How to clean your headlights

How to clean your headlights

Headlights become hazy or cloudy over time due to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays and built-up grime. This can be dangerous at night as it will lessen the intensity of light it produces. You need to clean them to salvage your lamps but are there ways to restore them by yourself? 

Fortunately, there is.


You read it right. Toothpaste not only whitens your tools for eating; they can also be used to clear out the haze on your headlights. This is because the oxidation on the headlamps are similar to what’s happening on your teeth. Albeit, your newly cleaned lamps may only remain clear for up to 4 to 6 months after using this method.

The steps are easy: just put on a generous amount of toothpaste onto a damp towel and wipe the lamps. Then you can just rinse it with clean water and you’re good to go.

Caution: Use the regular type of fluoride toothpaste only – not the ones with crystals or beads as this may scratch the surface upon rubbing.

Insect repellent

You may have not heard this before but you can use insect repellent in cleaning your lamps. Most insect repellents contain Diethyltoluamide or DEET. It’s an effective solvent that won’t harm the polycarbonate plastic of your headlight lens. Though like the toothpaste method above, this may only last for several months.

To use, spray the repellent on a dry cloth then wipe the lens until it becomes clear. You can then clear the excess repellant by wiping them off with a wet cloth.

Caution: The car’s paint might react to the insect repellant so avoid having them in contact with the fluid.

Dishwashing soap, baking soda, and vinegar

It may look like we’re baking some weird recipe but we’re not. Some people might not be familiar with this but the mixture of baking soda and vinegar is a natural cleaning agent for various surfaces. It can also clean your headlamps, along with some manual buffing.

You can start off by mixing the dishwashing soap with water. Use a clean cloth to apply it on the surface of the lens. After that, mix the baking soda and vinegar. You might see a chemical reaction but that’s completely normal and safe. Using the same cloth, apply the mixture generously and buff out the grime. Use a clean cloth to wipe off the excess mixture.

Metal polish

The use of metal polish isn’t restricted to metal surfaces only. It can also clean and remove fine scratches on your old and dirty headlamps. However, you might need to exert extra effort if you opt to use this method.

Begin by putting some metal polish on a dry clean cloth and apply it on the headlight lens in circular motion. Then, buff the dirt and scratches manually until it becomes clear. This may take some time but don’t worry, the lens will become clear as day.

All of these techniques can be done at home. Just take note of the pre-cautionary measures we mentioned and you’ll be fine. As a bonus, you can apply some car wax after the headlights dried so that your next headlight-cleaning duty won’t be too soon.