Foam cannon vs. hand wash – which one is better?

 Due to constant use your car will develop grime and dirt giving it a dull look. Your car is a reflection of who you are and you need to take extra care that you use the right equipment during cleaning.

There several ways to get your car clean. One is taking it to an automatic cleaning service, where you drive it through a set of rollers and the car comes out clean and dry. The other is doing it yourself. You can either use the traditional hand wash method, where you fill a bucket with soapy water and use a sponge to clean your car or you can try out foam cannons.

Hand wash

Using a bucket, soap and sponge has been the main way through which car owners wash their cars. It requires little investment and you can use your garden hose for rinsing. Many people find this method relatively easy and cheap to use – no fancy soaps or gadgets. However, it is not always the best way to clean your car.

Firstly, dirt consists of small rocky particles. When you are cleaning your car through circular motions, these particles grind through the car’s exterior surfaces causing swirls. Now swirls are bad for your car paint. The use of old rags contributes to some of the scratches you see on your car. Most of the people engaged in hand washing also suffer from using the wrong detergents. These detergents give your car a dull look as they are not designed for car washes. Let’s not forget how time consuming it is too apply soap on a large truck. You also end up wasting a lot of water which ends up contaminating the ecosystem.

Foam cannon

This is the new fad when it comes to car cleaning. Foam cannons and guns use specially formulated studs that cling to the dirt and help in removing it without necessarily causing scratches. Unlike the hand wash where you apply soap on a sponge in the case of the foam cannon it is sprayed under pressure to the car’s surface. This enables you to work on larger surface areas.

Before you get into cleaning your car with studs, you may want to know the difference between a foam gun and cannon. Both these devices are used for creating thick studs but they operate differently. The foam gun is a relatively easy to use device that does not use a pressure washer like the cannon. This enables it to produce some thin studs. You can connect the foam gun to your garden hose.

Foam cannons are specially designed for pressure washers. They come with special attachments that enable them to maximize the wash coverage. Most of the cannons deliver more than 2 gallons per minute. They are super fast and efficient.

Once you have chosen a foam cannon the next step is to select the right foam soap. Some of the foams can be used for both bucket wash and cannon.

How to use foam cannon

The first thing you will do is to attach your foam cannon to your pressure washer. There is a list of instructions on how to mix the ingredients for your cannon. Most of the products in the market are highly concentrated meaning you just need a capful of the solution for a large quantity of water. Depending on the foam soap you are using you may need to do the washing under a shade. Direct sunlight may dry up your studs before you have time to clean them off.

Rinse your car off lose dirt

Dirt is the enemy for your paint. As you know dirt contains small rocky particles which when exposed to the car surface causes scratches. It is for this reason that many people prefer using foam cannon as opposed to hand wash. Rinsing your car removes any lose dirt.

Spray a little foam

Before you can start cleaning a really muddy car you may need to spray foam twice for maximum effect. First apply the first coat of studs then rinse off. This helps remove some of the loose dirt. You can let the studs chill for around 30 seconds before rinsing.

Cleaning the car with mit and foam soap

The second application is more intense. Spray the entire surface of your car with the foam soap. You can start with one side like the roof then proceed to the bonnet or trunk then to the sides and underneath the car. As you spray the car you can use a soapy mit to remove some of the dirt off the car. You can use a bucket for this. Use the mit until you have removed all dirt from the car. The foam soap contains millions of special molecules that break down the dirt hence making it easy to remove.

Final rinse

Now is the time to give your car a good rinse with clean water. This washes off the muddy studs leaving your car super clean. Most of the foam soaps come with active compounds that leave your car with a glossy look.

Tips when choosing foam cannon


This is one of the most components for the foam cannon. If you want your foam cannon to last longer then go for those made of brass nozzles. This ones are not susceptible to cracks like the plastic ones. They also increase the foam output and are great for those considering professional car washing services. However, if you are just looking for something to use at home then it does not make sense to go with the more expensive heavy duty brass nozzles.

Paint safety

The reason many people will go with the foam guns and cannons is that they help protect your paint from scratches common with hand washes. Some foam soaps offer more protection against the wax sealant and protect your plastic and vinyl surfaces. You can also go for the scented foams soaps that not only make your car clean but they smell great as well.

When cleaning your car it is imperative that you do the cleaning when the weather is clear. When there is lots of sunshine your car will dry faster. However, some people will prefer doing their car washing in the shade then using dryers to dry off excess water. Using foam cannons is fun as such there is no specific guideline as to how you should do it. The best foam soaps are those that do not interact with your car paint or leave water spots.


We all love a clean car. It is a direct reflection of who we are. For many years the main way to have your car clean was with a bucket of soapy water. While this is cheap and does not require any complex equipment it comes with the downside of filling your car with scratches. The loose dirt on your car often consists of small rocky particles. These grind against the car’s surface hence causing scratches. Foam cannons are a good alternative to hand washes. These use a pressure washer to deliver thick studs across the car’s surface. You can then use a sponge to clean off the dirt before giving your car a good rinse. You will always find an affordable foam cannon around your store.

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