Up until the 80’s manufacturers used glass lens covers on vehicle headlights. The issue with glass lenses was that they chipped, cracked, and broke quite easily. To improve the problem, manufacturers made a switch from glass to polycarbonate or plastic. Unfortunately, everything comes with its own issues. Now consumers were facing oxidation issues caused by UV light, debris from the road, and atmospheric chemicals. This oxidation causes the plastic lenses to cloud over impeding the light from the headlights which can be hazardous for night driving.
Thus, many vehicle owners have to periodically clean and remove the oxidation to get their crystal clear lenses back. Luckily this process is not expensive and does not consume an extreme amount of your time. Here are a few methods for how to clean headlights.
Method 1: How to Clean Headlights Using Toothpaste
Things You Will Need
- Car Wax similar to Car Guys Liquid Wax
- Masking Tape
- A Soft Shop Towel
- A Sponge or Rag
Save yourself some time and gather your supplies to help expedite the process of how to clean headlights.
Next, use the sponge to give your lights a good, firm scrub down using some soap and water. Allow your lights to dry and look them over. Sometimes your headlights have gathered dust and grime from driving and only needed a good wash. However, if your lenses still look hazy, your headlights have indeed succumbed to oxidation.
Take your masking tape and use it to cover the area around the headlights. This will help protect any paint or chrome from being scuffed during the how to clean headlights process.
Put on your gloves to avoid contact with the toothpaste, especially if your skin is sensitive. Dip your soft cloth into warm water and add a peanut sized glob of toothpaste onto it. Firmly scrub your lights using a circular motion. The abrasive contents in the toothpaste will gently remove the oxidation. Depending on your oxidation severity, this may take several passes each lasting around five minutes.
Once you are satisfied with the clarity of the lenses, rinse the area well and allow them to air dry completely. You can then use car wax to help protect the lenses by applying a small amount with a soft shop cloth with small circular motions. Another quick rinse and you are finished.
Method 2: How to Clean Headlights Using a Market Polishing Kit
Things You Will Need
- Polishing Kit;
- Car wax if sealant is not included in the kit;
- Soft shop cloth;
- Masking tape;
- Dish soap if the kit does not include a cleanser;
- SSandpaper with a fine grit;
- Protective gloves to keep chemicals off of your skin.
Gather needed materials to help the process of how to clean headlights go smoothly.
Similarly to method 1, you will want to mask off the areas surrounding your headlights to ensure they are protected from accidental scuffing. Polish includes abrasive agents that will scratch paint or chrome accents during the scrubbing process. Thus, this step is going to ensure your surrounding surfaces are protected.
Wear gloves to protect your skin from coming in contact with any chemicals. Then, take your soft cloth and dampen it with water. Add some detergent, or if your kit included some type of cleaner you can use that. Go through the process of cleaning your lens surfaces. When you are finished, give it a good rinse off.
Once dry, you can do the next step of how to clean headlights by applying some of the included polishing compound using a soft cloth. Rub the compound onto the lenses in a circular motion. Do not rush through this step. Just like the toothpaste, you have to let the abrasive properties do their job. Thus, take at minimum 5 minutes to rub each light.
Take your fine grit sandpaper and wet it with cold water. This time using a sawing motion, rub the lenses with the wet sandpaper. Do not allow the paper to dry while you are using it. When you are satisfied with the results, rinse the grit and compound off the lenses thoroughly.
Finally, once the lenses have completely dried, apply some of the included sealant or protector to your lenses. If your kit did not come with any, car wax will work in the same way. Apply it using small circular motions with a soft cloth. Finish off with a quick rinse.
Cloudy headlights caused by oxidation is not only an eyesore, it can be dangerous for night driving too. Luckily there is a solution you can take care of easily at home. You can remove oxidation using household items or by purchasing a kit that includes everything you need to make your headlight lenses sparkle like new once again. These kits can be bought at a local auto parts store, supermarket, or online. They are inexpensive and easy to use.
Have you ever cleaned the cloudiness from your headlights? What method have you found to work effectively for you? Please leave any comments for other DIY-ers below.
Image source: depositphotos.com