Frequently Asked Questions About DIY Cleaning Vehicle Headlights

There is a common problem with vehicle headlights, which is that they can get foggy or dirty. If left unchecked, this can eventually lead to significant visibility problems, and a decrease in night driving safety. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this problem, cleaning your headlights.
If you have decided to clean your vehicle yourself and you are feeling confused about one or two things, this post is for you. Here you will find answers to common questions you may have about cleaning your vehicle headlights yourself and simple hacks you should keep in mind while trying this yourself.

Cleaning your headlights at home

Getting yourself involved in cleaning your headlights by yourself at home is actually a simple task that would save you extra time and money going to the professionals (you can actually go there if that’s what you want). Once you understand that it is quite an easy thing and you familiarize yourself with things you should and shouldn’t use to clean your headlights, then you are good to go. Make up your mind, grab your cleaning agents and get cleaning. You can check out this post to learn about how to Clean Your Headlights Yourself.

Answers to common questions about cleaning vehicle headlights

There are so many things one can have in mind when attempting to clean their vehicle headlights themselves. The task can seem like something a bit difficult, but once you get the hang of it, the whole thing becomes a breeze. Here are answers to the common questions people may have about cleaning their vehicle headlights themselves:

Does car polish clean headlights?

Yes, car polish is another chemical agent that is very effective in cleaning the dirty foggy surfaces of either glass or plastic headlights without any harm or denaturation whatsoever.

Can you clean headlights with WD 40?

Certainly, WD 40 is another equally excellent cleaner for both glass and plastic headlights, and what is more, it is also comparatively cheaper too.

Does vinegar clean headlights well?

Yes, vinegar is yet another impressive and highly acclaimed headlight cleaner, especially when it is used in a mixture along with both toothpaste and baking soda. This mixture is so safely gritty that it can eliminate dirt on headlight surfaces without causing any abrasions on them.

Will DEET clean your headlights?

DEET is known to dissolve the clear and protective film on the headlights of a vehicle. It is through this process that the chemical effectively eliminates dirt, grime, or debris that got stuck onto your headlights.  Although, for some strange reasons, the shine or effects after cleaning with DEET does not always last. In addition, DEET is also said to be harmful to certain types of plastics and other substances. Therefore, preferably, and to be on the side of caution, you will do well to use DEET in cleaning mainly glass headlights.

But if you must use it in cleaning plastic headlights, it will be advisable to find out from experts or the user manual whether it is safe with your type of plastic, just in case. Furthermore, DEET is known to be a skin irritant, as a result, some states in the US have already put in place strict laws banning its use altogether, such as the state of New York, for example.

Can you clean headlights with Windex?

Just like you can use a mixture of soap and water to clean your headlights very well, it is also widely known that Windex can also do the job almost as perfect too. However, before you use Windex on your headlights, make sure that they are totally dry.

Does rubbing alcohol clean headlights?

Yes, rubbing alcohol is a very effective headlight cleaner too. The only thing is that once you are done cleaning headlights with it, you should again wipe the headlight off with it too. This will enable it to dry off faster. You can also use toothpaste in polishing the surface of the headlight after cleaning it with rubbing alcohol.

Will hydrogen peroxide clean headlights?

The answer to this question is an emphatic ‘no’. Hydrogen peroxide does not do anything in terms of cleaning vehicle headlights of any type. For any such cleaning, you are advised to use any of the many alternatives discussed in the article, but not hydrogen peroxide.

Can you use nail polish remover to clean headlights?

Yes, nail polish remover can be used in cleaning vehicle headlights just like most other substances discussed earlier. You should simply apply this chemical onto a clean cloth or rag and proceed to wipe your headlights with it, but make sure to turn the rag every so often while wiping for a more satisfactory result. Should the rag dry in the process, add more nail polish remover to it, and continue to wipe away? It’s as simple as that. However, make sure that you do everything in a shaded area or partition.

Will CLR clean your headlights?

Yes, CLR is another compound that can be used satisfactorily in cleaning vehicle headlights as well, especially in cases where you observe strange coloured streaks on the headlights.

Can you clean headlights with rubbing compounds?

Although there are two kinds of compounds that can be applied in cleaning vehicle headlights; the polishing and rubbing compounds, but the polishing compound is a little better at the job since it has a finer consistency and is also more gentle than its rubbing counterpart, which is kind of gritty. All the same, you can use rubbing compounds in cleaning vehicle headlights too.

Will toothpaste clean your headlights properly?

Certainly, toothpaste is a very effective chemical agent in cleaning and polishing vehicle headlights of any type, especially when it is mixed with either vinegar or baking soda, or even both. This mixture becomes gritty enough to easily take out any dirt off the surfaces of your headlights. So, have at it, you’re covered.

Can you clean headlights with brake fluid?

No, it is not advisable to use brake fluid in cleaning your headlights. First, most vehicle headlights in use today are made of plastic, and second, brake fluid is known to aggressively attack both plastic and rubber substances. It can solvate the plastic in headlights and cause it to look even foggier. So, do not use it in cleaning your headlights for any reason.

Can soap and water be used in cleaning your headlights?

You can use a mixture of soap and water in cleaning your headlights effectively, particularly if you introduce vinegar or baking soda in the mixture. However, you should first clean the headlights with Windex before using the mixture of soap and water. Finally, use a rag to give your headlights impressive polishing.

Can you clean headlights with SOS pads?

It is even said that cleaning headlights with SOS are faster and easier than with most other cleaning agents. What is more, SOS Non-Scratch Scrubbers clean your headlights without leaving any abrasions on them. To do this, you should simply wet a rag or towel with the chemical and use it to scrub your headlights. The polish on your headlights will leave you stupefied. So, yes, you can use SOS pads in cleaning your vehicle headlights with excellent outcomes.

Will steel wool clean headlights?

SOS soap pad is made from steel wool and is loaded with soap in it. You can clean your headlights with 0000 super fine steel wool and any white toothpaste but not the gel. Simply rub it on the headlight until the lens is smooth. Afterwards, apply a little coat of wax to give it added protection.

Can sandpaper clean headlights?

Yes, sandpaper can very well clean your headlights. However, you are advised to use sandpaper with grit values between 400 to 600 grit carbide for removing the initial layer of dirt or grime due to oxidation. Subsequently, you can upgrade to between 800 and 1000 grit sandpaper before you finally use anything between 3000 to 5000 grit sandpaper for the best possible finish.

Can baking soda clean headlights?

Yes, baking soda can be used impressively in cleaning your vehicle headlights, especially when it is mixed with any vinegar or toothpaste, or both. It will leave you in awe if you use it properly for the newness and gloss to your hitherto fuzzy headlights.

Can you clean headlights with Magic Eraser?

Yes, Magic Eraser is safe in cleaning vehicle headlights to eliminate yellowing on them. Simply buff off grime on your headlights with  Magic Eraser before wiping them dry with a paper towel or any clean cloth, and you are home, safe and dry.

Does Armor All clean headlights?

Armor All is one of the most effective cleaning agents you can use on your headlights with impressive results. Simply scrub your headlights with the Armor All cleaner while applying pressure in horizontal, back, and forward movements until you get the desired result.

Will Coca-Cola clean headlights?

Yes, Coca-Cola can also be used in cleaning headlights, but you should be careful not to allow it to stain your car paint. Put it in a spray bottle or soak a sponge or towel with it and apply it on the foggy surface of your headlights. Leave it to stay for about 10 minutes before wiping with any clean and soft tissue. This should do the trick.

Does acetone clean headlights?

Although acetone can be used on glass headlights with impressive results, it is however known to harm certain types of plastics. This chemical clears foggy headlight lenses, but you should be careful when using it on plastic. Or, better still, find out first whether it is safe for your kind of plastic before you commit to anything. All in all, it is safer not to use acetone in cleaning plastic headlights, but you’re good with glass.

Can you clean headlights with bug spray?

Yes, bug spray is yet another impressive headlight cleaner as well. Although many bug spray contains DEET, they can still clear cloudy appearance and yellow colouration fast from your headlights, thereby leaving them sparkling clean at all times. So, yes, you can use bug spray on either plastic or glass headlights.

Can you use lemon and baking soda to clean vehicle headlights?

Yes, lemon and baking soda can be used to clean your vehicle headlights effectively. The two ingredients found in your kitchen are very effective when it comes to cleaning dirty vehicle headlights. The natural abrasive and whitening properties of baking soda and lemon makes it’s an easy, cheap and quick means of cleaning your vehicle headlight in just a few minutes.

Simple vehicle headlights cleaning hacks

Vehicle headlights are one of the most important of vehicle accessories, yet they can often go ignored for maintenance and over time, grime, road film, and other debris can stick on the headlight lenses and cause issues like poor visibility, headlight glare, and poor night-time driving. Having clean headlights are an important part of modern driving and so I want to share some of the best vehicle headlights cleaning hacks; tricks that you can use to keep your lights shining bright always:
  1. If headlights are only slightly foggy, an abrasive, a clean rag and water is enough to wipe it clean.
  2. Cleaning the headlights with Windex, general household cleaning spray or soap and water can still get your headlights shining bright.
  3. Cleaning your headlights may look easy when you watch others, however, if you attempt it yourself and it feels overwhelming, you can just leave it for the professionals or come back to try again when you feel more comfortable.
  4. Avoiding the cleaning stuff you shouldn’t use on your headlights would save you a lot of extra stress and worry.
  5. You can try a few different cleaning agents for your headlights until you find the perfect one you can stick with.
  6. Once you have a cleaning product or kit you use for your headlights, have that in extra quantities so that you do not get stranded when you want to clean, and also so that you do not have to settle for a different product when you suddenly run out of yours.
  7. When cleaning your headlights, take your time to observe the state it is in. If you notice cracks or scratches, it may be time to start handling them with care or making plans to replace them or see a professional.
  8. It is totally okay to use natural or common ingredients like lemon, baking soda, toothpaste, etc, to clean your headlight as long as it doesn’t pose a risk to the type of headlight lens you use.
  9. If you are using a product on your headlights and it seems to be causing harm to them, stop using it immediately.
The dirt that accumulates on your headlight lenses can diminish visibility and lead to a wide range of possible issues. You do not need all of that so you have to always keep your headlights spotless. Cleaning your vehicle headlights yourself can save you money and time, as well as give you a sense of accomplishment. So, keep the hacks and guide at the back of your mind and also check your vehicle’s manual if there is still something you are trying to understand better.

Hi, just letting you know that all products recommended here have been used by me, or are properly researched to ensure they are the best you are getting without bias.

I am also an affiliate for certain Amazon products and this means that some links here are affiliate links. If you purchase an item through any of them, I MAY earn a commission at no extra cost on you.

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