Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

The last post I wrote focused on kicking off of my adventure into detailing and a few things that I have learned to do, and more so what not to do. I recently attended a Saturday morning detailing course at Car Care Products in Sydney which was really good. For $40 they spend a whole morning running through aspects of detailing. If you are at all interested in doing detailing correctly then I’d recommend this course to you.
Most of what they covered in the course I did have some awareness of but it was good to actually get hands on with doing some pain correcting and polishing using a machine polisher. That’s given me confidence to go and invest in one soon.
However, what you firstly learn is that the best way to wash a car is not to touch it, because no matter how careful you are, touching a car with anything can scratch it. So the first option is to use something known as ‘snow foam’ to coat the car and them let it dissolve the grim just like in this video:

The idea is to coat the car in foam, then leave it on for 10 – 15 minutes and then rinse off. Thus, if you have good paint protection on the car already you’ll have a clean car without touching it.
Of course, it would rare that you’ll get off all the grim using this method but it certainly makes a great pre-wash. However, the downside is that you need to purchase a bit of equipment to do this.
Now, the first bit of equipment you’ll need is a pressure washer. It would seem to me after my limited research that something like the Karcher K 2.180 would do the job.

It is small, cheap (about $130) and doesn’t have too much power. You need to be careful using too much pressure on paintwork as it can damage it. I need to some more research on the best pressure washer for a car but the good thing is that there are plenty around and they aren’t too expensive.
Next you’ll need a foam lance.

You basically fit to the end of you pressure washer and partially fill the bottle with detergent. The lance allows you to adjust the foam spray and coat the car as shown in the video.
Now an Autobrite Snow Foam Lance from Car Car Products is about $120. You need to make sure you get the right one for your pressure washer.
The final thing you’ll need is the snow foam itself that you’ll coat the car with. Unfortunately, like most actually cleaning products there is huge variety to choose from, however a typical one is Mint Snow Foam for about $15.
Unfortunately, I don’t really have a location on which I could use a pressure washer on the F355 so I think I’ll have to give this option a miss for the time being. I might still look at getting one down the track to see whether it does make things easier and to get some experience but for now I’ll have to give the snow foam step a miss in my situation.
However, this dive into cleaning products raises a good question. How can I measure how well a product works? How do I know the more expensive ‘name’ brand cleaner is doing a better job than a cheaper alternative? If it is better, how can I tell how much better? It would be really nice to have some scientific measure that I could apply when testing these products to give some true indication of how well they actually do their job.
This question about measuring how well products clean a car is going to come up more and more as I progress through all the different detailing stages. As such, I’m trying to work out some way of achieving this and lending some sort of measure again which products can be compared. If you have any ideas on how I can measure this I’d love to hear.
So, there you have it. First stage in cleaning your is to give it a pre-wash using snow foam.

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