How to Clean an Oxidized Headlight in 5 [Quick and Easy] Steps

The headlights of a vehicle are one of the most visible aspects of it—the difference between a sleek, clean look and a mess of a headlight, however, can be striking. Your headlights are particularly susceptible to oxidation, which can leave both your headlights and the bulbs themselves looking discoloured. Fortunately, a simple 5-step process can completely restore oxidized headlights back to their original, shiny shine. Continue reading this article to see this process highlighted and also find answers to other related questions.

clean and restore headlights

What do you need to clean your headlights?

What you will need to clean your headlights depend on what method you are using to clean them. If you are simply going to use a headlight restoration kit, all you need is just the kit itself as it contains everything. If you would be using cleaning agents or other home methods, you will need a bucket, some water, a headlight sponge (or any super soft sponge) a soft microfiber cloth and the cleaning agent you would be using; either vinegar, toothpaste, Windex, sandpaper pads or a cleaning agent you choose.

What are the 5 steps to cleaning an oxidized headlight?

These are five simple steps you can take to clean oxidized headlights on your car:

  1. Coat the surface of the headlight lens with the Windex or any commercial cleaning agent you buy, and allow it to sit for no more than one minute (or as instructed on the one you are using).
  2. USe the headlight sponge to scrub away the grime and dirt present on the headlight.
  3. After this, rinse the lens thoroughly with water.
  4. If the headlights are still foggy, repeat steps 1-2 and wipe a little more vigorously.
  5. Once it is as clean as you want it, go ahead and pat it dry with the cloth you have with you.

Alternatively, if you are using a sandpaper, follow these steps:

  1. To get the yellowness and fogginess off your headlights lens, you will need sandpaper pads (800-grit, 1000-grit and 2000-grit depending on the damage), a clean cloth, or better still, a microfiber. When these materials are available, then you can get down to the business of scrubbing and buffing the headlight cover with sandpaper.
  2. After this, you rinse, wipe and leave it to dry.
  3. Sometimes, the case of oxidation in headlights retrogrades to a far advanced stage, when the discolouration extends through and through the plastic headlights lens, rendering it useless. When at this stage, the best thing to do is to get a replacement.

How long does it take to clean an oxidized headlight?

It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to clean your oxidized headlights. In fact, once you get used to doing it, you can get it done within the twinkling of an eye and move on to the next thing.

Can you use a household cleaner on your headlights?

Cleaning your headlights is an important part of car maintenance. You can use a variety of products to clean them, but some are better than others. If you want to use a household cleaner, toothpaste, vinegar and baking soda are good options. There are also specific products designed for cleaning headlights, such as headlight restoration kits. These can be found at auto supply stores or online. When it comes to choosing a product, glass cleaner and automotive polish are the best options. They work well on all types of headlights and will leave them looking new!

What if my headlights are severely oxidized, can I still clean them myself?

Yes, you can clean your headlights yourself. First, make sure that the oxidation is not too bad and that it won’t go away no matter what you do because if it’s too far gone you will have to replace them. If they are still in relatively good condition you can try the above process to remove some of the oxidation and possibly restore a bit of lustre.

How often should I clean my headlights?

There are a few ways to clean your headlights, depending on how bad they are oxidized. You can either do it yourself with some simple supplies or take it to a professional. However, regardless of which method you choose, it is important to note that cleaning them less often is better for the light output – so try not to overdo it!

Once cleaned, how can I prevent my headlights from oxidizing again?

The best way to prevent your headlights from oxidizing again is by using a high-quality glass cleaner. You can also try wiping down your headlights with a clean damp cloth each time you come home from driving in the streets. This will help slow down the oxidization.

Are there any professional services that offer headlight cleaning?

There are a few professional services that offer headlight cleaning as they have a good amount of knowledge and expertise to successfully remove the dirt and debris that accumulate on headlights. So, if you have tried your best with no luck, simply go to them. The first point of contact should be your auto repair store.

oxidized Headlights Affect Visibility


Over time, headlights can become oxidized or cloudy due to the heat from the sun, road debris, and environmental pollution. An oxidized lens can severely diminish a headlight’s performance if not handled early enough. For this, ensure you make out time to clean your headlights often, and even before they start to oxidize, using the simple steps highlighted here.


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