How To Clean Headlights: Know Professional’s Cleaning Idea

Any vehicle headlight catches dirt, grim, or moisture over time, ultimately making the light gloomy during nighttime driving. Therefore, we need to make the headlight crystal clear by cleaning it. But can you tell us how to clean headlights that have become dirty or full of fog?

An easy fix for moisture or particles inside can be a headlight restoration kit or headlight lens restoration. Alternatively, toothpaste and baking soda methods, vinegar and baking soda, wd40, and polishing solutions like Rain-X can clean any dirt or moisture from the car headlight.

If you’ve noticed headlights not flashing enough brightness on roadsides, learn from this article how to utilize such ideas to ensure new-looking headlights. So, let’s get some magical tips below!

How Does Cars Headlight Become Dirty Or Foggy?

foggy headlights inside or outside

Dirty or foggy headlights inside or outside are a common problem every driver encounters. Generally, the vehicle’s age, dirt, or UV ray damage can make the headlight lenses dirty or foggy, which may result in less or dim illumination in the street. But why and how does it happen?

  • The direct bulb heat, continuous exposure to UV, toxic chemicals, and dirt frequently enter the headlight, making it worn out, scratched, or discolored over time.
  • Headlights become yellow as the polycarbonate lenses in modern cars are exposed to the air.
  • When confronted with ultraviolet (UV) rays, lenses develop minute fractures that cause cloudiness.
  • Your car has a watertight seal, but it may break, and condensation lets the water get into the headlights.

What To See When Cleaning Headlights?

Whenever you decide to clean the headlights, ensure you take the initial preparation first. So, if you find the headlights are hazy or dim, remember to follow the given advice to begin cleaning method.

  • Check for fog or haziness, which may appear if the headlamp’s soft polycarbonate is exposed and the hard coat becomes worn out.
  • If the hard coat breaks down or loses adherence to the polycarbonate lens, you’ll see a yellowish color. It happens as the UV wavelength spectrum generates a new repetitive unit in the carbonic chain that absorbs blue light.
  • Verify the lens for deterioration, peeling, or severe cracks.
  • Keep tapes beside you to tape off the headlights if necessary, and then you’ll go further by following the tips we have in this article.

How To Clean Headlights: Some Magical Tips And Tricks

how to clean car headlights

We have a couple of ideas for you to clean dirty headlight lenses at home! But before that, we should always check the owner’s manual first to follow the instructions for vehicle headlight cleaning. If you need clarification, search cleaning headlights on YouTube for easy steps videos. Also, our guidelines will teach you how to care for your headlight.

Toothpaste And Baking Soda Method

According to professionals, the finest effective DIY home solution combines baking soda and toothpaste for cleaning headlights. Whether you own a Ford, Mazda, BMW, or any other car, this approach will ensure a clean headlamp by removing the haze or dimness. However, the following steps will restore the headlight like it used to be.

how to clean car headlights with toothpaste
  • Step 1: Use glass cleaner or soapy water to thoroughly polish the headlights.
  • Step 2: Get a microfiber cloth or soft car sponge to remove dust and any other particles.
  • Step 3: Dry your car headlamps with a soft towel or rag.
  • Step 4: Use strips of vehicle masking or painter tape over the paint at each light’s top, bottom, and sides.
  • Step 5: Now, get the toothpaste and squeeze some toothpaste on the tip of your finger to wipe it off with a cloth.
  • Step 6: Polish the surface properly by taking the help of a cloth and scrubbing in a circular motion to get rid of any dirt accumulation. You can use a toothbrush with firm bristles to remove the dirtiest stains.
  • Step 7: Now rinse the headlamp well.
  • Step 8: Now, seal it with a UV-resistant sealer and let it rest for 10 to 45 minutes in sunlight.

Wash And Sand With Compound

There is a controversy regarding the sand and wash method, as using abrasive materials such as sandpaper or steel wool may damage or scratch the headlight. However, a car with oxidized hazy headlights with low light production can be fixed with the wash and sand with the compound method. Employing this idea will require nothing but following the steps below.

  • Step 1: Get standard vehicle soap or soapy water to wash the headlight’s dirt and grime accumulation, particularly on the corner side.
  • Step 2: RINSE properly with clean water and air dry for the next step.
  • Step 3: Now, masking protects the area surrounding the lens from paint scratches.
  • Step 4: Wet the sandpaper sheets before starting with the appropriate grit.
  • Step 5: Scrub your headlights horizontally for eight to ten minutes.
  • Step 6: Now, ensure you are working over the lens surface with a circular motion. And two fingers will help you to apply the main thing.
  • Step 7: For rubbing compounds with sandpaper, 3000 to 3500 grit will be ideal.
  • Step 8: Start with 1500 grit and work with 2500 grit for yellow or dull light. And minor scratches or damages require 1000 grit paper.

White Vinegar And Baking Soda

Sometimes you don’t prefer toothpaste to clean the headlight as it may give an unsatisfied result. But it’s a myth! In actuality, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda is another powerful way to remove any corner dirt or inside particles of the headlight. 

Such household items clean the headlamp for nighttime driving like magic! Additionally, we advise using this DIY technique because it’s a budget and environment-friendly idea for any automobile owner who gets into trouble while driving because of fog inside the light. Hence, the following steps may guide you on cleaning headlights with baking soda and white vinegar for a clean headlight.

  • Step 1: First, Start washing the car with soapy water.
  • Step 2: Allow the car to air or dry in the sun.
  • Step 3: Take a clean container and combine one part baking soda with two parts undiluted vinegar.
  • Step 4: Stir the mixture or cover and shake the container.
  • Step 5: After dipping a fresh cloth or rag, start rubbing the vinegar and baking soda mixture on the entire headlight area.
  • Step 6: Rinse with water when finished rubbing.
  • Step 7: Remember that adding the white vinegar will cause bubbling, just like a chemical experiment. So, combine it into a wet paste and rub properly.

Use Magic Eraser To Clean Headlights

Do you have a cloudy car headlight? If so, the abrasive magic eraser cleans and removes all the dirt from the headlight. It’s also considered sandpaper. However, there is a risk of scratching or damaging the light’s plastic, which may lessen the brightness of your headlamp.

Besides that, the cleaning eraser can remove the yellow color that accumulates with time. So, leave the negativity behind and try the magic eraser to moderately clean the car’s light by following our given advice, such as:

  • Step 1: Draw a masking tape outline around the headlight to secure the vehicle paint.
  • Step 2: To start the magic eraser, dip it in water until it dampens but is not soaked.
  • Step 3: Polish your headlight with the eraser but be careful not to rub it in the paint. For this, we recommend a professional hand.
  • Step 4: Continue rubbing for 5 to 10 minutes and then rewet and squeeze to keep it from drying.
  • Step 5: End your process by gently patting it dry with a paper cloth.
  • Step 6: Check the inside to see any leftover messes and clean them immediately.

How To Clean Headlights With Wd40

Any headlamp inefficiency, dull glance, fog, or interior dirt can be easily removed with an item like WD-40. Just spray thoroughly into the headlamp and watch the magic! But how do you ensure the headlight restoration with such a solution? Check the given ideas!

  • Step 1: Use a microfiber cloth and WD-40 to the headlight to remove the fog or particles. But avoid using WD-40 directly on the headlight. Rather, apply it to the cloth.
  • Step 2: Do the procedure circularly to prevent severe scratches near the headlight region.
  • Step 3: Use a sponge and soapy water to remove excessive WD-40.
  • Step 4: Automobile wax can be a game changer to cover as a layer to extend the headlight’s lifespan to remain clean.
  • Step 5: Spray the WD-40 solution and leave them to dry for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Step 6: Get a clean, soft loofah and scrub the headlight in a GENTLE way.
  • Step 7: Finally, use a fresh cloth to wipe the headlight’s specks of dirt.

Use Polishing Solutions To Clean

headlight polish

After a certain period, oxidized headlights are seen in many vehicles. Polishing or light-grade rubbing compound is there to remove the fogginess or oxidized lights in your car, but any lens that has a slightly foggy headlight assembly can be fixed properly.

On the other hand, noticing any yellowish light can also be cleaned. We suggest Rain-X or any polishing compound like ALuminum polishing compounds remove the scratches or dirt. But isn’t this good to have a step-by-step process? Let’s find out!

  • Step 1: Thoroughly wash your headlamp with cool and clean water before drying.
  • Step 2: Use a quarter-sized cleaning compound glop with a clean towel.
  • Step 3: Make it wet from one corner of your flannel cloth into the polishing item.
  • Step 4: Polish continuously in a circular motion in the tiny square, and remember to use elbow grease.
  • Step 5: While cleaning, only five minutes will be enough to wipe away all the dirt or fog inside the headlamp.

Alternatively, people often use car wax to restore the headlight shine. Then we noticed rubbing alcohol, dryer sheets, aluminum foil, steel wool, window cleaner, or sometimes squeezing lemon juice to clean the headlight dirt.

6 Additional Tips For Keeping Clean Headlights

As a car owner, you must ensure the headlights have enough brightness. But if the light is not working the same during nighttime, our DIY solutions will clean the highlights to the next level by crystal-clearing the lights. Besides that, you can follow some tips to keep it clean all the time.

cheap way to clean headlights
  1. Take the car for parking in a garage or under any shade location rather than under direct sunlight.
  2. Always tape off the area around the headlights just before cleaning.
  3. UV protectant is a lifesaver as a coat of lens.
  4. Let the protectants take some time to dry and settle.
  5. It’s always suggested to have a cleaning kit, soft bristles brush, old rags or towels, light cleanser, and latex gloves for sensitive type of skin.
  6. Also, the professional’s pick is applying a headlight restorer.

How Frequently Should The Headlights Be Cleaned?

Headlight brightness at the ideal level is crucial on a ride at night or in a dark location! So, every three to six months is the ideal time to clean the headlights to prevent less visibility and obstruct oncoming traffic.


1. How do you clean cloudy headlights?

Use toothpaste and baking soda or vinegar and baking soda to remove any debris or fog without harming the headlamps. Since they are sufficiently abrasive, such combinations can wash away any moisture or particles. As an alternative, Rain-X can do better at repairing UV damage.

2. How to clean car headlights with toothpaste?

You can use toothpaste to clean your car’s headlights by following these procedures:
1. Squeeze a bunch of toothpaste.
2. Apply toothpaste to the headlamp and scrub or rub it all over the headlight area.
3. Wipe off with paper towels.
4. Then use water to rinse any leftover items.
5. Finally, wipe it one more time.

3. Can WD-40 clean headlights?

Yes, WD-40 is the best solution to clean any fog or dirt in your car. Apply a moderate layer of WD-40 to clean the yellowish look or fog from the headlights. And let it stay for 5 to 10 minutes, and wipe it with soapy water and a sponge.

4. What liquid is used to clean headlights?

Using toothpaste and baking soda or vinegar with baking soda works as a cleanser of moisture headlights. Besides that, polishing compounds or car shampoo works well.

5. What is a natural cleaner for car headlights?

The best natural and DIY idea combines baking soda with vinegar to remove grease, debris, and hazy or oxidized headlights. Alternatively, soap and water can clean up headlights fogs.

Brief Discussion On Cleaning Car Headlights

If we summarize the whole article, we can decide how to clean headlights. This article has uncovered some magical homemade car headlight cleaning tips. Particularly, we highly advise toothpaste and baking soda, vinegar with baking soda, or WD-40 as the best tips to remove any unpolishable dirt, scratches, or fog inside the headlight.

Additionally, we gathered some effective tips to keep the headlight clean all the time with a bright light. Bear in mind to clean the car’s headlight every 3 to 6 months for a safe ride during the nighttime drive.

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