How to Clean Foggy Headlights

After thoroughly cleaning your car inside out and giving it a nice car wash you might have noticed that something still seems off. Then you realize that the headlights shine dimmer and appear foggy. It is a good idea to make it a habit to routinely clean your car’s headlights. This gives it an overall cleaner look and helps with visibility by allowing the headlights to shine bright.

What causes headlights to get cloudy?

Over time dust, air pollution and dirt accumulate on top of a car’s headlights. This along with UV rays from the sun constantly hitting the plastic material of the headlights causes them to get cloudy.

There are a few ways clean foggy headlights depending on how much effort you are willing to put in and what materials you already have.

Method 1: Headlight Restoration Kit

Time required: ~30 mins

The simple and most effective way to clean foggy headlights is definitely getting a headlight restoration kit. These kits are designed specifically for this task and include all the materials needed to properly clean your car’s headlights without any gimmicks involved. That being said, this method will ask a bit more effort from your part since it involves a few extra steps.

The “how to” of using a headlight restoration kit will depend on the specific kit you decide to use. Generally these kits include sandpaper, microfiber towels, polishing paste and UV protective liquid. Simply follow the steps indicated on the kit you receive and your foggy headlights will be squeaky clean in no time.

If you would like some recommendations, check out this article I did on the best headlight restoration kits available on the market.

Article: Best Headlight Restoration Kits – Top 3 in 2018

Method 2: Sand and Polish

Time required: ~20 mins

If you already have some of the materials which are needed laying around your house then you might be better off using them instead of purchasing an entire new headlight restoration kit. The 2 essential materials you will need will be sand paper and any car polish. An optional item to have is masking tape to protect any surrounding areas.

Having 2 or 3 different grits of sandpaper is the best way to go to ensure getting rid of the micro scratches on your headlights. A spray bottle will come handy to splash and rinse the headlights when needed.

How to:

Step 1 – Use masking tape around your car’s headlights to make sure you don’t accidently damage the surround areas which we don’t want to sand.

Step 2 – Splash the headlights with water to rinse them of dirt then dry with a towel.

Step 3 – We will be sanding starting from the coarsest grit to the finest. This means starting from the lowest number you have to the highest, for example 1000 then 2000. Take your first sandpaper, wet it and sand using a side to side motion. Make sure the headlights are slight wet during the sanding process. Sanding for 2 to 3 minutes, repeat this process with each grit of sandpaper.

Step 4 – Apply polishing agent using any cloth and rub in a circular motion for 2 to 3 minutes.

Step 5 – Rinse the headlights and dry with a towel

Method 3: Toothpaste

Time required: ~10 mins

Although not as effective as the previous 2 methods toothpaste still does the job. You can use toothpaste to clean your foggy headlights as a cheaper, temporary solution.

How to:

Step 1 – Splash the headlights with water to rinse them of dirt then dry with a towel.

Step 2 – Apply a good amount of toothpaste to a clean towel then rub it on your car’s headlights using a circular motion for 4 to 5 minutes. Add more toothpaste if you feel the initial amount is not enough to cover the headlights.

Step 3 – Rinse thoroughly with water and towel dry

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