Using a foam lance is not only fun, but it is an additional step that can be taken towards safely maintaining your paint. Introducing a foam lance into your wash process allows you to remove even more dirt and grime from your paint before you actually touch it with your wash mitt.
In Todd’s Article: How to Properly Wash and Dry a Car, he covers the 3 bucket washing method with grit guard inserts (1 bucket for wheels and tires and 2 buckets for washing your paint). This method is a fantastic way to safely wash your vehicle while greatly reducing the chances of introducing wash induced swirls or marring. Wash induced damage occurs when dirt particles are introduced into your wash water and are then rubbed on your paint as you are washing. The two bucket method works to reduce contamination in your wash solution by ensuring that the majority of the dirt particles are left in your rinse bucket and are not transferred back into your wash solution. A foam lance can be implemented after your initial rinse, but before you begin washing with your wash mitt, to help remove heavier contamination from the vehicle’s surface before you even touch the paint, therefore reducing the chance of contaminating your wash water during your wash process.
Washing Process when Utilizing a Foam Lance
- Wash Wheels and Tires using a dedicated wheel bucket and wheel cleaning tools.
- Rinse the entire vehicle to remove loose dirt and debris from the surface.
- Cover the vehicle in foam. Begin with the horizontal surfaces, starting at the highest point (i.e. the roof), and then proceed to the sides of the vehicle until the entire exterior has been covered.
- Allow the foam to dwell for several minutes, but do not allow foam to dry! During this time, the soap is working to loosen the dirt and contamination on the surface of your vehicle. Foam will begin to slide from the surface of the vehicle as time passes. The following photo shows the foam approximately 1 minute after application. There is still a thick layer of foam clinging to the vehicle.
The photo below shows the vehicle approximately 3 minutes after application. After several more minutes, the bulk of the foam will have slid from the surface, carrying dirt and debris with it.
- Rinse the remaining foam from the vehicle, again starting at the highest horizontal surface and then work around the vehicle until all of the foam has been rinsed away.
- Steps 3-4 may be repeated at this time if there is remaining solution in your foam lance.
- Proceed with the standard two bucket wash process to remove the remaining light dirt from the surface.
- Carefully Dry The Vehicle using Waffle Weave Drying Towels or a blower like the Metro Vac N’ Blo.
- Admire your clean vehicle!
While I do not use a foam lance for every wash, I find it particularly useful when my vehicle is heavily soiled or when I want to use it with a product like Chemical Guys Citrus Wash to help remove any existing sealant or wax prior to polishing.
Hopefully you will find your foam lance to be a fun and effective tool in your detailing arsenal!
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