15 Best Ways of How to Clean Headlights

Keeping your car’s headlights clean is crucial for both its appearance and safety. Over time, they can get cloudy or yellowed, which affects how well they light up the road ahead. This not only makes your car look less appealing but also reduces visibility, posing a risk to you and other drivers.

Remember, maintaining your car’s cleanliness extends beyond just the headlights. The entire exterior and interior should be regularly cleaned to preserve its look and lifespan. From the wheels to the engine, every part matters.

Here are some expert car cleaning tips to help you keep your headlights shining bright:

1. Baking Soda and Vinegar

Mixing baking soda and vinegar makes a strong cleaning mix that’s great for getting rid of dirt, grime, and oxidation on headlights.

Just combine equal amounts of baking soda and vinegar in a bowl, spread the mixture on the headlights, and scrub gently with a soft cloth or sponge. Afterward, rinse off the headlights with water and make sure to dry them thoroughly.

2. Toothpaste

Yes, toothpaste can also work wonders! Apply a small amount to a soft cloth or sponge, then gently scrub the headlights in circular motions. Rinse with water and repeat if needed.

3. Car Wax

Car wax isn’t just for your car’s paint; it can also help restore the clarity and shine of your headlights. Apply a bit of car wax to the headlights using a soft cloth or sponge.

Once it’s dry, buff it off with a clean cloth to remove any leftover wax. For more on car wax, you can check out our article.

4. Bug and Tar Remover

This specialized cleaner is perfect for tackling stubborn bug splatters and tar. Spray it on your headlights, let it sit for a few minutes, then wipe it off with a soft cloth or sponge. You might need to repeat this step for really stubborn spots.

5. Rubbing Alcohol:

Rubbing alcohol is an excellent cleaner for cutting through grime and dirt. Dip a soft cloth into some rubbing alcohol and use it to scrub your headlights gently. Finish off by rinsing with water.

6. Plastic Polish

If you’ve got plastic polish on hand, it can work wonders on headlights too. Apply a small amount to the headlights, rub it in with a soft cloth or sponge, and let it sit for a bit.

Then, buff it off with a clean cloth to remove any excess polish.

7. Dryer Sheets

Believe it or not, dryer sheets can help clean and shine up headlights. Just wet a dryer sheet with water, then use it to scrub the headlights gently. Finish by rinsing with water.

8. WD-40

WD-40 isn’t just for squeaky hinges; it’s also great for cleaning headlights. Spray some WD-40 on the headlights, let it sit for a bit, then scrub with a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse off with water afterward.

9. Sandpaper

For headlights that are really cloudy or yellow, you might need to use sandpaper. Use a fine-grit sandpaper to gently sand the headlights, then clean them using one of the methods mentioned earlier.

10. Lemon Juice

Fresh lemon juice can help lift dirt off your headlights. Squeeze some onto a clean cloth and rub it onto the headlights until they’re clean. Wipe away any leftover residue with a damp cloth.

11. Aluminum Foil

Grab some aluminum foil and cut it into strips. Use these strips to rub the headlights in circular motions, which can help remove dirt and grime.

Afterward, rinse off with warm water and make sure to dry the headlights completely.

12. Steel Wool

Use steel wool designed for plastic headlights to avoid damage. Rub it in small circles over the headlights until they’re covered, then buff with a microfiber cloth for added protection against dirt.

13. Car Wash Soap

Stick to car wash soap made for plastic headlights to prevent damage. Mix one part soap with two parts water in a spray bottle, spray it on the headlights, then wipe off with a microfiber cloth or paper towel.

14. Window Cleaner

Window cleaner is safe for headlights and helps remove dirt. Apply a few drops to a soft cloth or microfiber towel, then rub the headlights in small circles. Wipe off any leftover residue with a damp cloth.

15. Professional Cleaning:

If your headlights are really dirty or cloudy, consider getting professional help. Auto detailers and car washes offer specialized headlight cleaning services that can restore their clarity and brightness. They have different pricing and packages to choose from.


Keeping your car’s headlights clean isn’t just about looks—it’s crucial for safety and visibility while driving. The cleaning methods we’ve discussed are straightforward, effective, and easy to use, helping you maintain clear and bright headlights.

Remember, every car is unique, so you might find that some cleaning methods work better than others depending on your headlights and the level of dirt. It’s okay to experiment a bit to find what works best for you, but always be gentle to avoid damaging your headlights.

In addition to cleaning, protecting your headlights is important too. Park your car in a garage or covered area to shield it from the elements and try to avoid rough or off-road driving that could damage the headlights.

Regular cleaning and maintenance will not only keep your headlights looking good but also ensure they function well for years to come.

If you want a professional touch or a full car makeover, consider hiring a car detailing service. They offer expert cleaning for headlights and can transform the overall appearance of your car. Professional detailing can make your car look brand new again, so it’s worth considering if you want to give your car that extra shine.

How to Clean Headlights

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