How to Clean Headlights on a Car

How to Clean Headlights on a Car

Over time, headlights can accumulate dirt and grime, similar to any vehicle, so they must be regularly washed with an appropriate cleanser for optimal visibility. Headlights must be periodically cleaned using an effective detergent cleanser to maintain clear vision.

Apply a generous layer of your chosen headlight restoration cleanser – such as WD-40, vinegar, toothpaste, or baking soda – onto a clean cloth and wipe the surface of your headlight to restore it.


WD-40 can be an economical way to clear away foggy headlights. Apply generous amounts onto a clean cloth and carefully wipe over each headlight surface until all surface areas have been covered.

If the oxidation is severe, wet sanding with 1,000-grit sandpaper lubricated with water may be necessary to bring back its shine and polish in circular movements.

Care must be taken not to scratch the plastic housing of your car headlights when sanding. Instead, use a high-quality microfiber cloth to wipe away any leftover sanding residue – repeat this process if necessary – then for a permanent fix, apply a coat of clear wax sealant; this will prevent further oxidation while also sealing in moisture from outside sources and should be done every six to twelve months for optimal results.


Ganther suggests an easy, cost-effective solution when you don’t have WD-40 on hand: combined white vinegar and baking soda are an affordable, readily available household item that can work just as effectively on headlights.

Purchase a headlight restoration kit using sandpaper and cleaning products to achieve optimal results. Follow instructions closely for optimal results.

Once your headlights have been cleaned of loose dirt and grime, use a microfiber towel to dry the surface to prevent water spots. This step is critical as wet lenses deteriorate quickly; once dry, use UV protectant to coat lenses and help retain brightness; these can often be found at auto parts stores; otherwise, purchase online.

Baking Soda

Toothpaste may also make an effective cleaning agent for headlights on your car, thanks to its mild abrasives that help buff away surface imperfections and remove stains from their surface. Apply a small amount directly onto the headlights, or cut a lemon in half and sprinkle baking soda onto it before gently rubbing over them with it firmly rubbed along their edges.

Citrus juice and baking soda’s abrasive properties can help remove oxidation on headlight lenses. After applying the cleaner, use a microfiber cloth or sponge to scrub in a circular motion until all haze has been eliminated; rinse your headlights under clean water before drying them before reassembling them – alternatively, you could purchase a light-grade rubbing compound from an auto parts store for approximately five bucks.

Aluminum Foil

Although it may seem unnecessary, cleaning your car headlights with aluminum foil effectively eliminates those stubborn scratches on plastic. Aluminum’s natural abrasive qualities will smooth away any remaining marks on its surface; once done, protect it further with wax to prevent further deterioration of plastic over time.

If the above home remedies don’t do the trick, consider purchasing a headlight restoration kit from any automotive store. These kits typically consist of multiple grades of sandpaper, plastic cleaner, and polishing cloths to assist you with headlight restoration. Wet each sheet of sandpaper before beginning with one that best matches your situation; deep scratches should be treated diagonally before repeating until results appear smoother. Rinse each grit until results appear; rinse again between attempts until your desired smooth results have been reached.

Steel Wool

If your headlights need an update, steel wool might help. Use #000 steel wool to scrub down glass and chrome surfaces before applying some glass cleaner to bring back their shine – this will also remove any scuff marks and provide for even characters without scratching the paintwork. While this treatment might seem drastic, steel wool works excellently without scratching paint surfaces!

Plastic headlights can be easily maintained with dryer sheets, toothpaste, baking soda, or professional restoration kits. Plastic polishes can also make them shine brighter than ever. Before beginning, inspect them to assess any severe oxidation; if this is the case for any lights you own, they may need professional examination.


In conclusion, restoring clarity to car headlights is straightforward with the proper cleaning methods. Whether using household items or commercial products, regular maintenance ensures improved visibility, safety, and a refreshed appearance. 

Keep your headlights bright by incorporating these simple cleaning techniques into your car care routine.





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