How to Clean Foggy Headlights

April 23rd, 2024 by

Having clear and bright headlights is essential for safe night-time driving. Over time, the material that makes up headlight covers can break down in the sun and cloud over. This can heavily impact nighttime visibility when you’re relying on your headlights to give a clear view of the road ahead of you. Most people assume that their headlights are dimming or going out when this happens, but the truth is that the covers usually just need a thorough cleaning.

Cleaning headlight covers usually doesn’t justify bringing your car into a repair shop, so how should the average owner go about doing this at home?

What to use

Headlight restoration kits can be picked up at auto supply stores. These are specifically designed for cleaning fogged-up headlight lenses due to UV exposure. But the average home should have plenty of cleaning tools and solutions that will work perfectly for this.

Toothpaste and baking soda are commonly known as effective cleansers for headlights. The abrasive ingredients can take off the fog without scratching or damaging the headlight covers. So it can be very useful to keep a cleaning kit with spare toothpaste tubes or baking soda in your garage to use whenever you’re cleaning your car. You can stay ahead of this issue by applying a small amount of either of these cleaners to your headlights when you’re giving your car a regular car wash.

You’ll need a few more items than just the cleaning solutions themselves to go about handling this project yourself. Be sure to come equipped with a rag or towel to scrub the surface. If you have sensitive skin, it’s also advised to use latex gloves, as the cleaning materials may bother or burn your hands while you’re working. Of course, you’ll need a bucket or hose to have rinsing water. Finally, a soft-bristled brush will be great for scrubbing the toughest-to-remove spots.

Follow these steps

Before starting, be sure to clean off the surface of your headlight covers to clear any debris. If you’re not careful, you could accidentally scrub a pebble or small rock into the plastic and cause abrasions. Gently spritz your headlights with a mild cleanser and wipe away any dirt or grime that has been collected.

Next, you should wipe the headlights down with a dry towel or rage until it is moisture-free. Now you can apply your headlight restoration solution or other household cleaning materials like toothpaste or baking soda. If you’re using baking soda, you’ll have to mix it with a small amount of water. Apply your cleaner in a thick layer on the headlights and let it sit for a few minutes to allow it to dry.

Now you can scrub the cleaner off with your brush or other abrasive tool. Use circular motions and work your way around the headlights, scrubbing gently. The cloudiness or yellow tinge should start to disappear as you work your way over the entirety of your headlight covers.

Finally, using a clean towel or rag, wipe off any remaining residue. Depending on how much you were able to scrub off with your abrasive tool, you may still need to rinse off the headlights or also use a wet towel.

And that’s it! You should notice an immediate difference in the brightness of your headlights and much less of a yellow filter on the light. Just be sure to make this a regular practice. If you do, it will become much easier to clear off the grime and you’ll stay ahead of the accumulation. Make caring for your car as important of a routine as caring for your own body! You’ll be glad you did.