Why You Should Always Pick the Active Foam at Self-Service Car Washes

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Whenever I’m washing a car at a self-service car wash station, I first check if there’s an option called active foam (snow foam).

Of course, not all self-service car wash stations have this option, but luckily, I see more and more of them investing in new equipment and offering snow foam as an option as well.

Key Takeaways:

  • The active foam helps you clean your car without touching the paint.
  • It removes stubborn dirt with ease.
  • It does cost slightly more to wash your car.
  • Helps in preventing scratches on the car paint.

Regular Car Wash Process Doesn’t Do a Thing

A typical self-service car wash station process goes like this:

  • Spray your car with wheel and bug cleaner
  • Wash the car with a soap option
  • Rinse the car

And that’s it (sometimes you have an option to use a brush or even apply wax to your car). However, you won’t get good results by doing that. Trust me, I’ve tried it multiple times, and the car is always dirty after washing it.

That’s one of the reasons why I wrote an ultimate guide on how to wash a car at a self-service car wash, which I highly recommend checking out if you’re visiting car washes very often.

Active Foam Works Wonders Against Dirt

active foam on audi q7
Purple snow foam on my father-in-law’s Audi Q7

Active foam, or as most auto detailers call it, snow foam, acts as a pre-wash solution that you apply to the vehicle. Let it dwell for a few minutes, and it’ll loosen all the stuck dirt, dust, bugs, and other contaminants on the paint.

Yes, the whole wash will cost you a few bucks more, but the final result will be 10x better when compared to using only basic car wash options.

Here’s my process when I’m in a rush:

  1. Spray wheel cleaning solution on the wheels.
  2. Pre-wash the car with a snow foam (active foam) and let it sit for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Wash the whole car with the soap option (which also includes warm water, which helps remove the dirt quicker).
  4. Rinse the car and dry it with a microfiber cloth.

When I’m not in a rush, I still follow my typical process for washing the car at the self-service station (I shared the link above), which also includes bringing my own soap, wash mitt, buckets, and some other staff to get the most out of washing my car there.

Some Will Say It’s Just a Marketing Trick

Generally, it’s pretty busy on car wash stations that have the active foam option.

The reason is that people find it appealing when using snow foam on their cars, especially if it is colored snow foam (like in the image above).

While it’s a great marketing trick to attract more customers, it actually helps a lot, and I’m sure that once you try it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

And yeah, that above is a promo for a product, but you get the point. Who wouldn’t want to take a picture while washing their vehicle?

But again, if you care about your car and don’t have enough time to detail your car yourself, I highly suggest using snow foams on self-service car washes.

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