How to Clean Headlight Lenses with Household Items

The headlights stay highly susceptible to all kinds of messes from the road as they stay at the front of the vehicle. Not only the debris and liquids but many particles from the air and UV-rays are also why your headlights look dull.

Even ones with weatherproof level IP67 or IP68 can also get messy over time, thanks to being close to the street all the time.

Fortunately, it is as easy for them to get dirty as to clean them. While many of us think of going for expert helps or getting pricy cleaners, it is possible only with some household items.

Check how to clean headlights lenses with household items here and keep yourself safe on the road.

Cleaning Headlight Lenses with Everyday Household Items

Below, we have explained the verities of ways one can clean their car headlights. And each of them uses only items that you most probably have in your home right now. So, no worries about having to buy anything.

Dish Soaps and Water

Now, the dish soap at your kitchen sink will have a new purpose. There are two ways you can approach this headlight cleaning method. One is for minor clean-up, and the other is for heavy build-ups. Let’s get to the first method.

What We Need

  • Dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Microfiber cloth


Make a solution by mixing dish soap and water. Once evenly mixed, take a cloth and dip it into the mixture. Rub it onto the headlight lens in a circular motion. Soapy water won’t ruin the paint around. Afterward, rinse with warm water and let it dry.

Here is the other method for stubborn messes-

What We Need

  • Dish Soap (2 tablespoons)
  • Warm water (6 cups)
  • Salt (2 tablespoons)
  • Sponge


Evenly mix everything. The salt must be properly dissolved. Use the sponge to dip in the mixture and rub it onto the entire headlight surface. Once you finish, rinse both headlight lenses with warm water. The salt increases the abrasiveness of the solution, making it more effective in breaking down the grime and debris.

Toothpaste and Toothbrush

We all should have toothpaste and some disposable toothbrushes at home. The Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in toothpaste can work its way through stubborn grime and fogginess. The procedure is also simple yet effective.

Necessary Items

  • Any toothpaste of the white type
  • A toothbrush
  • Coldwater
  • Clean Towel.


  • At first, make sure that the headlights are not warm.
  • Give them an initial cleaning with pure water.
  • Apply some toothpaste to the toothbrush. Brush the headlights with any random motion until their entire surface is covered with it.
  • You can leave it there for 2-3 minutes. But if the fogginess is too high, we suggest brushing it for that time period. The paste will turn yellowish after some brushing.
  • Use the towel to wipe the headlights.
  • Give them another final cleaning with pure water and let them dry. Enjoy the shine looks.


Coca-Cola works slower than toothpaste or vinegar, but it is highly effective. It contains citric acid that can tackle stains and phosphorus acid, which is ideal for rust. Coca-cola is pretty excellent at removing debris and oxidization build-ups. It works especially fine on plastic/polycarbonate lenses.

What We Need

  • A can of Coca-Cola. Diet Coca-Cola is better as there won’t be as much sugar to make the headlights sticky.
  • Some microfiber cloths.
  • Water


  • Give your headlights a wash with water and wipe away with a microfiber cloth.
  • Use a sprayer to spray the Coca-Cola on the headlight or rub it by soaking a cloth into the coke.
  • Rub/spray the entire headlight and leave for 10 minutes.
  • Wipe it with a clean cloth. If the headlight is sticky, give it a clean with dish soap and water.
  • It may require a repeat of the entire process for heavy oxidization until the headlight is totally clear.

Bug Spray

Do you have a can of bug spray in your home? It will come in handy in cleaning your headlights. Bug sprays contain DEET that melts the fogginess from the outer part of the lenses. You can use bug sprays on other plastic surfaces too.

What We Need

  • A can of bug spray. Make sure it hasn’t reached the expiry date.
  • A soft towel.
  • A paper towel.


Spray the bug spray on the soft towel. Don’t spray it on your car headlight directly. Rub the bug spray onto the surface using the towel. Dip the paper towel in the warm water and use it to rinse the excess.

Keep in mind that bug spray is a temporary cleaning item and won’t keep your headlights shiny for a long time. The DEET will go away after around a month, and the headlight can get cloudy again.

Vinegar and Cooking Spray

Vinegar is one of the best household items to remove all types of build-ups from the headlights. It has acidic properties that can restore their shine. While apple cider vinegar works too, white vinegar is the best kind for cleaning.

Apple cider vinegar is only good for cleaning surfaces that you want to smell good. Meanwhile, cooking spray is great at tackling scratches as it smoothens the lenses and covers. Following the instructions below can return your headlights to their showroom look.

Materials Needed

  • White vinegar
  • Cooking spray
  • Water
  • Mildly-abrasive sponge
  • Clean, soft cloth


  • Remove the headlight cover and lenses from their housing by opening the hood and unscrewing them.
  • Dip the lens into white vinegar leave for an hour.
  • If the headlight lenses have no scratches, you can rub them with the sponge, dry them, and install them.
  • If there are scratches, then instead of rubbing with sponges, rinse them with water.
  • Dry it with a soft cloth. Make sure not to use a rough one that may even put more scratches on the lenses.
  • Spray the cover with a cooking spray.
  • Afterward, buff it with a soft cloth.

Denatured Alcohol

Denatured alcohols are products you probably already have in your bathroom cabinets to clean various surfaces. They work excellently for cloudiness and yellowish plastic headlights too. The best thing is that you won’t need to make any solution.

Necessary Materials

  • Denatured alcohol
  • A clean rag
  • Water


First, you need to wash the headlight lenses with soapy water and rinse. Let them dry. Afterward, take a clean rag and dip a part of it into the denatured alcohol. Then rub it on the headlights until the yellowish hue disappear. Use water to rinse and let it dry again.

Final Note

None of the headlight cleaning methods above should consume much of your time. That way, they are both cost and time-effective compared to professional restoration. Well, expert help will guarantee total cleanliness, though.

After cleaning the lenses, you must apply a layer of polishing compound and UV sealant on the headlights. As vulnerable they are, headlights can easily get cloudy, foggy, oxidized, or scratched again.

You should also clean the interior side of the headlight lenses. If you notice water formed inside the lenses, remove them. A messy headlight is something that you shouldn’t ignore. It will make your journeys safer. An intense amount of cloudiness is also illegal, and the vehicle may fail state inspection.

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