What Can You Use To Make Dirty Headlights Look New?

Vehicle headlights commonly get dirtied or muddied by either sunlight or the process of oxidation especially when the vehicles are not cleaned regularly or where they are kept without being driven for long periods. When it comes to cleaning these foggy headlights to make them bright once again, you have a range of options. First, you can readily restore your headlights to their clean nature once again with the aid of any abrasive cleaners, water or kits made for cleaning. Once you make up your mind that you want to do this yourself, you can just choose the best method you want and everything can be done in a few short minutes.

Headlight Cleaning and Restoration


In the rest of this post, you will find out different things you can use to make your dirty vehicle headlights clean again and also some answers to common questions about cleaning the headlights yourself.

Why is it necessary to drive with crystal clear headlights?

It is essential that you drive with crystal clear headlights, just like it is important to keep your windshield clean too. One, it will enhance your visibility of the road thus keeping you and all other road users safe. Second, in addition to making you see the road when your headlights are sparkling clean, it will also enable other people on the road to see you as well. Third, clean and shiny headlights give your car a wonderful appearance that appeals to anybody, which makes it stand out.

What can cause headlights to look dirty?

A most common cause of dirty headlights is the persistent oxidation of the headlight materials, like plastic and glass, by UV light or sun rays over time, which will give them a hazy and ugly appearance. Another reason why headlights may look dirty is the presence of dirt, grime, and other road debris. When this happens, the headlights will look dull and will not also shine at night as they ought to. It is also easy for dirt to cake on either the inside or outside surfaces of the headlight especially when the vehicle has been kept parked for a long period.

What to do when you have a dirty headlight?

The best solution to any dirty headlight is cleaning the dirt with the use of recommended and safe cleaning agents to restore their previous shiny appearance. Luckily, many common household cleaning agents are applicable in this function. Again, sometimes, your vehicle headlights may not look bright enough not due to dirt per se, but mainly due to burnt light bulbs. When your headlights look dull or are not bright enough, you have the option of either changing the dead bulbs among them or upgrading the bulbs to ones that are primarily brighter, such as the newer LED bulbs that are cheaper, more long-lasting and also brighter too.

Available options you can use for your headlights cleaning

You can clean your vehicle headlights with abrasives such as toothpaste and careful scrubbing. You start by cleaning the headlights with Windex, soap, and water. Afterwards, use a clean piece of cloth to also scrub the headlight after applying a small quantity of toothpaste onto the wet surface of the headlight. In addition, a mixture of baking soda and toothpaste equally works impressively too in cleaning your headlights to what they once looked like when new. Simply pour about 5 spoonfuls of baking soda into a container and mix it with warm water to create a paste. Alternatively, after giving the headlights an initial shine, you should then apply the baking soda paste to your headlights using a corner of a sponge. Then, polish the headlights with a clean cloth in small circular movements.

In other instances, particularly if you have got a chunk of dust onto your headlights, you can effectively restore them with the aid of a strong and forceful spray of soapy water over its surface. Sometimes, oxidation could be behind your headlights looking off. In this situation, your best bet is to mix car shampoo with good liquid dish soap and water onto your CleanTools premium wash mitt until it starts to foam for an initial wipe down of the surface of the headlight. Next, you should mix some baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl or bucket, these substances mix readily by reacting with each other almost instantly. It is also common for some people to use WD 40 in making their headlights look new. Other cleaning substances very useful in this process are Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, Coca Cola, and so on. Therefore, the choice of which among all these to use in restoring your headlights is basically down to you, and they are many.

What to use on foggy headlights

For headlight fogginess, your best option is vinegar, which is a very useful item to use in removing dirt and any discolouration from the headlights. Also, you can wash grime and dirt from the surface of your headlights using vinegar spray on them. However, should the headlights become foggy or yellowed, you can also apply a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.

What to use on dull headlights

The best option in clearing dullness from your vehicle headlights is the removal of its coating and the application of a new protective coat. In addition to this, you can also clear headlight dullness using a gritty mixture of toothpaste and baking soda. Again, polishing agents such as Rain-X are equally very effective as well when it comes to eliminating any damage caused by UV light rays. It is also common to use abrasive substances like toothpaste and careful scrubbing. First, make sure that you clean the headlights with Windex or liquid soap and water. Afterwards, use a clean piece of cloth and rub a small quantity of toothpaste onto the wet headlight, but the toothpaste and baking soda mixture work most effectively.

What to use on hazy headlights

Hazy headlights are commonly reversed with the aid of a mixture of toothpaste and baking soda. Both of these products are abrasive enough to enable them to eliminate fog without leaving any scratches or damage on the headlights. You also have the option of using chemical agents like Rain-X too, especially when the haziness is secondary to UV light damage.

What to use on yellowed headlights

The cleaning of any yellowish headlight can be done satisfactorily with the aid of a little toothpaste on a soft and dry cloth that is rubbed in circular motions. Finally, you should rinse with water and wipe any leftover moisture with a wet-dry cloth too. Another method of removing yellowish colouration on headlights is through the use of denatured alcohol rubbed on the corner of a soft rag. Simply rub this solution onto the lens of the headlight, and repeat the procedure until this colouration is well removed.

What to use on black headlights?

When your headlights have turned black for whatever reasons, the best approach is to clean them up using a mixture of toothpaste and baking soda with water. You should rub some of the toothpaste on the lens of the headlights before you wipe it off with a clean piece of cloth.

What to use on cloudy headlights

The best remedy for cloudy headlights is the use of effective cleansers which are abrasive enough to make them effective against fog or dirt without causing any scratches or damage to the headlights. Other polishing compounds such as Rain-X can also be utilized.

What to use on discoloured headlights

Abrasives like toothpaste and lots of scrubbing will do just fine in removing any discolouration from headlights and their total restoration. First, clean the dirty headlights with Windex or soap and clean water. Next, with the aid of a towel, you should rub a fingertip of toothpaste onto the surface of the wet headlight before wiping it off with another clean cloth.

What to use to get faded headlights to look new again.

Like in the cleaning of most dirt from the surfaces of headlights, you can use toothpaste and repeated scrubbing in removing any signs of fading from your headlights. However, before you apply the toothpaste, you should wash the headlight with Windex or a mixture of soap and water. Next, with a clean towel, you should rub a small amount of the toothpaste onto the wet headlight. This should do it perfectly,  especially after adding a little polish to the headlight.

What to use to make your headlights brighter 

There are several things that you can use to make your headlights look brighter than they are. One, you can clean any dirt, grime, or debris, that is stuck on them. Secondly, you can also do other things to make them brighter such as upgrading the bulbs to the brighter and newer ones, which are also more power-efficient and cost-saving as well. Some of the newer bulbs you can upgrade to are either HID or LED bulbs. Furthermore, you can make your headlights brighter by cleaning them with a headlight restoration kit, or even when you retrofit the headlights or fog lights too. You can equally make your headlights brighter with the use of premium halogen bulbs too.

What to use to restore headlights after long use 

A most effective tool in headlight restoration after a long use involves the use of baking soda in a sort of bowl mixed with enough water to create a thick paste. After you might have cleaned the headlights with this mixture, you should then apply the baking soda paste to the headlights using the corner of a clean cloth or sponge. Finally, you should polish the headlights with the aid of a towel in small circular motions throughout.

What can you use to clean old headlights to make them new again?

As should be expected, the best option in restoring your headlights so that they look new once again is a mixture of any gritty or abrasive paste that will remove dullness without affecting the materials of the headlights in any way. Such mixtures should contain toothpaste, baking soda, and water. First, wash the headlights thoroughly before applying any good polish with a clean cloth that will give the headlights a very appealing final glossy look.

Is it possible to clean the inside of your sealed headlights?

Yes, it is very possible to clean the inside of your headlights and thoroughly too. To do this, you should first detach the headlights and set them apart. Thereafter, wash them with a good automotive soap. After having detached and unsealed the headlights, you should use a sponge and a good soap to wash the surface of the headlight as well as its interior surface very thoroughly.

How To Clean Headlights In Easy Steps


One way or another, your vehicle headlights are bound to become foggy either through dirt deposits on them or through the process of oxidation by natural sunlight. Luckily, it is a process that can be effectively reversed with the aid of commonly available household items such as toothpaste, baking soda, vinegar, water, and other cleaners made specifically for this.

Great care should be taken in doing this such that there will be no scratches or cracks left on the surface of the headlight. Regardless of what may be the cause of your headlights becoming foggy, or how long they have stayed so, the entire process is completely reversible, but while doing it, be sure to use only cleaning agents recommended by the manufacturers, lest you cause other damage to the headlights in the process.


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