How to Restore Your Car’s Headlights- 5 Most Effective Ways!

restoring headlights

Haze and yellowish color appeared on your car’s headlights? -Don’t worry, follow our ultimate DIY guide and you will get a quick solution for your problem.

Headlights are an important component of every vehicle since they allow us to safely drive during the night or in foggy weather. Like every car, part headlights can also become less and less efficient the more you use them. To keep them running longer and prevent spending on a new pair of headlights, you should consider performing this maintenance.

This process can help with cloudy lenses, remove scratches, improve visibility and vehicle safety as well as enhance the appearance of your vehicle. Although, a headlight restoring process can take some time, depending on the approach you take, it is still a more cost-efficient solution than replacing your headlights.

How to clean your car’s headlights

Wet sanding your headlights

This method gives permanent results and because of that, it takes a lot of time and effort. Before attempting this headlight cleaning method remember that your vehicle will need to stay put for at least 24h.

Materials you will need to perform Wet Sanding method

  • polishing compound
  • buffing machine
  • spray can of gloss clear coat for UV resistant and non-yellowing plastic.
  • spray bottle filled with warm water
  • scissors
  • blue painter’s tape
  • low or no lint paper towels
  • rubbing alcohol
  • 2000/ 3000 grit sandpaper
  • 3 pieces of 600 and 400 grit sandpaper

1. Start by taping around the headlight with the painter’s tape – make sure you have a good seal. Then proceed by drenching the headlights with the 400 grit sandpaper. Keep the headlights and sandpaper wet during this process. Using very little pressure move the sandpaper in a large circular motion whilst spraying the lens with water.

After a short period of time start with a horizontal movement and after some time spray the headlights one last time without using the sandpaper and wipe the lens.

paper tapping headlights

2. Repeat the same process with the 600 grit sandpaper but apply a little bit more pressure this time. Then with 2000/ 3000 grit sandpaper but with light pressure. During this make sure you get around the edge of the headlights.

wet sanding car's headlights

3. Polishing compound is applied after you’ve sanded the headlights. This is done by putting some of the compound on a clean microfiber cloth and then applying the compound in a circular motion.

Do this for about several minutes and finish off by buffing out the headlights and wiping off the stray compound. You can also use a rubbing compound which is applied the same way as a polishing compound but it is not as fine or gentle.

4. Wipe the lens with some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel.

wiping the headlights with paper towel

5. Apply headlights protection spray and wipe the headlights. Do not expose your car’s headlights to sun in the next 24 hours.

protective coat for your headlights

How to clean car headlights using bug spray

This is a temporary fix that makes use of a towel and a bug spray. The bug spray is applied on the towel and then on the headlights. After you’ve applied rinse any residue from the headlights.

The bug spray will melt the outer layer that makes the cloudy look of the headlights but within a month or so the dull appearance will resurface. This is not a recommended solution but it is a quick and easy way to get instant results.

How to clean car headlights with toothpaste

Unlike bug spray, cleaning your car’s headlights with toothpaste isn’t going to damage them if you use it directly onto them. Make sure you are using regular toothpaste that contains baking soda for a longer-lasting headlight car fix. Start by applying a solid coat of toothpaste and then rub it in a circular motion using a toothbrush.

This should take about 5 to 10 minutes and follow by rinsing the headlights with warm water. Repeat the above steps as much as needed to get better results. When you have the headlights clean and the plastic fully dry add a coat of wax on it and after it dries off buff it out.

How to clean car headlights with baking soda & vinegar

More household items can be part of headlight restoration. Baking soda together with vinegar makes for an excellent combination. For this, you’ll need the toothbrush again and a microfiber cloth to rub in the vinegar and baking soda either together or separately on the headlights.

The naturally abrasive properties of the baking soda will release any grit and grime on the surface of the plastic. Like other low-cost alternatives, this one will also only last for a certain period of time depending on how much the plastic has oxidized.

Headlights restoration kits

You can always go for restoration kits which have included instructions, supplies, and products for you to use without having to go out and get each and everything by yourself. Remember not all kits will have the same compounds and wax paste though.


All headlight cleaning methods we have presented you above are effective and should help you. We definitely recommend the wet sanding method, It requires effort and costs a lot more but gives the best possible results.

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