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The best snow foam for satisfying car care 2024: the best put to the test

• What snow foam is and how it works
• The best snow foam products on the market
• How to use snow foam to clean your car

Written by Ryan Gilmore Published: 24 February 2023 Updated: 12 April 2024

Part of the pre-wash family, anyone who is serious about cleaning their car properly needs to get their hands on the best snow foam possible. But with so many variants on sale promising different scents, cleaning properties and even colours, it can be hard to find the best. Don’t fear though, the car cleaning experts at Parkers have pitted the latest and greatest snow foams against one another to find the best snow foam.

Often applied via a pressure washer, at its core, snow foam is a detergent that’s mixed with air and water to produce a nice clingy foam that helps loosen and soften any muck present, clumps of mud, road film and even ex-insects.

This is all in the name of minimising the risk of scratches occurring, something that can happen if you accidentally drag these contaminants across your car’s paintwork. Snow foam works as a purely chemical cleaner, meaning it requires no agitation from you whatsoever which limits that scratch risk. Let it dwell on a panel as it loosens and treats muck before rinsing it off and getting to work with a good car shampoo.

The best snow foams at a glance:

Editor’s choice: Bilt Hamber Touch-LessBuy now from Amazon UK
The best snow foam for value: Koch Chemie Gentle Snow FoamBuy now from Amazon UK
The best snow foam for beginners: Autoglym Polar BlastBuy now from Amazon UK

If you’re at all serious about improving your car cleaning skills and want to leave fewer scratches in your paintwork, consider learning how to best use snow foam. A versatile product, snow foams come in different strengths for different cleaning tasks as well as a rainbow of colours and tropical scents to make it just that little bit more exciting. We’ve broken down the best examples below.

The best snow foams tested by our car care experts

Test winner

Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the best snow foam on the market today for cleaning. With a new formula, Touch-Less now boasts twice the concentration as before but retains the same sugar base for powerful alkaline cleaning while keeping the foam biodegradable.

Our testing found it to not be the thickest foam on the market, but that's a good thing for cleaning; the thinner foam more effectively dragged dirt off the car. Dwell time was affected by this runnier mixture, but the paintwork was left by far the cleanest. It's quite simply the best snow foam you can buy.

Pros

  • Fantastic cleaning ability
  • Good value for money
  • Fully biodegradable formula

Cons

  • Not the thickest foam
  • Irritating instructions
  • Peformance
    5.0
  • Features
    5.0
  • Value for money
    4.5
  • Overall
    5.0
Volume: 5000ml
pH level: 12
Biodegradable? Yes
Extras: Rust inhibitors, wax safe
The best snow foam for value
A strong performance from the German brand Koch Chemie, Gsf (Gentle Snow Foam) is a pH-neutral snow foam designed to effectively clean but not damage any applied paint protection. The brand do suggest adding Green Star for some extra cleaning power if needed.

The ace up its sleeve is the insanely powerful concentration and value for money. Using only 20ml of the gel-like product was all that was needed to get a decent coating of foam. Cleaning power couldn't quite match the Bilt Hamber option, but the Gsf is unmatched in its value for money. Another bonus point for the price-conscious is that 50ml in 10 litres of water will make for a solid car shampoo. Not that it affects performance, but the cherry scent was also by far the most popular with the Parkers team.

Pros

  • Exceptional value for money
  • Amazing scent
  • Works as a car shampoo too

Cons

  • Needs some back-up for filthy cars
  • Viscosity means pouring can take longer
The best snow foam for beginners
Price: $34.77
The British titan of car care, Autogylm's sole snow foam is part of the Polar Range of pressure washer-applied car cleaning products. The Polar Blast pre-wash is billed as a gentle yet effective snow foam that makes car care easier. It's pH neutral for gentle cleaning and the perfect introduction to snow foaming.

The foam produced was more stable than the Bilt Hamber option, clinging reasonably well to the paintwork for a longer dwell time. The flip side to that was the cleaning wasn't quite up to the lofty heights of the front runner, and in the one-litre guise, it's not the best value for money. If you're after a safe pair of hands, you can't go wrong with Autoglym, but we recommend upgrading and getting the full Polar Range while you're at it.

Pros

  • Nice thick foam
  • Lovely smell
  • Gentle formula

Cons

  • You'll use a fair amount of product per wash
  • Not the strongest pre-wash
Volume: 2500ml
pH level: 7
Biodegradable? Yes
Extras: N/A
The best snow foam for waxed cars
Price: $28.95
Infusing snow foam with citrus oils is a clever innovation. After all, citrus oils are fantastic natural degreasers and a dedicated citrus pre-wash can be layered underneath a layer of snow foam by the most dedicated of detailers. Added to a ph-neutral snow foam, you should surely be on to success with the Gtechniq W4 Citrus Foam.

The foam was on par with the Koch Chemie, as was the cleaning power. It's no replacement for a dedicated citrus pre-wash, but is a handy time-saver for a moderately dirty car. It's our choice to clean a protected car, and the orange scent was rather delicious.

Pros

  • Gentle but effective cleaning
  • Good value for money
  • Great scent

Cons

  • Not the thickest foam
  • No replacement for a dedicated pre-wash
Volume: 1000ml
pH level: N/A
Biodegradable? Yes
Extras: Uses Citrus oil
Again boasting a pH-neutral and concentrated formula, this snow from 26JPN really excels in making a nice blanket of foam. Requiring 50ml per use, you'll get 10 uses per bottle, and it does produce a nice thick layer of foam. The cleaning ability was as expected from a pH-neutral snow foam, but the five-minute dwell time is a nice bonus.

It scores an extra point for the cherry scent but lacks the value for money to push it any higher. It's a solid choice that won't leave you disappointed, but other brands will offer useful additions or do a similar job for less cash.

Pros

  • Nice and thick foam
  • Solid dwell times
  • Cherry scented

Cons

  • Average value for money
  • Basic formula

How we test snow foam:

Every snow foam we test will be applied via a pressure washer using the recommended dilution ratio printed on the bottle. We’ll often use the fleet of test cars as test beds for cleaning as these cars will have covered plenty of miles and have plenty of muck and grime that can serve as a testbed for the products. To assess each snow foam I look for cleaning power, value for money, foam consistency and the scent.

What you need to know about snow foam:

How does snow foam work?

Snow foam is basically a weaker car shampoo that foams up when mixed with water (from the pressure washer) and air (from the atmosphere). It is important to realise what snow foam actually does. It coats your car in a layer of lathered foam, where it’ll sit for several minutes, loosening and even removing dirt and muck caked on the surface.

Like any good pre-wash, when you rinse it off, the cleaning agents in the foam will have worked away at the grime and makes the subsequent task of washing easier and more successful.

It’s easy to see snow foam as an alternative to shampoo and a replacement for traditional cleaning when it’s actually designed as a supplement. That’s not to say there are snow foams capable of washing a car, but it’s not the best course of action.

What should I look for in a good snow foam?

Concentration – Snow foams aren’t designed to be used neat; you’ll always need to add a little bit of water to make the foam. Products like Koch Chemie’s Gsf require a tiny amount (as low as 10ml) of product because it’s so concentrated, while Autoglym’s Polar Wash requires 100ml to make a proper foam. As such, check the concentration ratio when shopping around, as a huge bottle of snow foam may not always be the best value for money.

Thickness – Some snow foams are so thick they put whipped cream to shame, but that’s all for show. Not only will you need a very powerful pressure washer to achieve that thickness (and use a load more product), but there’s no cleaning benefit to foam that thick. While a long dwell time is good, the foam needs to eventually slide off the car, pulling the muck with it. A thickish foam that clings well but does gently fall down the car is preferable.

Biodegradability – An increasingly important aspect in selecting the right car care products, biodegradability will ensure you’re not leaving nasty chemicals around that may be harmful to the planet. Some companies will proudly print that their snow foam is 100% biodegradable, while others don’t bother, but we know that all the snow foams we’ve selected are biodegradable.

Scent and colour – The most subjective part of snow foam, how it smells and looks on a car, has no bearing on performance but can make cleaning a little bit more fun. While there are plenty of plain, white foam offerings available, there are an equal amount of zany-coloured and deliciously scented options too. Just for fun, we had a quick look to find the craziest snow foam scents and weren’t left disappointed. We even found beer-scented snow foam.

Does my snow foam gun matter?

Yes, it does. The lance that came with your pressure washer may get a reasonably thick foam, but to get the most cleaning power from your machine, an aftermarket option (like this Autoglym model) is preferable. These will provide a thicker foam, help your product stretch further and will be packed with clever ergonomic features to make car cleaning less arduous.

Ryan Gilmore is the Deputy Autos and Tools Editor for Parkers, specialising in car cleaning and hand tools. A veteran car cleaner; if it details, waxes or washes he’ll be on hand to make sure it’s worth your money.

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