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How to Clean Your Vehicle’s Headlights? 3 Simple Methods!

How to Clean Your Vehicle’s Headlights? 3 Simple Methods!

Are you searching for “how to clean your vehicle's headlights?” You can use one of the following household cleaning supplies:

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  1. Clean your headlights with toothpaste
  2. Clean your headlights with vinegar and baking soda
  3. Clean your headlights with window cleaners

The headlights are very important elements in your vehicle, and you must maintain them. Some of the headlights maintenance includes replacing them when they burn out or fixing any cracks or damages.

However, there are some instances where, as these headlights age, you might notice that they're not as bright as before or they look duller, making the visibility very challenging.

Although the headlights dulling and cloudiness might not be very concerning to people who don't drive during the night or cloudy days, it can be very risky to drive with cloudy headlights in areas with limited visibility.

The good news is that getting rid of this dullness and cloudiness in your headlights is not very complicated, and it's something that you can do on your own without needing a professional. Moreover, you can even use some simple household supplies like toothpaste, vinegar and baking soda, and window cleaner.


Let's look at how you can use the three mentioned methods in cleaning your headlights properly and get effective results.

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How to clean your vehicle’s headlights?

The headlights are very important and are considered one of the most important safety precautions, especially if you drive in areas with limited visibility. However, considering that these headlights are not designed forever, and there will be a point where they might not provide you with the best performance, you must do your best to take care of them and ensure that they serve you the longest time possible.

In this article, we're not focusing on headlights' major damages. Instead, we've focused more on one of the very underestimated headlights issues that many drivers might not pay attention to getting rid of the fogginess add cloudiness.

Instead of going to a professional mechanic and wasting your time and effort trying to get these headlights better, you can always use some household products that help you clean the headlights and restore them as possible.

Let's look at three of the most common methods on “how to clean your vehicle's headlights?

1.    Clean your headlights with toothpaste

Did you know that one of the most effective ways of getting rid of the headlight’s dimness is using toothpaste?! Yes! Toothpaste is considered a mildly abrasive material that is an excellent approach for cleaning the headlights.

Typically, if you want to clean your headlights using toothpaste, you'll need to follow these steps:

  • Prepare the required material

Before you get started, you must put everything you need in one place to work on your vehicle, finish the headlights cleaning, and get done. If those materials and elements are not ready, it'll take you much longer to go back and forth trying to find what you need.

Typically, to clean the headlights using the toothpaste, you'll need any proper car washing soap, some masking tape to prevent the products from damaging the car paint, disposal gloves, toothpaste, and car wax, if necessary, some car washing clothes.

  • Use soap to prepare the headlights

Before you apply any toothpaste, you must perform a thorough cleanup of your headlights and get rid of the larger debris and contaminants using the regular car wash soap and water.

This step is very important because if the debris and contaminants are left on the headlights, once you apply the toothpaste and try to rub it, you'll cause some scratches to the plastic components, which make their lights worse than what you're looking for.

  • Protect the paint

Before we start applying the toothpaste, you must also protect the paint job. Use any car masking tape and tape the area around the headlights where you don't want any products to get on the paint.

Failing to protect the paint from the cleaning products leads to some damage in the car paint that is more expensive to fix than replacing the headlights. Therefore, you have to be very careful about protecting the headlights and how good you want to tape the area.

  • Prepare yourself

Before you touch the toothpaste and start cleaning the headlights, it is important that you prepare yourself and wear some safety gloves, especially if you have sensitive skin and don't want to have a product shipped to your skin.

  • Apply the toothpaste

You don't want to apply huge amounts of toothpaste to the headlights. Instead, dab small amounts of toothpaste on a cleaning cloth and then use it to rub the headlights firmly. You must spend time rubbing the headlights to get effective results.

Experts recommend spending about 5 minutes robbing these headlights to get the best results. Otherwise, your headlights problems might not be solvable using simple household products, and that's where you must consult your mechanic for a better, more effective approach.

  • Rinse the headlights

Once you finish cleaning the headlights using toothpaste, the next step is to use water and rinse the headlights. Also, you'll need to dry this water properly using either a dry cloth or probably buffing air.

  • Apply wax

If you're looking for the most effective results, experts are a comment on applying one layer of wax on top of the clean headlights. However, this is optional, and you don't have to do it unless you want to protect the headlights for a longer time.

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2.    Clean your headlights with vinegar and baking soda

Cleaning the headlights with vinegar and baking soda is another great approach that provides effective results. It will involve very similar steps but use a different material. Therefore, we will not provide you with all the steps in detail unless it's necessary.

  • Prepare the products

In this method, you will need a box of baking soda, distilled white vinegar, car wash soap, a microfiber cloth, and a cleaning container.

  • Prepare the vinegar and baking soda mix

After cleaning the headlights with salt and water And taping the area around the headlights, the next step is to prepare the mix to clean the headlights. You'll need to mix one part of baking soda with two parts of distilled white vinegar. Give the mixture quick stirs and shake it for a couple of minutes to get the best consistency.

  • Apply the mix of the vinegar and baking soda

Once you prepare the mixture, the next step is to use the microfiber cloth and then dip it inside the mixture before rubbing the headlights. It is the same way you did for the toothpaste, but instead of using the toothpaste, you are now using the mixture of vinegar and baking soda.

  • Wrap up the cleanup

After applying the mixture, you will need to follow the same steps we highlighted before, including rinsing and drying the headlights. Then, as an option, you can apply car wax if you want to get the best results.

3.    Clean your headlights with window cleaner

Finally, the last method involves cleaning the headlights using a simple window cleaner that you use in your house to clean the glass surfaces or the windows. You cannot follow the same methods we mentioned before about preparing your car and cleaning the headlights with soap and water. Then, you'll have to tape the paint job to ensure that none of the window cleaner gets to the paint and damages it.

Once you are ready, you can spray the window cleaner directly to the headlights and allow it to sit for a couple of minutes before wiping it using a dry microfiber cloth or even newspaper. Repeat the process multiple times to get the best results.

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When to use commercial Products or to reach the mechanic?

Sometimes if your headlights are very old and the issue you're dealing with is very severe, the mentioned simple methods might not be the best approach. In other words, you might give them a try and apply the toothpaste or the other methods we mentioned, but if you realize that you're not getting desirable results, that's when you have to think of a Plan B.

Depending on the severity of the issues in your headlights, you might want to do one of the following:

1.    Consider commercial products

There are plenty of commercial products that you can search for on Amazon or any auto shop. You use stronger materials that are more effective to clean the headlight than regular household products.

Keep in mind that there are tons of examples, and you must read the reviews carefully before damaging the headlights; not every headlight cleaner is the same, and sometimes you might see that certain kits are available with a lot of material together, so you don't have to worry about buying the cleaning product and other products. These kits are very effective, but sometimes they might involve other items that you might not need.

Therefore, we highly encourage you to read each headlight cleaning kit's main pros and cons before making a final purchase decision. Of course, you want to buy a product that does the job you're looking for, but at the same time, you don't want to break your budget.

2.    Consult your mechanic

In some instances, even the commercial products might not work for fixing and cleaning the headlights. That's when you have to consult a professional service. Your mechanics should have some ideas about how to clean the headlights properly using stronger material without damaging them.

Note that hiring a mechanic is more expensive. Therefore, before you decide, you must evaluate which is better, replacing the headlights completely or hiring the mechanic to achieve relatively good results.

3.    Replace the headlights

If you got to the point where the headlights are completely dull, making your visibility extremely challenging, you might want to think of replacing the headlights. But, of course, you don't want to get to this point unless you suffer from the headlights add none of the mentioned methods worked.

As you might already know, replacing the headlights is not cheap, and it's not something you can't afford daily. Therefore, you must talk to the mechanic and see if there are probably some used high-quality headlights or probably other ways to save on replacing the headlights, so you don't break the budget.

The other thing to think about is that sometimes your vehicle might have other major problems, making it unnecessary to replace the headlights. In other words, if your engine has problems related to overheating and if the transmission slips or has other problems going on, you should focus on what's more important and evaluate the overall repair costs before spending too much money trying to get to your vehicle to work.

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Final thoughts

Your vehicle's headlights have to do a lot with your safety because they determine your visibility. So they become very important elements, especially if you're driving in the nighttime or in areas where visibility is not very good.

This article provided you with three simple methods to clean your vehicle's headlights using household products. First, we highlighted how to clean the headlights using toothpaste, vinegar and baking soda, and window cleaner.

Keep in mind that no matter how much effort you put into taking care of the headlights, sometimes you need to focus on the larger problems in your car. For example, if your car has significant issues in the transmission or engine, it might not make sense for you to spend time and effort trying to make the headlights look better. Instead, it might be the right time to think about selling your car and buying a better one. But, of course, who would want to buy a car with major problems? Well, cash cars buyer does!

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