Informational Guide

How To Clean Headlights

Want a clearer view when driving? Read our guide on how to clean headlights for maximum efficiency. We show tips and tricks to brighten your car.

Automotive headlights are designed to help you see clearly in low-light driving situations. However, even the best car headlights for night driving can become hazy and dingy. We will teach you how to clean headlights so you can see clearly again.

Over time, you might notice that your car headlights become foggy, cloudy, and yellowed. In some instances, it is just a matter of oxidation, which is easily cleaned off. There might also be flying debris that has contaminated the headlights.

You might even notice water vapor, which creates condensation and a foggy appearance. Finally, the chemicals and products you use on your vehicle might actually create a build-up on the headlights, leading to further dirt.

Thankfully, whatever the cause is, you can learn how to clean foggy headlights with just a few simple materials.

Why Cleaning Your Headlights Is Important

Why should you learn how to clean car headlights? First, this practice should be done often to keep visibility at its best. If you regularly clean the headlights, you make it easier to see further. While the first time after initially learning how to clean headlight lens covers might take some time, your subsequent cleanings should be easier.

With optimal visibility, you avoid common roadside accidents that occur when drivers are unable to see. These simple steps help you achieve a safer driver and see better, even at night. With a clear picture of what’s in front of you, there’s less of a chance that you will cause an accident.

Things You’ll Need For The Job

As you learn how to clean your headlights, you will want several products on hand. Here are a few to consider as you discover how to clean hazy headlights.

  • Masking tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Headlight polish
  • Headlight sealants
  • Cleaning rags
  • Work gloves

Of course, you can also learn how to clean headlights with toothpaste, how to clean headlights with WD40 or other household products.

classic car

Steps To Cleaning Headlights At Home


Apply painter's tape around your headlight frame before you begin the steps of how to clean headlight covers. While you might be able to apply abrasives directly to the headlight, you cannot do the same with your headlight frame. These parts are made from chrome or coated plastic, which are easily scratched.


You will want to learn how to clean plastic headlights with sandpaper. Begin with the most abrasive sandpaper, such as 1000-grit. Wet your sandpaper and use it in straight, horizontal strokes. Keep the surface wet as you sand for about five minutes. Slowly work through less abrasive sandpapers. Your final sanding should occur in the opposite diagonal movement.

Polishing & Wax

Do you know how to clean oxidized headlights by polishing and waxing them? After sanding, you will dry your headlights and put some polishing compound onto your microfiber towel. Spend a few minutes rubbing this compound onto the headlights in a circular motion. Once the headlight is clear, wax it just like you would your car.

Seal & Protect

Apply a UV sealant to the headlights as a protective layer that prevents oxidation and hazing. Apply your sealant in broad, sweeping strokes, ensuring that you get full coverage. Let the sealant fully cure before driving your vehicle. It’s often best if you can park in a garage or other dry location.

Cleaning Car Headlights With Different Agents

Clean headlights with Toothpaste

If you want a how-to clean car headlights home remedy, nothing works better than toothpaste. Use a damp cleaning cloth to get full coverage. It’s best to use an abrasive toothpaste, such as one with baking soda.

Clean headlights with Coca Cola

Do you know how to clean headlights with Coca Cola? Put the soda in a spray bottle and apply liberally to the headlights. After it sits for about a minute, wipe it clean with a microfiber cloth.

Clean headlights with wd40

You can also learn how to clean yellow headlights with WD40. Follow the same process as you did with toothpaste or soda to gain new visibility.

Clean headlights with bug spray

You can learn how to clean headlights with bug spray. As with other at-home solutions, apply your product liberally, rub it vigorously and dry completely for the best results.

How to clean headlights with baking soda/ Clean headlights with vinegar

You can learn how to clean foggy headlights with vinegar or baking soda simply by rubbing your solution onto the lens and removing it completely when finished.

Basic Guidelines on Headlights Care/Cleaning

If you have searched - how to clean my headlights – you’ve probably received a lot of advice, some good and some not-so-wise. Here are a few dos and don’ts that you need to follow as you learn how to make headlights clear.

  • Make sure you protect the other surfaces of your car. The vehicle’s paint cannot handle many of the abrasive products used for headlights
  • Wear protective gloves to keep your hands from irritation.
  • If you know how to clean headlights at home, you should often follow the practice to make the task less stressful.

With a little effort and some common sense, it isn’t difficult to learn how to clean your car headlights.


Tips to Keep Headlights in Clean & in Tip Top Shape

Once you understand how to clean cloudy headlights, you want them to always look their best. These preventative measures will help.

  • Park in a garage when possible.
  • Clean the headlights often.
  • Address yellowing or clouding at the first sign of trouble.
  • Use a polish and sealant on the headlight lens.
  • Replace the headlight lens if you can’t get it clean.
  • Give the headlights a good cleaning every time you wash your vehicle.
  • Make sure you dry the headlights completely after washing to avoid water spots and streaks.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How often should I wash my headlights?

Now you know how to clean headlights with vinegar, but how often should you do it. On average, it’s best to perform a deep clean every three months, but you can follow our steps any time you see yellowing or hazing.

How much does it cost to get a professional mechanic to clean my headlights?

Just because you know how to clear up headlights doesn’t mean you want to. You can hire a professional to detail the lights for about $100. Check with local shops in your area to get an estimate.

How do you get moisture out of a headlight without opening it?

You can learn how to clean inside of headlights without breaking the seal. Some people use compressed air or a hairdryer when exploring options of how to clean plastic headlight lens covers.

Do LED headlights fog up?

LED headlights are very different from halogen lights, so there is less chance of condensation build-up, but the assembly isn’t completely immune from it.


After learning how to make headlights clear again, there’s nothing stopping you from getting the visibility you deserve. As you investigate how to clear headlights, you need to pick the method that works best for you.