How to Clean Foggy Headlights

by Admin


Car headlights will naturally become foggy or yellow overtime from oxidization. Not only does this look bad but it lowers your visibility at night which can increase the chance for an accident. I will teach you some simple tips on how to clean foggy headlights and restore them back to showroom condition fast. The process is easy and involves some simple household products that you most likely already have at home.

How to Clean Foggy HeadlightsCleaning Headlights and Taillights

There are a lot of after market pastes and solvents out there to help restore hazy or yellow headlights. I find the following technique to be one of the best and the least expensive. I suggest you try this method quick before running off to the store to buy anything.

Materials Needed

  • Bucket
  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Clean cloth
  • Sponge
  • Bowl
  • Hose or water source
  • Small bowl

bucket of soapPrepare your headlight cleaning solution. Start by adding a gallon of warm water to your bucket and put in some dish soap. I always suggest a environmentally safe soap. In your bowl place roughly 5 table spoons of baking soda and enough warm water to form a paste. At this point you can head out side and we will begin to clean and polish your headlights.

Clean the headlights. Take your sponge and soapy water and begin to clean all of your headlights and taillights thoroughly. Remove all debris and bugs before preceding to the next step. It will help if you get the headlights wet first and allow them to soak for a couple of minutes before scrubbing them. Small circular motions will work best to clean them. Make sure to rinse off your headlights after your scrubbing removing all soapy residue.

baking sodaApply your headlight cleaning solution. Take you baking soda paste that you prepared and begin to apply to the headlights with the corner of the sponge. Baking soda is fairly inexpensive so be generous when applying your solutions to the lights.

Proceed to scrub and polish your headlights. With your clean cloth begin to polish your headlights in small circular motions. The baking soda will act as a buffing agent and begin to clear up your yellow headlights. The baking soda will also begin to soak up most of the oxides. You don’t need to apply a great deal of pressure as the baking soda does most of the work for you. Be careful not to apply any solvent or rub it on your paint around the headlight as the abrasiveness of the baking soda could dull your paint or cause swirls. Repeat this step a few times until you see the results that you want, and you will see them.

Rinse and clean off your headlights. When you have reached the desired results give your headlights a thorough rinse or you will end up with a white paste on them.  You may want to give them a once over with your soapy sponge one more time. The final step is to dry off your headlights and turn them on. Gaze into your cars new eyes with amazement! If you aren’t quite happy with the results repeat the steps another time or two.

headlight restoration kitsHeadlight Restoration Kits

A simple search for headlight restoration kits will give you dozens of products to try. I haven’t tried all of them but there are some great products on the market. I always suggest trying the methods above as some of these restoration kits can get expensive, but most of them do work very well. Restoration kits are very handy for chipped or scratched headlights as a simple cleaning won’t fix these problems. They also may be the only option if you are working on an old car and are finding it difficult to find replacement lenses.

Importance of Clean Headlights

Remember that your headlights not only help you see at night but help other see you. Headlights that aren’t functioning properly due to being yellow, cloudy or simply not working are a road violation resulting in a ticket and potentially an accident. Keep your car looking good and you may turn a few more heads while helping ensure your safety. Enough of the speech, happy cleaning.

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  • Rdogsdad

    I just bought a used 2002 Dodge Stratus this past week. Nice looking car, but the headlights were foggy and yellowish, making it look very old. Decided to try one of the products at my local Auto Zone. They had several, including 3M, Maguires, and Mothers. I chose Mothers. It comes with a polishing bonnet, that you put in your drill, a bottle of polishing compound, a microfiber towel, and 2 sanding pads each side labeled 1 thru 4 signifying a different grit. Just under $25.
    Started out using the polishing compound and my drill for several minutes. After rubbing it up with the towel, I was disappointed to see very little result, and figured that the damage was inside the lens and I’d have to spring for new ones. Thought I’d give the sandpaper a shot, since the lenses were going to be replaced anyway. Advice on this. Grab a cold one, crank up the radio, and take your time! Make sure you hit every surface of the lense with the paper. When you think your done with the first grit, go over it again and again before going to #2, and so on. Think I spent an hour on each lens, followed by the polishing compound. After buffing with the microfiber towel, I was blown away to see show room results!
    The 25 bucks was well spent, as I’m sure replacement lenses (if you can get them seperated from the headlight housing) would have been several times that much.

  • Pk P

    This worked! It really works, my headlights look almost like new!!!

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