your car is doused in thick foam and cleaned off to perfection is one that is not only fun to replicate, it’s also quite effective and efficient.

Once you’re finished reading this article you’ll be well versed in all things to do with a foam cannon, including some frequently asked questions, and you’ll be ready to have some fun of your own.

How do you wash your car with foam cannons?

You will need:

  • Car Shampoo – A good snow foam car shampoo is an important tool to have for any at-home car project. You want to ensure that the car shampoo that you select is good on all vehicle surfaces in order to prevent damages to your car. The shampoo by the Chemical Guys does just that. I love this shampoo because its snow foam formula works magic for hard to remove grime. A bonus is that this car wash soap works amazingly in a foam cannon producing only the thickest bubbles. 
  • Foam Cannon – For a DIY that uses a foam cannon, it would only make sense to have one! I recommend the foam cannon by MTM Hydro. Their foam cannons come with everything you need, tool wise, to start foaming your car as well as has corrosion-resistant quick-connect appliances. Another bonus is that this foam cannon fits a wide variety of pressure washers and will most likely connect with the one you already have in the garage.
  • Pressure Washer – You will need a pressure washer to attach your foam cannon in order to deliver the desired thick foam. Any pressure washer that you have in the garage will do, I recommend checking the specs of your pressure washer just to ensure that your foam cannon will fit. The kit I suggested prior most likely will fit, but it would be good to check it just to be safe. This is needed for foam cannon cleansing, not for washing car with foam gun as it uses a typical garden hose for its connection.
  • Wash Mitt – For anything that is directly touching the surface of your car, you want something reliable that won’t leave behind scratches. The lint-free wash mitts by The Rag Company have thick fibers that hold water for lubrication in order to get the job done safely and effectively. These mitts are also durable which will keep you from buying new one’s season after season.
  • Microfiber Towel – If you use a normal towel to dry the water off of your car, it could leave behind swirls and light scratches across your vehicle’s paint. In order to keep your car looking pristine, use high-quality microfiber cloth such as the options by The Rag Company. These towels not only protect your vehicle but are also very water absorbent.

How to wash with a foam cannon (Step by Step)

Using a foam cannon or a foam gun can bring a lot of joy to car washing and make the process a breeze. In order to save yourself the frustration, follow this step by step guide on how to use a foam cannon. 

  1. Prepare the Cannon – Mix the soap with some warm water in order to dilute the soap concentrate into the canister of the cannon. Follow the instructions on the bottle of your car wash soap to get the proper dilution. Warm water is the best choice so that your snow foam soap mixes well. Do not shake the canister as this will create snow foam prematurely in the container and lead to you having to use more product. Attach the canister back to the pressure washing lance, which will be a quick-connect process.
  2. Spray Round One – Always spray the snow foam on a dry vehicle. Spray a layer of snow foam over your vehicle, completely coating it. I would recommend putting a thin layer over the car and letting it sit for a few seconds and then rinsing it off before you start the washing process. This will get all of the heavy dirt and grime off of your vehicle, which will allow the elements that would require more effort to remove, slide off like it was nothing. 
  3. Spray Round Two – Spray a second layer of snow foam over your vehicle, completely coating it. Use your wash mitt to thoroughly wipe down the vehicle and clean any dirt off the surface. Make sure to wash your car starting from the top and ending at the bottom in order to prevent the dirtiest spots of the vehicle from coming into contact with the cleaner spots.
  4. Dry – Dry your car like normal with a microfiber towel in order to avoid swirls and scratches for a better finish. Make sure to get all of the water off of your vehicle in order to avoid water splotches and streaking. 

What are the benefits of a foam cannon?

There are many benefits of using a foam cannon. Just by adding one product to your car washing routine, you can accomplish the following:

  • Foam Cannons are Cost-effective – The foam cannon is more cost-effective than any other method that you may use. You are ultimately using less soap and water, which will make your snow foam soap stash last longer and save you some money on your water bill.
  • They have an easier cleanup process – The foam cannon kisses the two bucket method goodbye saving you from having to rinse out your buckets and gives you the ability to not have to use a wash mitt to clean. 
  • They offer better results – This has the opportunity to be used as a no-touch washing method for cleaning your car, if you opt-out of using the washing mitt, the common swirls and minor scratches of the paint will be a thing of the past. 
  • It will cut down on your wash time – With a foam cannon, you don’t have to wash every square inch of the surface, as the foam does the majority of the work. The pressure washer allows you to spread the soapy foam to whatever surface that you want and as thick of foam as you want. The thick foam can melt off the surface grime that sits in the hard to reach areas, preventing you from having to scrub every nook and cranny of your car.
  • A foam cannon can wash just about anything – A foam cannon is a great investment because you don’t have to use it just for washing your car! You can use it for your house siding, sheds, lawn furniture, your bike, and any other thing similar to these.

What is the difference between a foam cannon and a foam gun?

A foam gun is meant for use as an attachment directly on a normal gardening hose whereas a foam cannon is meant to be used as an attachment to a pressure washer which is then attached to the garden hose.

A foam cannon has significantly more pressure than a foam gun which allows the snow foam to come out thicker and gives more of that snow-like effect that you imagine.

It does cost a bit more than the alternative, but once you get done with this article, I believe you will agree with me that it is worth it. Although it is more expensive if the thick foam is what you want and you’re okay with getting out the pressure washer, by all means, splurge for the foam cannon!

By getting a foaming cannon attachment, doing the chore of washing your car will be a lot more enjoyable and satisfying.  

Do you put water directly in the foam cannon?

Yes, you will put some water in the foam canister and then mix it with the wash soap in order to create the diluted soapy solution that you will be using to wash the car. However, the water supply will be coming from the garden hose which is attached to the pressure washer, not from the cannon canister itself.

Once you dilute the wash soap, you don’t have to open the foam canister again until the next car wash– this eliminates the struggle of continuously having to fill up your wash buckets and add more suds to the bucket.

Do you have to scrub your car when you use foam cannons?

It is important to remember that a foam cannon does the job of lathering of the soap on your car for you, during a car wash, but not the deep cleaning portion of your wash routine.

Scrubbing your car is a necessity if you want your car to be fully cleaned, snow foam, or not. Although a spray of snow foam and a quick water rinse can remove some surface area grime, it may not remove all of the dirt and debris on your vehicle that a car wash typically would.

Just adding a quick wipe down with a wash mitt could make your foam spray and water rinse have exponentially better and high-quality results.

It also can depend on your cleaning schedule. How often do you wash your car? Quick snow foam and spray down once a week and a deeper cleaning every three weeks may work for you whereas another person may only want to clean their car when they are available to do a deep clean.

Do some research and determine the best car wash schedule for you.

Can you use any soap in a foam cannon?

Technically you can use any soap you want in a foam cannon or foam gun, however, you need to keep in mind that some car wash soaps will foam more than others.

Keep in mind that you should never use soaps that aren’t intended for car washing as they may produce undesirable results.

You can use the typical car wash soap, not necessarily foam cannon specific, but it may not foam quite as much and be as effective for pre-wash purposes like a snow foam soap would. Snow foam soap is the best product to use in foam cannons in order to help break down and remove the dirt and grime that accumulates on the surface of your vehicle.

A snow foam will give you the best results and the finished product will be comparable to a car wash. Another thing to keep in mind is that a good portion of snow foam products come scented, so when you are purchasing your snow foam, make sure you pick a scent that you will enjoy as it produces quite the aroma.

The Chemical Guys offer fun scents of snow foam such as watermelon and honeydew, but also more mild scents for those that want them.


What kind of pressure washer should I use?

It is okay to use any type or brand of pressure washer with foam cannons. The two options of pressure washer that you can decide between are gasoline-powered pressure washers and electric powered pressure washers.

An electric-powered pressure washer offers less psi (pounds per square inch) than the gasoline-powered pressure washer which in turn makes them a little safer for use on your vehicle’s paint job.

The higher the psi, the riskier it is to use on your car. Psi in the low 2000s offers plenty of pressure to effectively and safely spray the foam for your car wash.

However, some gas-powered pressure washers have adjustable pressures, so this would be a good thing to check on your personal pressure washer before deciding to rush out to get a new one or giving up on the idea completely.


Now that you know how to work a foam cannon and know some of the frequently asked questions, you are one step closer to having your own high-quality private car wash.

Soon your car will be covered in an inch or two of thick foam and you’ll wonder why it took so long to get a foam cannon of your own. 

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