Top 8 Ways To Clean Foggy Headlights | Car Care Hacks (2023)

Are your car headlights yellow, foggy and oxidized so much that it doesn’t make a difference whether they are turned on or off? It is time to clean them. I will show you 8 ways to clean foggy headlights.

Top 8 Ways To Clean Foggy Headlights:

  • With a toothpaste
  • With Sandpaper
  • UV Coat
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • WD40
  • Coca-Cola
  • Dish Soap

It is very important to have clean headlights while driving, especially at night. You want to make sure you have good visibility in order to avoid accidents. You don’t have to spend money to clean your headlights, you can do it with some household items. Please note that the cleaning done with the household items is not Permanent. But don’t worry, I have included a permanent cleaning method in this article. As a bonus tip, you will find how to fix your headlight with moisture in it. You can basically find every information about your headlight maintenance in this article. Let’s get started:

This Article Contains:

How To Clean Your Headlights With Toothpaste

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If you touch your headlights on the outside and they are not smooth, all pitted, that indicates that they should be polished out. So you want to make sure you use a toothpaste that has some grittiness to it and is an actual paste and not a gel. I usually use a toothpaste that has a baking soda and peroxide which will help get your headlight lenses clear. If your toothpaste isn’t gritty, then you can add some baking soda to the toothpaste to clean foggy the headlights.

  1. Start off by getting a bunch of toothpaste and rub it in. Make sure you rub it in good cover.
  2. Use a toothbrush and brush it in there really good! The more yellow the headlight is, the longer you will have to brush and you might even have to do two applications of toothpaste.
  3. Another tool you can use is a Dremel with a buffing wheel on it. (Check the price on amazon) Just buff all of the toothpaste into the headlight instead of brushing it in only with a toothbrush. This might give you better results. Make sure you use the low-speed setting (15k rpms or less). You don’t want this to spin fast because you will melt your plastic.
  4. Wash it off with some water and wipe it with a clean paper towel.
  5. Apply wax on your headlights.
  6. Wait 5 minutes and remove the wax with a clean towel.This will provide a protective layer so the headlights won’t get yellow again quickly.

I have a more detailed article on how to clean your foggy headlights with toothpaste. You can check it out here.

How To Clean Your Headlights With Sandpaper

Top 8 Ways To Clean Foggy Headlights | Car Care Hacks (2)

If you can’t clean your foggy headlights using this method, then you need new headlights. For thismethod, you will need three different grits of sandpaper – 400 to start, then 600, then 2,000. The lower the number, the more abrasive the sandpaper. You will also need some warm water. Make sure your headlight is clean before you start.

  1. Get the headlight soaking wet.
  2. Tape off your paint. You are going to use a sandpaper and you don’t want to damage your paint. If your headlights have rubber trim around them, then you are good to go.
  3. Get your sandpaper (400)and soak it wet.
  4. Start by normal motions. Keep a flat surface, do not try to dig in.
  5. Inspect. What you want to see is a uniform haze. It’s not going to look clear at all, and that’s good. Touch the surface. It should feel kind of smooth. There might be a little bit of grittiness which is fine. If there is a lot of grittiness you want to sand that spot pretty good.
  6. Move to the next grit 600 and again soak your sandpaper wet.
  7. After you get this grit done, wipe it off again to see what you have to work with.
  8. Next grit is 2000 mm. If you have 1000, you could do 1000, then you could do 2000. It’s up to you.
  9. Get your headlight soaking wet and get your sandpaper soaking wet. With the 2000 grit, you might have to apply a little bit more pressure.
  10. Wipe your headlights with a towel.
  11. If you are not satisfied with the results, you can also use the toothpaste trick.

Dura-Gold Premium Sandpaper


Top 8 Ways To Clean Foggy Headlights | Car Care Hacks (3)

You should now have clean headlights. Take a before and after picture to see the results. You saved yourself two headlights which is a decent amount, especially on some cars that could be $200-$300.

How To Clean Your Headlights With Baking Soda and Vinegar

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Another great way to clean your foggy headlights with $0 spent. All of us have vinegar and baking soda at home. In addition, you will need some clean towels and that’s all.

  1. Start off by mixing vinegar with water. If you have a spray bottle, add the mixture in it. You will need to clean the dust off from the headlights. Spray the cleaning solution and wipe your headlights with a clean towel. You can also use this solution for your windows.
  2. For the second step, you will need to mix vinegar with baking soda. Mix them with ratio 2:1 with 2 for white vinegar and 1 for baking soda. You will see a chemical reaction, but do not worry, this is not harmful to you. You don’t need to use gloves.
  3. Apply this mixture to your headlights and start wiping them. With a clean towel and circular motions, wipe until you get the wanted results. You can repeat this process as many times as you want.
  4. And for the last step, you will need some clean water and a clean towel. Rinse off your headlights with water and wipe it with the towel. You can also use a sponge to rinse the headlights.

Baking Soda

Top 8 Ways To Clean Foggy Headlights | Car Care Hacks (5)

How To Clean Your Headlights With WD40

Top 8 Ways To Clean Foggy Headlights | Car Care Hacks (6)

Many people think that WD40 can be used only on metal. Many people don’t know that WD40 can be used for cleaning as well. WD40 will clean your foggy headlights without damaging the plastic. You will need some other household items besides WD40. Let’s start:

  1. Your headlights probably have some dead bugs on them, as well as dust. Start by wiping them with a paper towel or baby wipes.
  2. Mix toothpaste with baking soda in a bowl. Apply the mixture on the headlights and spread it evenly with a scouring pad. Wipe in circular motions until you see your lights clear.
  3. Spray water on the headlights and wipe them with a clean towel. You will notice that your lights are much cleaner than before, but this is not the end.
  4. Buff the headlights with the WD40. Buff them until you get the wanted results.

I have an more detailed article on how to clean your foggy headlights with WD40. Check it out here.


Top 8 Ways To Clean Foggy Headlights | Car Care Hacks (7)
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How To Clean Your Headlights With Coca-Cola

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I use coca cola to clean many things, and it’s so scary. I used to drink so much coca cola and when I saw that people actually clean with it, I stopped drinking it. Now I use it to clean my foggy headlights. And I can say that it’s doing a pretty good job.

  1. Start off by wiping the dirt from your headlights with some towel soaked in water.
  2. Apply the coca cola on your headlights. You can either spray the coca cola(if you have a spray bottle) or soak a sponge or a towel and apply it on your headlights.
  3. Leave it for 5 minutes.
  4. Wipe your headlights with a clean towel.
  5. Wash them off with water.
  6. If your headlights are very dirty, you might not get results with only one cycle. Repeat the process as many times as needed.

How To Clean Your Headlights With Dish Soap

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This method is very simple and works. The good thing is that it’s gonna cost you $0. We all have dish soap at home, as well as baby wipes and towels.

  1. Wipe your headlights with a baby wipe to remove the dust.
  2. Apply some hot water on your headlights.
  3. Apply some dish soap and leave it to sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Start wiping in circular motions.
  5. Rinse your headlights with hot water.
  6. Repeat the process as needed.

Mrs Meyer’s Dish Soap

Top 8 Ways To Clean Foggy Headlights | Car Care Hacks (10)

How To Clean Your Headlights(Permanently) With UV Coating

Top 8 Ways To Clean Foggy Headlights | Car Care Hacks (11)

This is a great way to clean and restore your foggy headlights permanently. This will cost you around $10 per headlight. The other methods with home remedies such as vinegar, baking soda, toothpaste, or the 3m kit work great, but they are not permanent. Your lights will eventually become hazy and oxidized.I’m about to show you the onlypermanent method that doesn’t require any maintenance such as adding wax or adding a sealer every so often. Not only do hazy oxidized headlights look bad, they also decrease the value in your car. So not only will you make your car look better, but you’re actually going to help increase the value of the car by fixing your headlights.

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How To Super Clean Your Windshield

Everything you need to do the job:

  • Scissors
  • Garbage Bag
  • Tape
  • Paper Towels
  • Sandpaper 400grit, 600grit, 2000grit
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Alcohol
  • Gloss Clear for plastic

The big thing is you want them to be non-yellowing and UV resistant. The reason why your headlights are all foggy, yellowing and oxidized is because of the clear coat on the headlights gets chipped off over time from rocks hitting it from just. This method is going to put a nice barrier so that the plastic can’t get yellow and hazy again. Most people have scissors and a garbage bag and some paper towels, but if you’re going to buy the other stuff it’ll cost you around $20. So you figure, to make your headlights permanently clear $10 a headlight. That’s not bad, especially since some headlights can cost over a $100. I’ve seen headlights that are $250 each. I’ll show you the whole process. It’s quick and easy.

UV Coating Product

Top 8 Ways To Clean Foggy Headlights | Car Care Hacks (12)

Get Started

  1. If your headlights are easily removable I would remove them. It’s a lot easier to do this off the car. If not, you can do this process without removing your headlights.
  2. Tape around the headlight(if you are not going to remove it). Make a nice barrier around the edge. I usually use extra wide painters tape.
  3. Put the garbage bag around the light to fully cover the pain on the vehicle.
  4. Start with 400 grit sandpaper. If your headlights aren’t that bad, you could start with 600 grit sandpaper which is a little bit finer. Then we’ll finish it off with a little bit of 2,000 grit which is super fine.
  5. Spray the headlight with water. Make sure both surfaces are nice and wet. The water acts as a lubricant and prevents deep scratches into the surface.
  6. Start with circular motions. Do not apply a lot of pressure. You’ll notice like a milky color running down. That’s all that oxidized yellowingplastic that’s coming off your headlight.
  7. Move to the 600 grit. Again get your headlight nice and soaking wet, get your sandpaper nice and soaking wet. Do a bunch of swirling motion with the 600 grit, then start with horizontal sanding. With this type of sanding, you will have that top layer of the oxidize headlight completely removed.
  8. Clean the headlight with water before starting the next step.
  9. Move up to the 2,000 grit. You don’t want to press really hard on this, you just want to skim the surface. You’re just going to cut down some of the edges that the 600 grit put on here. After you do enough of the swirling motion, you could do the horizontal motion. This is going to be the final touch. Don’t worry if your headlights are still hazy.
  10. Dry it with a paper towel.
  11. Get your alcohol and put it on a low lint paper towel. Clean the headlight lens off. The alcohol removes any oils from your hands that may have gotten onto the lens, and it also makes the lens dry quickly. You can apply alcohol multiple times.
  12. As your alcohol is drying, cut your garbage bag open.
  13. Start your clear coat application. Make sure you follow the instructions on your clear coat. You don’t want thick coats. Thick coats are going to run. Make sure you do light coats, even sprays.
  14. Let it sit for five minutes and then add another coat. Add 3-4 layers with a 5-minute rest in between. Make sure when you’re spraying you’re also getting the top edge of the light and the corners of the light. Depending on how your light is shaped, you want to make sure that you touch all the spots on the light.

That’s it. The UV Coat does not only make your headlights look good, but it’s going to protect the headlight. It’s going to bounce all those harmful UV rays out and It’ll prevent any future yellowing or hazing or oxidation. This is permanently going to stay like this.

You can also add some wax, but it’s optional.

BONUS: How To Fix Headlight With Moisture In It

You might have noticed that some headlights have water drops in them. This is actually an issue. There shouldn’t be water inside the headlights. If the water gets into contact with your light, it will burn it. This is an easy fix and you don’t need to be a mechanic to perform this task. Follow my step by step guide:

  1. Start off by removing your headlight. All headlights have 2 or 3 bolts that you need to unscrew. Usually, there is one on the left and one on the right side as well as one on the bottom of the headlight. After you remove the bolts, you will have to disconnect the cable.
  2. After you removed the headlight and the cable connected to it, take your light bulb out.
  3. Fil your headlight with water all the way to the top.
  4. See where the leakage is.
  5. After you located your where your leakage is, take the water out and dry your headlight.
  6. After you dry your headlight, clean the surface where the water is leaking from. You can use a glass cleaner or just soapy water.
  7. If the surface is rough, you can sand it a little bit.
  8. Apply silicon on the surface and spread it with your fingers. Leave it to dry.
  9. You can test to see if you sealed the leak by filling the headlight with water.
  10. Re-install your headlight.
Top 8 Ways To Clean Foggy Headlights | Car Care Hacks (13)

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How can I make my foggy headlights clear again? ›

Toothpaste and baking soda can be effective cleansers for cleaning headlights. Both products are abrasive enough to take off the fog without scratching or damaging the headlights. Polishing compounds such as Rain-X might also be effective enough to remedy UV damage.

What is the best hack to clean headlights? ›

Mix the baking soda and vinegar in a small dish and then apply it in circular and side-to-side motions until your headlight is clean. You can also use baking soda and a damp cloth to clean hazy headlights.

What household items can clean headlights? ›

Put about 5 tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl and apply enough warm water to form a paste. After you've give your headlights a basic cleaning, apply the baking soda paste to your headlights with a corner of your sponge. Polish your headlights with a clean cloth using small circular motions.

Will WD-40 clean foggy headlights? ›

Spray a generous layer of WD-40 over the headlights and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. While you wait, the specially engineered solution will expertly get under the buildup and muck, making your next step easier.

Will Magic Eraser clean foggy headlights? ›

While using a Magic Eraser on a vehicle's paint has become somewhat of a cautionary tale, it's completely safe to clean cloudy headlights. A bonus? The cleaning tool even gets rid of the gross yellow coloring that develops over time. Buff each one with a wet Magic Eraser, then wipe with a paper towel as they dry.

Will vinegar clean cloudy headlights? ›

Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of baking soda with enough white vinegar to form a thick paste. Using a dry-cleaning cloth, gently polish the headlamp with the paste. Rinse the paste off with the spray bottle of water and repeat until the lens is clean and clear.

Does rubbing alcohol clear headlights? ›

All you need to do is soak a rag in denatured alcohol and then use it to polish the headlights for several minutes at a time, exerting constant and firm pressure. Keep in mind that the headlights may still look foggy until the alcohol evaporates, so be sure to give it 15 to 20 minutes to achieve the desired results.

How do professionals restore headlights? ›

Ans. Professionals restore headlights in much the same way you do it at home, using a headlight restore kit. First the surface of the lens is cleaned and sandpaper is worked into the lens to remove the deteriorated coating on the lens. The headlight is then washed again to remove any residue which might remain.

What's a cheap way to clean your headlights? ›

  1. Use a clean cloth to wash your headlights with car wash soap and water. ...
  2. Mix two parts distilled white vinegar and one part baking soda in a clean container. ...
  3. Dip one of the microfiber cleaning cloths in the mixture. ...
  4. Rinse your headlights with clean water and allow them to air dry.

Will any toothpaste clean headlights? ›

While toothpaste can remove some dirt or debris from headlights to make them appear cleaner or brighter, it's not an effective long-term solution. Toothpaste does nothing to brighten headlights that have dulled from non-soil reasons, which are more common.

Can Coca Cola clean headlights? ›

The phosphoric acid in Coca-Cola can help remove oxidation from your headlights, and gives it a decent clean. As it could potentially damage or stain paintwork, it's best not to pour it on, but decant into a spray bottle and spray directly on the headlights.

What kind of toothpaste cleans headlights? ›

It's important to use an ordinary type of toothpaste rather than a gel. Gel toothpastes don't contain abrasives, which are what is actually responsible for chipping away at the dingy layer of oxidation making the lights appear foggy.

Does sandpaper clean headlights? ›

For headlights that are heavily oxidised and very cloudy, it's good to start with 400-grit sandpaper (classed as super fine sandpaper). If your headlights aren't too cloudy, then you can use 600-grit sandpaper instead. Before sanding, apply water (which acts as a lubricant) to the headlight and the sand paper.

Does Lemon clean headlights? ›

While methods like using toothpaste or seeking professional help can do wonders for your cloudy headlights, the baking soda and lemon method works just fine, too.

What spray cleans headlights? ›

The Lensbright Headlight Restore Foaming Cleaner - 19oz Aerosol Can helps in restoring clarity to headlight lamps that have turned hazy, yellow and cloudy over time. It is very important to restore lens clarity to improve the performance of your headlight and improve the look of your vehicle.

Does WD-40 remove oxidation from headlights? ›

Headlights start to turn yellow and fog up over time, but a little WD-40 is a fast and easy solution to clean them up. Even if you don't have WD-40, you may have other products at home you can use to clean your headlights.

Can I use Dawn to clean my headlights? ›

Dish soap is one of the most common household items people can use to get the grime off their foggy headlights. Anyone can do it without much effort. All the stuff needed for this headlight cleaning method is easily available at home.

Will SOS pads clean headlights? ›

Cleaning headlights and car windshields is quick and easy with new S.O.S® Non-Scratch Scrubbers. Packed with the cleaning power of America's #1 Soap Pad brand*, each reusable scrubber is filled with the same proven S.O.S® grease fighting soap that you know and love.

How long should toothpaste sit on headlights? ›

It should take about five to ten minutes for each light depending on how foggy your headlamps are. Rinse away the toothpaste with plain water and allow the headlights plenty of time to dry.

Can hydrogen peroxide clean headlights? ›

No, hydrogen peroxide would not do a damn thing. If your headlight assemblies are yellowed or hazed you will need to use a light-grade rubbing compound to reduce the haze.

Will Dawn dish soap clean headlights? ›

While a lot of people claim success with this method, the toothpaste is probably better off in your bathroom, cleaning your mouth. If you want to shine up your headlights, dish detergent or dish soap is a fine way to do it.

What is the most effective headlight restorer? ›

Cerakote offers the best headlight restoration kit if you're looking for a ceramic coating that not only protects from UV light but can also restore light output on highly oxidized headlamps. The Cerakote Ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit uses a three-step process that begins with an oxidation removal wipe.

How long does toothpaste headlight restoration last? ›

Repeat the process every 2-4 months, or as needed.

In order to ensure that they stay bright and clear and provide maximum visibility, you'll want to get in the habit of cleaning and sealing them every couple of months. You may need to up the frequency of your cleanings if you do a lot of driving.

What liquid is used to clean headlights? ›

Mix car shampoo (or liquid dish soap) with water onto your CleanTools premium wash mitt until it foams for an initial wipe down of the headlight surface. Then, some mix baking soda and vinegar together in a small bucket; you should see them react with one another instantly.


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