How to Clean Headlights Step by Step (3 methods)

Foggy headlights can be the #1 thing that can ruin your car’s reputation and look. Most people often think that fixing foggy headlamps is challenging and impossible, but that is not always the case. In this post, we’ll take you through a step-by-step procedure on how you can restore your headlights to make them look as good as new. But before we can get there, let’s get to know what causes foggy headlights.

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What makes the headlights to be foggy?

In simple words, the reaction that occurs in the environment makes a car’s headlights foggy and traps a yellowing or opaque white haze on them. Here are some of the things that make the headlight foggy.

  • The outside layer of the headlights’ covers oxidizes with the oxygen in the environment to develop a layer of opaque material that causes the headlamps to be foggy.
  • When a car operates in a high-temperature environment makes the headlights’ covers react with a wide range of environmental agents, making the headlamps foggy.
  • Headlamps have an age limit, and after that, the material making it goes through autolytic changes, turning foggy.
  • If the seals are breached during assembly, dust and water may start to enter inside the headlamp, causing it to turn foggy from the inside.

Dangers of having foggy headlights

Foggy headlamps not only make your car look bad, but they also become a danger to its environment. Here are some main reasons why it’s not recommended to drive in a car that has foggy headlamps. These things are essential to learning before learning the best home ready solution to restore your foggy headlight.

  • Foggy headlamps can’t put out sufficient light to enable you to drive at night
  • Fogginess also disrupts the light distribution of the headlights, and you find that the light passes out an angle, which may be very dangerous to other drivers
  • The foggy headlamps take in energy from the light and be very hot, which can temper with the headlight itself
  • Foggy headlamps reduces the value of your vehicle if you wish to sell it

How to restore headlamps

Before starting to clean your headlamp, you need to confirm if a coating brings the fogginess on the outside of the headlamp or the inside. If the problem is external, you can leverage one of the four following methods to clean your headlights.

Cleaning Headlights using Toothpaste

The most straightforward answer here is – use Toothpaste. But it is important to note that this option isn’t fully opaqued-out.

Here is out this option works:

  • Mix contents of shampoo in water and channel it to a sprayer bottle
  • Spray the headlamps using soapy water and clean them to ensure any grime or dirt is removed.
  • Put great content of Toothpaste into a piece of clean cloth and smear it on the headlamp.
  • Smear it in a circle, and be sure to cover every section of the headlight
  • Use about 5 to 10 minutes on every headlight and ensure to use as much Toothpaste and water as possible to enable it to have a stable lather on the headlamp.
  • Now, rinse the headlight using clean water, and you may use car wax to coat the headlamp with a thin protective layer to ensure no future fogginess occurs.

Note: This method is for moderately affected headlamps, and you need to apply it at the end of the procedure to prevent future damages. Try these other options if your headlamps are pretty messed up with and the Toothpaste is not working.

Cleaning headlamps for mild to strongly affected headlights

If your foggy headlamps are excess for the Toothpaste to handle – worry less. You need to introduce the following options. The trick here is very easy and simple. First, you need to get rid of the layer of the affected plastic, shine the headlamp, and avoid future degradation to the highest level possible.

Here are some things that you’ll require to make cleaning and restoration hassle-free:

  • 3 to 4 low lint wiping cloths
  • Fine-grit car polish
  • Masking tape
  • Soapy water with a sprayer
  • Vinyl/plastic gloves

The below procedure takes you through how to clean your headlamps that’s more than mildly hazy:

  • Spray the headlamps using soapy water and wipe them using a dry clean cloth to get rid of any stain or dirt
  • Apply the car polish on the headlamps and rub it into it using a cloth – do it for no less than 5 minutes
  • Spray the headlights using soapy water and wipe them to get rid of any excess polish
  • Apply car wax on the headlamp to make them protected from any future damage

If this method doesn’t work for you, you need to go to the next step. Let’s now find out what you can use to clean the headlights that don’t respond to anything.

How to clean very hazy headlights

Each time you see the headlights of a car covered with lots of white and yellow coating, you should opt for other cleaning methods. If the above methods do not work for you, you can look for these components to help you out. This includes car wax, soapy water in a spray bottle, sandpaper, and a low lint wiping cloth.

This method could be tiring, but it is one of the simplest. All you need to do is wipe the affected layer and seal the headlights to avoid damage.

This is what you need to do:

  • Spraying the headlights with soapy water and cleaning them to remove any dirt particles.
  • Using 400 grit sandpaper, you need to sand the headlights to remove the foggy layer. Here, you should ensure that you use the right amounts of soapy water
  • Switch to using finer 1000 grit sandpaper then 3000 grit to sand these headlamps until they are very smooth to touch.
  • Here, you will have your headlamps looking scratchy, rough, and hazier, but you should never worry because it is part of the process.
  • Apply the car polish on the headlamps and rub them for some minutes. The headlamps will return to being shiny like before.
  • Finally, you can apply the wax to seal the headlamps to avoid future discoloration or haziness completely.
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