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The Best Way to Clean Headlights – A Guide on How to Clean Foggy Headlights at Home

Jun.16.2021
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cleaning foggy headlights

How to Get Rid of Foggy Headlights

If you want to know How to clean foggy headlights, you’ve come to the right place. Foggy headlights are unsightly and sometimes even potentially dangerous. If you’ve got a car with foggy headlights, and you’re worried about being able to see in front of you on a dark road or simply want to make sure your car is clean and in tip-top shape, you will be pleased to find out that fixing foggy headlights can be simple, inexpensive and quick. We’ve got you covered with this helpful article on the best ways to restore headlights including an easy foggy headlights home remedy and a step-by-step instruction guide on cleaning foggy headlights.

Why Do Headlights Get Foggy?

So if you are reading this article you know that headlights tend to get foggy after a while, but you might not know why this happens in the first place. That yellowish glow that comes with your dim and fogged-up headlights comes from a reaction between the kind of plastic in the housing of your car’s headlights and the sun. Over time, the sun’s rays degrade the plastic and mix with particles and debris on your car to make that fogginess that you see on your car’s headlights. This can be dangerous because it can prevent you from being able to see to your best ability at night, and if you’re a person with less than perfect night vision, you really want to have your car’s headlights doing their job right. Why would cars be made with a kind of plastic that gets foggy in the sun? Isn’t this a safety hazard? Cars used to be made with thick glass that wasn’t as susceptible to this kind of fog, but these days they are made with thick plastic. The reason that they use this plastic to make the housing for headlights is that the plastic itself is a lot more scratch and damage resistant than the glass that used to be used on older cars. While having foggy headlights is annoying and could potentially make your headlights less functional, the solution of cleaning your headlights is a lot easier than fixing or replacing the glass.

What to Use to Clean Foggy Headlights

why do headlights get foggy

There are three main solutions that can be used to clean foggy headlights: toothpaste, baking soda, or a store-bought solution to clean headlights. The most low-cost way to do things is to use toothpaste or baking soda, but whatever you decide you will also need painter’s tape, soap, water, a microfiber cloth, a scrub brush, and if you have sensitivity to abrasive chemicals you might be well off with a pair of rubber gloves for protection. Note that if you are choosing to use toothpaste, you will want to buy a brand that doesn’t have any fancy crystals or bells and whistles. You want a basic brand to do the trick without scratching or damaging your headlights.

Clean Foggy Headlights DIY

The easiest way to clean foggy headlights is to do it at home with things that you probably have in your medicine cabinet or pantry. If you are going to use baking soda, you will have to add a bit of water to your baking soda bit by bit to make it into a paste. When doing this you will want to make sure that your paste doesn’t have any thick or hard bits in it and that it is a smooth homogeneous mixture so that no sharp bits scratch your headlights. You will need enough baking soda or toothpaste to cover the entirety of your headlights. Now for the instructions:

  • The first thing that you will want to do is wash your headlights and the front of your car. Washing your headlights first is important to clean off excess debris or anything that could scrape your headlights in the cleaning process. Simply use your soap and water for this step.
  • Once you have washed your headlights completely, dry them off thoroughly. This step is important because your next step is to use your painter’s tape, and it won’t stick on correctly if the surface is too wet.
  • Next, use painter’s tape to tape around the housing of your headlights so that you do not get any toothpaste, baking soda paste, or car headlight cleaner on any other part of your car but the headlights. If you wish to also clean your directional, you can include those, but the most important part is the headlights.
  • Once your headlights are taped off, apply your toothpaste, baking soda paste, or headlight cleaning solution to your headlights in a thick and even layer
  • Let the solution sit for a few minutes to do its thing
  • Once a few minutes have passed, use your scrub brush to scrub small and hard circles to clean and defog your headlights.
  • Rinse any excess paste off with a hose or a bucket of water and then dry your car

The next step is to sit back, relax and marvel at how easy it can be to restore foggy headlights.

What Is the Best Way to Clean Foggy Headlights?

fixing foggy headlights

While toothpaste or a baking soda mixture might be the most cost-effective and easy way to clean your headlights, these DIY at-home hacks aren’t necessarily the best cleaner for foggy headlights. If you aren’t on a budget, and you want the most possible effective cleaner for your car’s headlights, there are kits that you can purchase from general stores and car garages that will help you get the cleanest finish possible, sometimes with less effort and elbow grease required than if you were simply using toothpaste or a baking soda solution. If you have a really fancy car like a Mercedes or a Bimmer, you might not be interested in using cheap solutions like baking soda or toothpaste. The important thing to remember is that if you are on a budget, or you’re simply careful with your dollar, it might be in your best interest to try the less expensive options first to see how well they clean your headlights before investing in a more expensive kit and harsher chemicals. After all, what is a few bucks spent on arm and hammer going to do to your budget if it doesn’t end up doing the most sparkling and perfect job? It’s better to try these things first and see if your elbow grease and effort can get your headlights to sparkly satisfaction before investing in anything more costly.

If even after learning about the best way to clean fogged headlights at home you’re still not convinced that you can do it, you can always ask a mechanic or a person with experience in cars to do it for you for a fee. If you don’t like getting your hands dirty or covered in toothpaste, getting another person to do it is always an option, it just might be more expensive.

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