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How to Clean Headlights at Home? All You Need to Know

How to Clean Headlights at Home? All You Need to Know

If you're looking for “how to clean headlights at home?” You can rely on the following products:

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE

  • Toothpaste
  • A mixture of vinegar and baking soda
  • Window cleaners

Your vehicle's headlights are extremely important, especially if you're driving at night or early morning. So, between now and then, you might need to clean your vehicle's headlights, especially if you noticed some dimness or probably cloudy appearance.

The good news is that to clean your headlights; you don't need a professional all the time. There are many simple tips and tricks that you can implement using household products. These tips and tricks are very effective, and many people achieved extremely good results by just implementing them.

This article walks you through a step-by-step procedure on how to clean headlights at home. We will highlight using toothpaste, vinegar, baking soda, window cleaner, and car Polish. Finally, we will provide you with some recommendations on keeping your headlights from getting foggy or cloudy.

Why do headlights get foggy?

Before we dive into the details about “how to clean headlights at home?” It's important to understand why headlights get foggy in the first place. Multiple reasons could cause your headlights to get yellow or foggy, and these reasons include:

  • Rust and debris from the road could get into the plastic covering of the headlights if it's not sealed properly. As a result, the headlights get cracked or chipped, allowing dirt to enter the headlights and reduce their shyness.
  • UV radiation from the sun lights that tried the sealing of the headlights using corrosive forces.

How to clean headlights at home?

Since it's natural for the headlights to get yellow or foggy over time, learning about “how to clean headlights at home?” can help you save a lot of money and effort, especially if you got the job done at a mechanic shop.

Cleaning the headlights does not require advanced mechanical skill sets, and it's something that you can do at home using household products. There are many effective methods that customers tried and achieved successful results over the years.

Let's take a closer look at what automotive experts recommend in terms of methods to clean your headlights at home without needing a professional:

  1. Clean the headlights using toothpaste

Did you know that toothpaste has a variety of other uses than for brushing your teeth? Yes! Many people have tried toothpaste to bring their vehicle's headlights back to life.

Follow these simple steps:

Prepare all necessary material

To complete the job, you still need a couple of other items other than the toothpaste. You will need car wash soap, toothpaste, car washing cloth, gloves, tape, and probably car wax.

Clean the headlights with soap and water

Before using the toothpaste, you must give your vehicle's headlights a quick clean-up using water and specific soap suitable for your vehicle's exterior. Once you're done cleaning up, allow the headlights to dry out for a couple of minutes.

Mask areas around headlights

Once the vehicle is completely dried, use tape to mask areas around the headlights and ensure that the headlights are completely isolated from the rest of your vehicle's exterior. This way, you don't have to worry about damaging the car paint or the clear coat as you're cleaning the headlights.

Get yourself ready

Since you will be working with toothpaste, consider using a pair of gloves to keep yourself clean.

Apply the toothpaste

Using a small dry piece of cloth, apply a small amount of toothpaste and firmly rub it around the headlights. Consider adding more toothpaste depending on how much you need and the severity of your headlight’s issues.

Rinse toothpaste with water

After each toothpaste application, rinse the area with water and allow it to air dry for a couple of minutes.

Wax the headlights

Finally, once the headlights are completely cleaned up, apply a small amount of car wax to give it a final shiny look.

  1. Clean the headlights using vinegar and baking soda

A mixture of vinegar and baking soda is a great combination that you can use to clean many different surfaces around your household. The same mixture is also effective for cleaning your foggy headlights. Therefore, if you're not comfortable or if you did not get effective results using toothpaste, you can try using the vinegar and baking soda mixture following these steps:

Prepare necessary material

You will need a cleaning container, white vinegar, car wash soap, dry microfiber cloth, and a box of baking soda.

Clean the headlights thoroughly

Before applying the vinegar and baking soda, you must perform a thorough clean up to the vehicle's headlights. First, clean the exterior with car soap and water. Then, allow it to dry for a couple of minutes.

Prepare the vinegar baking soda mixture

Once the vehicle is ready, put together a ratio of two to one of vinegar and baking soda in the clean container.

Apply the vinegar and baking soda mixture

Dip it in the baking soda and vinegar mixture using the dry microfiber towel and rub the headlights thoroughly. Allow the mixture to sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing it with water and air dry it.

  1. Clean the headlights using window cleaner

Finally, if you're a fan of window cleaners, you can use those to clean your headlights as well. All you need to do is to follow these simple steps:

Prepare necessary material

To clean your headlights using window cleaner, you'll need clean and dry towels, disposable gloves, car wax, a bucket of water, window cleaner, and masking tape.

Mask the areas around the headlights

You will first need to use the tape and mask all areas around the headlights to prevent any products from getting to the vehicle's paint as it could damage it.

Use the window cleaner

After masking the vehicle's paint, spray a decent amount of window cleaner around the headlights and then use a dry towel and rub the area thoroughly in a circular motion until you get rid of all dirt on the headlights.

Apply car wax (optional)

If you are looking for clean and shiny results, you might apply a small car wax using a fresh and clean car towel.

How to protect your headlights from getting foggy?

Although we indicated that it's natural for your headlights to get foggy or overtime abuse, there are some simple tips and tricks that you can implement to protect the headlights and prevent them from getting foggy:

  1. Choose your parking location

As we mentioned earlier, most headlights issues happen due to either road debris and contaminants or sun UV radiations. Therefore, try selecting the best parking location that doesn't have any of the mentioned issues. For example, consider parking inside if you park outside and have a closed, private garage.

  1. Purchase car covers

If headlights issues are very common in your area and sun UV radiation is very strong, you might consider purchasing protective car covers. There are plenty of options available in the market, and you don't necessarily have to go with the most expensive one but choose a decent one that does not allow sunlight to get and impact your vehicle's headlights.

  1. Consider headlights in your routine car wash

In your routine car wash, consider focusing on the headlights and clean them up thoroughly. Do not allow fog and yellow colors to build up because it gets much harder to be cleaned.

2021 best headlights restoration kits

At some point, using the household products might not be extremely effective, especially if the headlights are extremely dirty and have major issues. This could happen when you leave the headlights yellow or foggy for a long time and never try to get rid of that issues.

The good news is that there are many available commercial products that you can use to restore your vehicle's headlights. Autoguide.com performed a thorough review of all available products in the market and provided you with the top 10 as of 2021 she can consider and purchase. You must go through each product's main pros and cons before you make a final decision.

  1. 3M Headlight Restoration Kit

The first kit is considered an all-in-one kit. It comes at a very affordable price and has the top customers reviews. Unfortunately, the kit is only one-time use and might take a lot of time for you to perform the full cleanup. Also, you might need a power drill to get the top results using this product. Let’s take a closer look at some of the good examples in the list:

  1. Promoted Product: Meguiar's Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit

The second product comes from a reputable company and targets heavy-duty issues in your headlights. The only drawback about it is that you'll still need a power drill to get effective results.

  1. Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit

This kit comes with a lifetime warranty and is produced by a reputable brand. The only drawback about it is that you have to spend a decent amount of time getting effective results.

  1. Rust-Oleum Wipe New Headlight Restore Kit

If you're looking for a headlight cleaning kit with a lifetime warranty, this one should be your choice! The kit is extremely easy to use and can protect your headlights by up to 100 washes. Unfortunately, despite the great features of these cleaning and restoration kits, it requires a lot of time until you get effective results.

  1. Mothers nulens Headlight Renewal Kit

Another all-in-one kit! If you're looking for precise results with Polish included, this kit should be your choice! However, keep in mind that the kits also require a drill to get effective results, and you might need to purchase a separate painter tape.

  1. Meguiar's 1-Step Headlight Restoration Plus

This kit is very easy to use and comes with both the cleaning container and the Polish. However, it doesn't include the power drill, and it's something you have purchased separately.

  1. Rain-X Headlight Restoration Kit

That kit comes in all-in-one and does not require any additional tools for the cleanup. However, it is not considered a good choice for heavy-duty, and customers mentioned that the polishing pads are not top quality.

  1. Turtle Wax (2-in-1) Headlight Cleaner and Sealant

This kit comes as a two-in-one cleaner. It is very easy to apply, and experts recommend it for maintenance purposes. Unfortunately, it's not very effective for all products, and the final Polish layer is not that thick, so don't expect that it will help you for a long time.


Your vehicle's headlights must be in good shape all the time. It's really if you drive at night or during the winter season. Headlights get foggier and yellower over time, and That's why learning how to clean the headlights is an essential skill to learn so you can save on labor costs at an independent shop.

This article provided you with three simple methods to help keep your headlights cleaned using simple household products. These products include toothpaste, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, and window cleaners.

While it's always recommended that you clean your headlights whenever they're foggy, sometimes it might not be worth your time and effort, especially when your vehicle has major mechanical problems. If that's the case, you recommend it evaluate selling your vehicle instead and using its value towards purchasing a better car with shinier headlights.

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  • Describe your car’s type and condition
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