TFR's (Snowfoams, Citrus Pre Washes etc) and what they do 4 Since a lot of people have been purchasing pressure washers, thought the info here would be useful to folks
What is a TFR
TFR stands for traffic film removers...basically a category of detailing chemicals
- primarily used as a pre wash system before the shampoo etc
- which are used for touch less cleaning
- which are used through some kind of pressure washer foam gun / foam lance system / pump sprayer bottles
- generally ranging from high alkalinity industrial strength products to pH neutral products
- maybe foaming or non foaming types
- useful for cleaning heavy dirt and grime as well removing bugs splatter and such
- helps in softening the dirt and grime for easy removal
TFR's Type I (based on foam generated)
Generally of the following types
- foaming types (various snow foams available in the market)
- Product suggestions: Valet Pro pH neutral snowfoam, Chemical Guys Honeydew, Valet Pro Advanced Neutral snowfoam, Bilt Hamber Auto foam, Autobrite Magifoam
- non foaming / less foaming types (citrus pre washes and such which produce very less foam or almost no foam)
- Product suggestions: Valet Pro Citrus Prewash, Autofinnese Citrus Power, Dodo Juice Crudzilla, Autosmart Hazsafe XLS (alkaline), Chemical Guys Citrus Wash & Clean, Any APC (generally alkaline), ONR
TFR's Type II (based on pH)
Generally of the following types
- pH neutral (various foam / non foam types available in the market)
- Product suggestions: Valet Pro pH neutral snow foam, Valet Pro Citrus Pre wash, Chemical Guys Honeydew, Valet Pro Advanced Neutral snowfoam, Bilt Hamber Auto foam, Autobrite Magifoam
- alkaline (various foam / non foam types available in the market )
- Product suggestions:Meguiar's Hyperwash, Autosmart Hazsafe XLS (alkaline), Chemical Guys Citrus Wash & Gloss, Any APC (generally alkaline)
When and How to use TFR's
Generally, TFR's are used as pre washes and the are used through pressure pump sprayers / pressure washers. The non foaming TFR's are best used through a hand pump sprayer and foaming ones best used through a foam gun / foam lance
They help soften and encapsulate the dirt and grime on the surface and when rinsed they carry off most of the surface dirt. Since they are generally applied without the use of any wash medium, they are known as touchless washes also
If a car is relatively clean and has some protection on it, sometimes a pressure washer pre wash can be sufficient for an almost complete clean
Q: Can a TFR replace my shampoo?
A: TFR's are generally meant for a touchless pre wash and not for replacing a shampoo. Any TFR which is strong enough to clean 100% is going to be too strongly alkaline for your existing wax/sealant and quite possibly will remove it and may well stain black plastic bumpers and such.
Q: When is a TFR needed or recommended?
A: When your car is really dirty enough, to reduce the chance of marring before a shampoo wash, a gentle TFR is recommended to remove as much of the dirt and grime as possible
Q: How do i use a TFR? I have bought a snow foam but am not getting those huge quantities of foam seen in video? I bought a snow foam but can i use through a pump pressure sprayer since i dont have a pressure washer?
A: Most TFR's can be used through a pump sprayer, there may not a large quantity of foam as when used through a pressure washer and cleaning power maybe reduced a bit but will work nevertheless. For pump sprayers it is always advisable to stick to some brand of citrus pre washes for best results
Q: Can a shampoo be used as a TFR or pre wash?
A: Generally most shampoos are made for touch cleaning, that is needs a medium to carry away the dirt and hence when used as a pre wash may not be effective enough. However some products like Chemical Guys Citrus Wash and Clear can be used through a pressure washer for pre washing and at the same time can be used as a regular shampoo in varying ratios
Q: Why can i not use APC as a TFR / pre wash?
A: One can certainly use APC as a pre wash, but only thing to be aware of is that most APC's will strip wax / sealant as they are highly alkaline products
Q: What is the best TFR / citrus pre wash that can be used on regular basis?
A: Best pre wash to use on regular basis are pH neutral ones, whether foam or non foam ones