How to Clean Headlights with Vinegar?

How to Clean Headlights with Vinegar

On a foggy day or dark night, the headlights are the parts of your vehicle that lets you go through them. As your car goes through many weathered conditions, the headlights have to face a lot. Thus, they develop fogginess or haziness on their outer or interior part. It doesn’t only ruin the look of your vehicle, but it drops the color of the lights to dim. Unfortunately, too dim lights may not even be legal in some places.

While most of us may think about replacing them in this situation, that is highly costly and effortful. Especially if it was a LED light, then that is a huge sum. But surprisingly, you can save yourself easily by using a cheap item known as vinegar.

Cleaning car headlights with vinegar is so easy, and the process can be done by anyone. Today, we will elaborate on the in-depth of its details and try to add any additional information necessary.

Advantages of Using Vinegar to Clean Your Headlights

If you have baking soda, toothpaste or vinegar in your household, which most of us already have, you can get these advantages-

  • These products are readily available in your home, so you don’t need extra time to get them.
  • They are cheaper than any professional cleaner on the market.
  • They are green products and won’t be harsh to the environment.
  • They don’t leave any residues or bad smells after cleaning.

Cleaning Car Headlights with White Vinegar

Follow this step-by-step process to restore the color of your vehicle headlights using vinegar.

1) Removing the Dust - For starters, remove the loose dust off the headlight using a soft piece of cloth.

2) Make Soapy-Water Mixture - Take a bowl and add liquid soap to it. Now, pour some water and make a thin solution.

3) Cleaning Headlight with Soap - Apply the soapy-water mixture on a soft cloth and rub it on the headlights. Let it sit for a few minutes. Afterward, wipe the soapy residue off using a dry microfiber cloth. Doing so should remove the grimes off the plastic or glass. Leave the soap for longer time in case the build-up is heavy.

4) Vinegar-Water Mixture - Make a solution where the ratio of water and white vinegar will be three by one. You can apply it on the headlights in any of two ways. In the normal way, you can apply the solution on a soft towel and rub the vinegar on the headlight.

Or, you can use a sprayer to spray the solution. Either way, make sure that the headlight’s outer part is covered with it. Leave it there for at least seven minutes. Then wipe the headlights using a clean cloth. This part will restore the whitening by removing the yellowish tint.

5) Vinegar-Baking Soda Mixture - If yellow tint still exists, repeat the previous step but use a different mixture. It should contain 2:1 of white vinegar and baking soda.

6) Final Touch - Once all of the earlier steps are over, you should use just water to give the headlights a final wash. Then, rub it off with a clean paper towel.

This process is the regular way to clean your headlights using vinegar. But there is another way that provides a better cleaning to them. We will get to it right away.

Cleaning Oxidized Headlights with Vinegar Wax

Unlike fogginess, which results in a cloudy headlight, oxidization provides more of a hazy appearance. It happens because of the debris, moisture, and UV-rays from the environment and sun. Now, we will explain the process of how to get rid of the oxidization on your headlights using vinegar.

Necessary Items:

Apple cider vinegar, carnauba wax, beeswax, and linseed oil.


  • Take two containers of the same size. You can use a double-boiler, which will be better.
  • Now it is time to make a mixture. It will contain-
  • Linseed oil: one sup.
  • Carnauba wax: four tablespoons.
  • Beeswax: two tablespoons.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Half cup.
  • Afterward, prepare the double boiler to boil some water and add the above ingredients into the boiling water.
  • Apply heat to the mixture and stir. Let them melt totally.
  • After melting them, mix them perfectly. Make sure that they are totally mixed.
  • Let it cool down. The result will be a solid mixture of wax and vinegar.
  • Apply the mixture to the headlight. Let it cool down for a while.
  • Scoop the wax off using a towel. Make sure to clean the entire headlight surface unless no residues are there.

This process should give your headlights a shiny look. It must be warned that you mustn’t let any wax stay on the headlight. It will result in a patch, and the waxes can attract more dirt in the future.

Why Does Vinegar and Baking Soda Mixture Work Against Fogginess and Oxidization?

Vinegar is an acidic item with a pH level of 3. Meanwhile, baking soda is alkalic that has a 9-pH level. When you combine them, you keep the acidic side prominent by adding more vinegar than baking soda.

In that case, they react, and the acid breaks down the baking soda. This reaction produces CO2. Carbon-di-oxide works wonder to lift dirt, grime, and many other mess types in a matter of five to ten minutes. The acidic property of vinegar helps it to be such an excellent cleaning agent that lots of manufacturers use in producing commercial cleaners.

White Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar?

To clean headlights, vinegar is a popular choice for everyone. However, many people get confused about whether they should go for white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Well, while both are excellent cleaners, each has its advantages. Here are the pros of using them-

Using apple cider vinegar - Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits and nutrients compared to white vinegar. When it comes to cleaning, apple cider vinegar leaves a fresh smell.

Using white vinegar - You may have noticed that white vinegar is in cleaning products more than apple cider vinegar. It is because white vinegar can lift and break down dirt and grime better and quicker than the latter.

However, these two aren’t the only vinegar types. There are cane vinegar, malt vinegar, or coconut vinegar. But none of them comes close to the cleaning ability of white and apple cider vinegar.

Other Headlight Cleaning Items

It is obvious that vinegar is not the only option you have in cleaning your headlights. Some other items that can help you in this process are-

All of them are easy to find, and they are also cheap to buy. You can also use special cleaners to clean headlights or contact an expert to detail your vehicle if nothing works.

Ending Note

The safety of your and your loved one is mandatory, and you should not neglect it. Cleaning your headlight takes only a few steps, but it prevents potential accidents. Not to mention, driving with a dim light at night may be illegal and can get you pulled over. So, clean them occasionally.

While cleaning, do not use any dirty cloth or water. The dirt from them can end up on the headlight, which can result in the opposite of what you have desired. Avoid leaving the vinegar, baking soda, or any item on your headlight for too long than necessary as the acidic or alkalic property can damage the plastic or glass. May your vehicle looks stylish with pairs of shiny headlights.

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