Time To Wash Your Ride Right With These Foam Cannon Soaps
These top cleansers produce shiny, glossy finishes.
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If you have a foam cannon, you know why it's beneficial. If you don't, you're missing out. When using a bucket to hand wash your car or truck, there’s a good chance you will run out of suds part way through the process. A foam cannon provides a steady stream of suds, and it's less likely to scratch the paint than a wash mitt. In addition, foam cannons produce a thick, rich lather that can't be reproduced with traditional soap and a bucket, and you'll get the job done more quickly. In sum, foam cannons have a lot of advantages. However, you need to use the proper soap in order to get the best results. There are many brands available online and in stores, but they're not all created equally. We include some of the best options in our buying guide below.
Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam Car Wash Soap
This soap can be used in either a foam cannon or with a bucket. It's pH neutral and requires one capful with five gallons of water.
- Produces thick foam
- Simple to use
- Safe to use on wax and sealants
- Scent doesn’t last very long
- You may need a mitt for a deeper clean
Mr. Pink Super Suds Maintenance Shampoo
This car shampoo is available in several different sizes, depending on your requirements, and is pH-balanced.
- Affordably priced
- Generates thick suds
- Safe for a variety of surfaces
- Not everyone likes the strong scent
- Not as sudsy as some rival brands
Bilt Hamber Snow Foam Car Wash Soap
Made in England, this car soap is considered a pre-wash with a pH of about 13.
- Minimizes swirls and scratches
- Safe to use on protective surfaces
- Does not produce many suds
We took many factors into consideration when compiling our list of the best foam cannon soaps. First, we chose brands that are well known with good reputations among car enthusiasts as well as regular citizens. We avoided products by unknown manufacturers or that had less-than-stellar reviews. We made sure that the products delivered what they promised by consulting user feedback. We did not personally test every product in our guide, but real-world results played a big part in how they landed on our list. In addition, we made sure to include items in a wide range of prices, so people with varying budgets have options and won't be constrained because a product is too expensive. To learn more about our methodology, go here.
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Best Foam Cannon Soap Reviews & Recommendations
- Brand: Chemical Guys
- Size: One gallon
- Surface compatibility: Paint, rubber, vinyl, and glass
- Good foaming action
- pH neutral for use on wax and sealants
- Easy to use
- Scent dissipates quickly
- Requires a cleaning mitt for a more thorough clean
The versatility of the Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam Car Wash Soap drew us in because you can use it with a foam cannon, foam gun, or a traditional bucket. It does a great job of foaming and generates generous lubrication if you use a wash mitt. The foam removes dirt and other contaminants with intense foaming action. The formula is also safe to use on a variety of surfaces in addition to the paint, such as glass, plastic, rubber, and vinyl.
It's designed for passenger cars, trucks, SUVs, and off-road vehicles, and it’s pH neutral, so it won't adversely affect sealants or waxes on your finish. To use the product, simply use one capful of the formula with five gallons of water. The Honeydew scent is pleasant, and you can use this car wash on a weekly basis without a problem. However, the scent dissipates once you spray it on your vehicle. Also, you will still need to use a cleaning mitt to remove some of the dust and dirt off your paint.
- Brand: Chemical Guys
- Size: Several options available
- Surface compatibility: Paint, clear coat, glass, metal, rubber, plastic, and vinyl
- Excellent sudsing action
- Rinses off nicely
- pH neutral
- Scent may be too strong for some users
- Suds may not be quite as thick as some rival products
There's a reason why Chemical Guys products appear several times on our list: the company's products are just that good. Its Mr. Pink Super Suds Maintenance Shampoo is available in several sizes: 4 ounces, 16 ounces, 64 ounces, and one gallon, so you can choose the size that works best for your needs. The product is affordable and designed for weekly use, and in addition to producing a cadre of foaming bubbles, it also generates a glossy shine.
The gentle formula safely removes dirt and other contaminants and keeps the paint from sustaining swirls and catches. Since it features a pH-balanced formula, you can safely use it on the paint as well as clear coats, glass, metal, rubber, plastic, and vinyl. It provides a residue-free look and is integrated with polymers and hyper surfactants designed to remove abrasive debris, so it doesn't scratch the finish. However, the scent may be too bold for some users, and it may not produce as much suds as some competitive brands.
- Brand: Bilt Hamber
- Size: 5 liters
- Surface compatibility: paint
- Easily lifts dirt and grime off the paint
- Minimizes swirls and scratches
- Safe to use with protective coatings
- Biodegradable and non-caustic formula
- Does not produce a lot of suds
- Surface area must be cool
While this UK import is a little on the pricey side, Bilt Hamber’s Snow Foam Car Wash Soap’s worth every penny. It provides superior cleaning power and does a great job of pulling dirt and grime off of your vehicle's paint. What sets it apart from some of the other products on this list is that it doesn’t foam very much yet still lifts dust and dirt off the finish. With a pH of about 13, this Auto-Foam is an excellent, water-based pre-wash that reduces the risk of swirls or scratches on your paint job. It's designed for use in a foam cannon/gun and requires a 25 to 1 dilution.
During application, let it sit and saturate the paintwork for five minutes before rinsing. This will allow the formula to neutralize any contaminants and lift them off the surface area. It's safe for use with sealants and waxes and won't strip away any protective coatings. The formula features biodegradable and non-caustic elements that successfully remove dirt and debris yet won't harm paint. However, for best results, you should apply the formula on a cool surface.
- Brand: Meguiar's
- Size: 1 gallon
- Surface compatibility: Safe to use on all vehicle surfaces
- Biodegradable formula
- Can be used in direct sunlight
- Won’t strip wax
- Suds don’t last very long
- May require extra formula in a foam cannon
Meguiar’s Hyper-Wash Foaming Car Wash is a great product if you're looking for an eco-friendly option that is safe to use at home or in a body shop. Overall, it has good cleaning power, lubricity, suds, and water softening agents. It's designed to remove dirt and grime and features a 400 to 1 dilution rate, meaning it’s a cost-effective formula that will last a long time and won’t strip off your paintwork’s existing wax.
It also produces a deep, glossy shine and produces a thick foam that washes off contaminants. Unlike some other products, it's fine to use in direct sunlight. It doesn't leave behind any residue, and the suds last long enough to effectively do its job. Overall, it's a great soap for the price, and a little bit goes a long way. Unfortunately, the suds don't last as long as some competing brands. Also, you may require more formula than is instructed when using it in a foam cannon.
Best Shampoo and ConditionerMeguiar's Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo & ConditionerCheck Latest Price
- Brand: Mequiar’s
- Size: 64 ounces
- Both a shampoo and a conditioner
- Good foaming action
- Long-lasting formula
- Pleasing scent
- May require a lot of water for rinsing
- Foam may be more runny compared to other brands
The Meguiar's Gold Class Car Wash Shampoo and Conditioner is somewhat unique in that it cleans and conditions your vehicle's paint in a single step. Its gentle foaming action removes dirt, grime, and other contaminants, and it won't strip any existing wax off your car or truck. The product's conditioning agents lift dirt off the surface, producing shiny results.
This biodegradable formula features ultra-rich conditioners, bringing out the paint's inner beauty. You can use this car wash with a bucket or a foam cannon; simply dilute it 5 to 1. The formula lasts a long time, and it has a good scent. One downside is that it may require a little more water than average to rinse all the soap off. Also, the foam may run a little more in a foam cannon compared to some other brands.
- Brand: Sun Joe
- Size: 1 gallon
- Surface compatibility: Metal surfaces
- Great scent options
- Strong cleaning ability
- Safe to use with wax and sealants
- Minimal streaking
- Instructions are vague
- May require manual scrubbing
If you're the type of person who likes a pleasing aroma when you're cleaning your vehicle, Sun Joe's Premium Snow Foam is an excellent car wash soap as it's available in either orange-vanilla or coconut scents. Plus, it has great cleaning power and doesn't produce any spots and creates an attractive shine on your car or truck. The concentrated formula is biodegradable and safe to use on all metal surfaces. It lifts away dirt and grime and will not adversely affect protective coatings, such as wax and sealants.
Very little goes a long way, it rinses off well, and produces minimal streaking. It works best with a foam cannon and does a good job of removing tree sap, bird droppings, and other contaminants if you let the soap sit for a while on the surface area. One downside is the instructions are not particularly clear. Also, it can require some manual scrubbing if your vehicle is particularly dirty or muddy, but that’s not uncommon with this type of product.
- Brand: Chemical Guys
- Size: 16 ounces
- Produces a high-gloss shine
- Works on a variety of colors
- Streak-free results
- Thick suds
- Bottle may leak if not properly stored
- Formula separates if stored too long
If you're seeking high-gloss results, the Chemical Guys Citrus Wash & Gloss Concentrated Auto Shampoo should fulfill your needs. The hyper-concentrated cleanser features gloss-enhancing elements designed to make your vehicle's finish shine, regardless of the color. In some cases, after use your car or truck will look like it was newly waxed. The formula removes dirt and other contaminants and produces streak-free results.
The thick suds produced by a foam cannon minimize scratches and swirl marks, even if you have hard water. It's also a favored product among off-road users, and the citrus scent smells good. Unfortunately, the container isn't the best quality and may spring a leak if improperly stored. Also, the formula may separate in the bottle if it's stored for too long, so you have to shake it up before use.
- Brand: Adam’s Polishes
- Size: 128 ounces
- Compatible surfaces: paint, plastic, and rubber
- Produces thick suds
- Won’t strip away wax or sealants
- Can be used in direct sunlight
- Made in America
- May not last as long as some rival brands
Adam's Ultra Foam Shampoo is specially designed for foam cannons and produces thick, lubricating suds. The chemically advanced formula minimizes scratches with its deep foaming action and effectively removes dirt and debris from your vehicle's surface areas. While tough on contaminants, it's also gentle to use on plastic trim, rubber, and other car components. The formula will not strip away wax or sealants due to its pH-neutral make-up.
In addition, it produces a nice shine as well as a thin layer of protection against environmental aggravators. You can wash your vehicle in direct sunlight with this product, which combats any damaging mineral content you may have in your tap water. It's also lubricating and safe to use on clear coats. The product is made in the United States, and the company backs it up with a 110 percent satisfaction guarantee. Unfortunately, it's a little pricey, and you may wind up using a lot of the product if you set your foam cannon on the highest setting.
Our Verdict on the Best Foam Cannon Soaps
Our top pick is the Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow Foam Car Wash Soap, which can be used on a variety of surface areas and is pH neutral, so it won't harm any protective coatings, such as wax or sealants. If you're looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider the Mr. Pink Super Suds Maintenance Shampoo.
What to Consider When Buying Foam Cannon Soap
When choosing a foam cannon soap, it's inadvisable to use products that aren't specifically designed or safe to use with the device. So, first, make sure the cleanser is compatible with a foam cannon. Also, check to see that it is pH neutral and generates enough cleaning power to remove dirt and debris from your vehicle.
Foam Cannon Soap Key Features
High in Concentration
Soap for foam cannons comes in a variety of different configurations. Some formulas are concentrated, so you have to dilute them with water, while others you can use straight from the bottle. Make sure to read the instructions carefully to determine whether you have to mix the formula with H2O or use it as is. Foam cannons can use a lot of formula to produce thick, sudsy foam, so take that into consideration when choosing a product. Look for brands in which a little goes a long way, so you spend less money.
pH Balanced Formula
The pH of a product indicates its acidic or alkaline content. An item with a pH of 0 is entirely acidic, while one that is 14 is entirely alkaline. The sweet spot for car cleansers is 7, making it pH neutral. That means it will not harm any protective coatings on your vehicle, such as wax or sealant. In addition, it won't damage other parts of your vehicle, such as the plastic trim. pH neutral products are designed so your paint won't peel or fade. Most foam cannon soaps are pH neutral, but it's a good idea to check the specs just in case before making a purchase.
Some foam cannon soaps are better at cleaning your vehicle than others. Some produce thicker, more luscious foam, which helps lubricate the paint and prevent streaks, swirl marks, and scratches from occurring. However, some pre-wash products produce little foaming action but still do a great job of preparing your vehicle for a thorough cleaning. The best way to see if a product cleans effectively and produces the right amount of suds is to look at user feedback.
Foam Cannon Soap Pricing
The cost of foam cannon soaps varies widely, mostly depending on the size of the bottles. Obviously, smaller containers that are 4 or 16 ounces are going to be cheaper than most 1-gallon options. You can get a foam cannon soap for less than $10, but it will not last nearly as long as, say, a concentrated, 128-ounce option. Some higher-end car washes can cost $50 or more, but you will be able to wash your vehicle multiple times before running out. Smaller bottles are a good way to check to see if the product meets your expectations, and you don't have to invest too much to see if it suits your needs.
Tips and Tricks
As with something you do for decades upon decades, you pick up a few tips and tricks along the way in terms of selecting the right product, and/or using it. That’s the case with us and the best foam cannon soaps. To help you bridge the information gap, here’s a selection of what we’ve learned along the way.
- Before activating the foam cannon, rinse your vehicle thoroughly and remove any large chunks of grime.
- For the best results, make sure to use a high-quality pressure washer with your foam cannon. Both gas and electric washers have their pros and cons, so do your research in advance.
- If possible, use warm water because it will facilitate thicker foam and suds.
- To avoid calcium deposits, thoroughly rinse the foam cannon with clean water after you use it.
You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers!
Q: What PSI is good for foam cannon?
A: That depends on the type of pressure washer you are using. Consult the operating manual to see what PSI works best for your needs.
Q: How do you get thick foam from a foam cannon?
A: First, make sure you have a good pressure washer, nozzle, and soap. Also, check that the power of the machine matches the foam cannon. In addition, warm water aerates the soap and mixture to produce thicker suds.
Q: Can I use dish soap in a foam cannon?
A: Dish soap can remove protective coatings, such as wax and sealant, so it's a good idea to use soap specially formulated for vehicles for the best results.