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30-03-2024 | Frank Jansen

Review: cleaning a bike with snow foam

Snow foam, resembling snow, is popular in car detailing. Curious if it works for bikes, I tried it, finding little on YouTube.


How snow foaming works

To snow foam, you need a foam gun. There are three types:

  1. A manual hand gun, which you have to pressurize manually.
  2. A gun for a garden hose.
  3. A gun for a pressure washer.

Pressure washer controversy

Opinions on using pressure washers for bikes vary. MTB'ers and mechanics often don’t mind. GCN's YouTube channel showed they're safe, though I’d avoid bearings. Good to now: foam guns use less pressure. Available brands include Kärcher and Turtle Wax. I chose this foam gun for its reviews and price.

About snow foam

Snow foam comes in many types, including bike-specific ones. Prices range from €7.50 - €10 per liter. I used Koch Chemie Gentle Snow Foam, which needs diluting like most foams. By the way: don't use a HD cleaner reservoir; it won't create snow foam.

Snow foaming process

  • Don’t rinse the bike first to maintain foam adhesion.
  • Attach the foam gun to your HD cleaner, shake well.
  • Spray the bike with foam, adjusting the spray width.
  • Rinse with water.

Testing and findings

I tested on my dirty gravel bike. The results are in the video below.

Final verdict

The critical question is whether snow foaming offers significant benefits over traditional cleaning methods like a bucket of soapy water. To be fair, snow foaming isn't a cure-all solution. It doesn't notably reduce cleaning time either. The initial setup—mixing the foam, gathering equipment, and connecting everything—takes roughly five to ten minutes. In that span, you could nearly complete a traditional wash.

Don't expect snow foam to effortlessly eliminate stubborn stains; for that, manual scrubbing with a sponge or cloth is necessary. However, when cleaning multiple bikes simultaneously, snow foaming can be a timesaver. In summary, while snow foaming is effective, it’s not a miraculous cleaning method.

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