A Simple Trick for Restoring Car Headlights

Foggy or faded headlights aren’t just unsightly they can be a hazard. Less light gets through to illuminate the road and other drives may not see you or be able to correctly judge your distance correctly. Luckily there’s a great tip for clearing up your foggy headlights. Mechanic Chris Fix shows us that all you need to do is head to your bathroom and grab a bottle of toothpaste. With those simple tools, you’re ready to make your car headlights look like new again!

Before you get started, a couple of things: you’ll just want to make sure that the toothpaste is an actual paste (not a gel) and that it’s a bit abrasive. If it’s not, add some baking soda to the paste to give it that gritty texture. Then, just grab a spray bottle full of water, some wax, a clean cloth and a toothbrush to get started.

Materials

  • Toothpaste
  • Baking soda (if needed)
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Wax
  • Cloth
  • Toothbrush

Step 1: Add baking soda to your toothpaste if it’s not gritty enough for whitening. Once the paste is ready, use your hand to rub it thoroughly into the entire headlight.
Step 2: Use a toothbrush to really work the paste into the light.
Step 3: Spray the headlight with warm water. Use a cloth or paper towel to wash off the paste and dry the light entirely.
Step 4: Cover the headlight with wax to keep the plastic from quickly getting dingy again.
Step 5: Use your cloth to wipe off the wax entirely.

The layer of wax may seem random, but it’s crucial! The wax acts as a protective barrier which will keep your headlight clear for as long as possible.

Before you even get started cleaning, take a look at the headlight and give it a feel with your hand. If the headlight is smooth, the fogginess may be coming from the inside, which is something you most likely cannot fix on your own.

However, if the outside of the headlight is bumpy and you can see spots on the external glass, then this trick is exactly what you need!

Keep in mind that the older and more yellow your headlight is, the longer you’ll have to scrub the paste into the light. Depending on how dingy it was, you may even have to apply two coats of toothpaste to really restore your light to its former glory.

Although Chris doesn’t use it in this video, he mentions that using a Dremel (a small, hand-held power tool with a spinning brush on the end) may be helpful. However, if you don’t have this tool, good old fashioned elbow grease will do the trick! If you DO own a Dremel and you want to put it to work here, make sure you leave it on the lowest setting; turning it up too high might melt the plastic of your headlight.

What do you think of this cleaning trick? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This works on most headlights but others have so much haze built up you’ll need to see a professional or replace them altogether.