If you own or manage a truck fleet – you want your trucks to stay clean. A well maintained fleet will enhance your brand’s reputation and prolong the life expectancy of your vehicles. 

One of the biggest misconceptions in the consumer cleaning product industry is how much a soap foams will predict the cleaning potential it provides.

There are certain cleaning applications that can be enhanced with a higher foaming detergent.  In some instances, foaming soaps can help reduce some detergent & water consumption due to thicker coverage.  Foaming soaps can also help certain raw materials dwell longer which otherwise may not adhere to a dirty surface.

It is also true that Hydro-Chem Systems does manufacture a small percentage of higher foaming detergents.  But in this blog we’ll focus on fleet washing and explain why foaming isn’t always practical.

How to Foam Soaps

Foam is what helps move the suds around a large surface area, whether it’s car washing or fleet washing. Foam increases dwell time and breaks down heavy debris.

Many soaps are manufactured with specialized raw materials that can create more foam. There are also additives that can be added into your current soap to create the foamier appearance during application.

When exploring a foaming wash process, the customer should also invest in specialized foaming equipment.  These include but are not limited to:

  • Foam Cannons
  • Foaming injectors
  • Foaming nozzles

Why Not to Foam

One of the largest problems with foam is time. The time it takes to apply a foaming product, the time it takes to rinse a foaming product, and the time it takes to drain a foaming product in a wash bay or reclamation system.

Another problem with foam in touchless cleaning applications is that the foaming soap creates a barrier between the vehicle surface and your high pressure wash.  We often use the phrase “impingement” to describe the impact force created as soap and/or water contacts a surface.

When foaming soaps you are diminishing impingement which is a crucial touchless cleaning factor, meaning the surface likely will not clean as well without friction.  Friction on a vehicle surface can cause micro-abrasions and damage to painted surfaces and vehicle wraps.


More Efficient Alternative

Hydro-Chem Systems 2-step cleaning solutions provide the highest quality efficient results in a more touchless & brushless cleaning application in comparison to foaming applications and friction washing.

By applying a low pH pre-soak to prep the vehicle surface followed by a high pH alkaline soap you are neutralizing the static electric bond of the vehicle allowing your high pressure rinse to remove the road film with little or no brushing.

Many of Hydro-Chem Systems’ 2-step detergents have a very low to moderate foaming profile allowing you to penetrate through road film on the vehicle surface and break the bond.  The lower amount of foam also reduces time spent rinsing and soap residue left behind from your wash.

Repeat wash cycles using a 2-step cleaning process and improving cleaning factors allows the consumer to lower the overall cost per wash without sacrificing results. 

What to Consider for a Thorough Fleet Wash

The aesthetics of your fleet’s appearance and brand image should be a bigger priority than the color, smell, or amount of foam from your soap.

Making sure your fleet is dust, grime, and rust-free will improve the life expectancy of your vehicles and save you money in the long run.

Here are things that you should prioritize before foam:

  • Do you have the proper equipment needed to efficiently clean your fleet?
  • Do you use a low pH pre-soak to neutralize salt, brighten surfaces, and prevent oxidation?
  • Are your detergents safe for the surfaces of your fleet?
  • How is your water quality and temperature affecting your wash?
  • Are you cleaning all surfaces of your fleet, including the undercarriage, engine bays, or trailer washouts?

The Ultimate Fleet Washing Solution

Use the right detergents combined with a high-quality wash system to maximize soap pressure, increase the speed of application and rinsing, while understanding the science of how cleaning factors affect performance.

Time is money and labor is at a premium.  The ability to clean your fleet quickly and effectively is invaluable. If you’re noticing your products aren’t producing a thorough truck wash, give us a call.

Our expert advisors will assess your fleet washing needs and match you with the right HCS solution for the job.