Foam cannons can make the car washing process more effective and enjoyable. The thick foam they spray onto your vehicle is easy to work with and yields impressive cleaning results. Foam cannons have multiple pieces that may overwhelm first-time users; however, it doesn’t take long to learn how to use and care for these tools. This post will share the step-by-step guide to using a foam cannon and keeping your equipment clean and maintained. Before you know it, you’ll be snowing foam all over your car!
To use a foam cannon: Ensure you have a pressure washer with a GPM of at least 1.5 and a PSI of at least 1100, mix a proper solution of soap to water in the canister, screw the canister back onto the brass connector, attach the pressure washer to your foam cannon’s connection plug, and adjust the soap control knobs accordingly.
Important: We recommend this process for a foam cannon, not a foam gun.
How do you tell the difference between the two? A foam cannon is hooked to a pressure washer, while a foam gun connects to a standard garden hose. Both products will do a routine clean, but a foam cannon offers additional power for baked-on debris and grime.
Foam Cannon Construction
Before diving into the step-by-step guide to using a foam cannon, it’s necessary to understand the tool's elements. You can divide most foam cannons into four main sections: a canister, a brass connection plug that connects to the pressure washer, the main assembly of the foam cannon, and the pressure washer handle and trigger itself.
The canister will hold a mixture of soap and water, and the brass connection piece will connect the foam cannon to your pressure washer. As water flows through the pressure washer handle, it will mix with the washing mixture to become foam that will exit through the nozzle.
Speaking of nozzles, you’ll typically find two on a foam cannon; one on top and one toward the end. The end nozzle controls the volume of foam spray. Tightening the end nozzle typically flattens the output, while loosening it provides a concentrated, central flow. The top nozzle, known as the cannon’s rotary switch, infuses air into the soapy water solution, generating foam. A loosened rotary switch will release more foam.
Now that we’ve identified the foam cannon's main components let’s learn how to use it.
Make sure you have a pressure washer with a GPM of at least 1.5 and a PSI of at least 1100
If you’re shopping for a pressure washer, confirm that you get one that produces a minimum of 1.5 GPM (gallons per minute) and 1100 PSI (pounds per square inch). These metrics ensure you’ll generate enough force to clean almost anything from your car’s exterior.
Mix a proper solution of soap to water in the canister
Read the back of the foaming soap you’re using for proper dilution instructions. Generally speaking, a dilution ratio will be 1 ounce to every gallon of water. Avoid using too much product, as it can cause improper flow through the intake house. Once you’ve filled the canister, gently shake it in a horizontal, circular motion to mix.
Screw the canister back onto the brass connector
Reattach the canister back onto the foam cannon. Don’t tighten the threads too much, as this can make it difficult to remove the canister after use.
Attach the pressure washer to your foam cannon’s connection plug
You are nearly ready to foam. Before attaching, ensure your pressure washer is turned off, then connect the pressure washer to your foam cannon’s connection plug behind the trigger with a typical screw or a quick change O-ring. Once there’s a secure connection between your foam cannon and the washer, you can turn on the pressure washer.
Adjust the soap control knobs accordingly
Foam cannons feature several knobs. One regulates the amount of soapy water siphoned through the suction tube, while another changes the spray area. Consult your owner manual for accurate information about the adjustments for your particular foam cannon. Spray the ground or the areas under your vehicle as you fine-tune your settings.
Once you’re satisfied with the cannon’s output, you can foam away! Foam cannons quickly cover your car in thick suds and reduce cleaning time. The added lubrication helps reduce swirl marks in your paint as you clean. Enjoy these benefits as you wash your vehicle.
Post-wash, follow the steps below to maintain your foam cannon properly.
Maintaining your Foam Cannon
Believe it or not, lingering soap in your foam cannon can do serious harm in the long term. As water evaporates, it leaves calcium deposits that may prevent the cannon from shooting the maximum amount of foam. In extreme cases, these deposits can clog your cannon. Follow these tips to prolong the life of your foam cannon.
Disassemble your foam cannon completely
Begin by breaking down the foam cannon as much as possible to gain access to all areas. Any area that has contact with cleaning solution or water is susceptible to damage; you must clean parts as basic as the straw. To thoroughly clean all pieces, allow them to sit in a container of all-purpose cleaner and warm water.
Rinse, rinse, rinse
You should rinse out the foam cannon after every use. Remove the canister, and rinse all soap using a hose or pressure washer. You will likely have to fill and flush the canister several times. Then, fill up the canister with water and spray the foam cannon away from the vehicle for a minute or two to cleanse the internal system of all soaps.
You will want to store your foam cannon in a secure area sheltered from the elements. Heat, moisture, and extreme cold can damage the device.
After using a foam cannon in winter, store it somewhere above freezing, such as in a heated garage or inside your home. Any water that remains inside the cannon can freeze, dislodging internal components or even cracking the tool.
Foam your car with confidence
Using a foam cannon for the first time might seem daunting, but it’s a relatively straightforward process once you understand the device’s components. Follow these steps to enjoy the benefits of washing with your foam cannon: Ensure you have a pressure washer with a GPM of at least 1.5 and a PSI of at least 1100, mix a proper solution of soap to water in the canister, screw the canister back onto the brass connector, attach the pressure washer to your foam cannon’s connection plug, and adjust the soap control knobs accordingly. Your device will last for years of easy (and fun) thorough washes with proper care. Enjoy the foam, and enjoy the ride!