How to Clean Taillights?

A high amount of dust and particles accumulate on the surface of your vehicle taillight as time passes. Especially if you are more into off-roading like me, you should focus on cleaning your headlights and taillights more often.

Luckily, cleaning your taillights requires almost the same method as the headlights. You can do it with simple items like toothpaste, sandpapers, or Coca-Cola. I added some of the most effective ways for this task here. Rest assured, the processes are pretty easy.

Cleaning Taillights Using Sandpapers

Perhaps one of the most common methods people use on their taillight cleaning task is to use sandpaper, which works so well. However, I have to be extra careful during it, as too much sanding may leave scratches on my taillights. Also, I highly recommend polishing the taillight afterward, even though it is not mandatory.

What We Need

For this task, you should prepare the following items-


  • Start with cutting the sandpaper to a size that is most suited for you to hold. It should depend on the size of your hand.
  • Put masking tape near the taillight’s edges if you worry about damaging the paints around it.
  • Wet the surface of the taillight. Also, dip the sandpaper into water.
  • Sand your taillight for a minute gently. Don’t apply too much force, and don’t focus on one spot for too long. Make sure to keep the sandpaper and the taillight wet once a while during the process.
  • Afterward, take the polishing kit. Apply it to the surface of the taillight. I usually apply two dollops. However, make sure to follow the instruction on the polishing kit here.
  • Use a buffing pad and buff the taillight. It actually has benefits. Sanding taillights, even carefully, may leave tiny scratches. Polishing the surface can remove them.
  • Wipe the taillight surface with a soft dry cloth to remove any excess water or residue.

There you go! Enjoy the clean look on your taillights. I should mention that using sandpapers on your taillights can remove any previous tints or protectants on the surface. So, you may need to apply those items again.

Cleaning Taillights Using Toothpaste

You only will require the toothpaste that you use regularly. However, avoid the gel types. Take the toothpaste, a towel, buffing pad, or toothbrush, and a clean cloth. Then follow these steps-

  • Clean the taillight with water at first. Then keep it wet.
  • Apply the toothpaste to the taillight surface. The amount should be three times much than what you use for your teeth.
  • Use the towel or toothbrush to rub the toothpaste on the surface evenly. Don’t keep the toothpaste on a single spot for too long. If you notice the toothpaste drying up, you can apply a little water to it. Using a buffing pad for rubbing will quicken the process.
  • Keep rubbing until the toothpaste almost vanishes.
  • Finally, use a clean cloth to wipe the surface of the taillight. Then, if you notice any missed spots, you can go over them again.

Note that using baking soda, instead of toothpaste works the same.

Cleaning Taillights Using Coca-Cola

If you have some Coca-Cola in your refrigerator, it can be a potent item for your taillight restoration. However, make sure to use the right Cola. I recommend 7UP or any cola without too much acidity or stickiness. Also, while using Coca-Cola can be easy, know that it is not a permanent solution, and the messes may return soon. So, use it for the time being and make sure to provide a proper cleaning later using a cleaning agent or sandpaper. Anyway, prepare the following items-

  • Coca-Cola
  • Two pieces of clean cloth.
  • Warm water.

Steps to Follow-

  • Use a piece of clean cloth to wipe the surface of the taillight. You can also use soap and warm water to clean it if the build-up is too much.
  • I recommend putting masking tape around to avoid the Cola from reaching the paint around the taillight.
  • Apply the Coca-Cola on the taillight. The most convenient way is spraying it using a sprayer.
  • Leave it there for nearly 12 minutes.
  • Afterward, use the other piece of clean cloth to wipe the Coca-Cola off the taillight surface. If you notice any mess still, repeat the process.

Cleaning Taillights Using a Cleaning Agent

You can find commercial cleaning agents on the market specific to plastic cleaning. Using them to restore your taillights is one of the best methods as it can clean even the most stubborn messes.

What We Need

  • A cleaning agent. I recommend one that combines a cleaner, polisher, and protectant. It can rid you of adding an additional protectant or polisher afterward.
  • A clean towel.


  • Wipe any debris off the taillight first using a cloth.
  • Then, spray the cleaning agent on the taillight surface. Don’t spray so little, lest it could drip down.
  • Let it sit for around seven minutes.
  • Afterward, rub the surface using a clean towel.

Your taillights should shine as new now.

Professional Cleaning

If you notice that your entire vehicle is looking dirty and messy, you can opt for a professional cleaning. It will guarantee a natural shine of your car, giving it a showroom look. Of course, that includes the taillight too. It may cost quite a sum, though.

Final Note

Your taillight should stay in the top shape, just like your headlights. While the taillights may not be for illuminating the road ahead to let you see, it is still vital for the light to come out of them unblocked. It keeps both you and other drivers safe.

Note that you can clean your taillights using the same way and items as your headlights. Hence, when you search for cleaning agents for your taillights, you may only find ones for the headlights. But, it is okay; you can go for those.

Hopefully, my cleaning guide for vehicle taillight ended your problem.

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