How to Clean Car Headlights

30.01.2019
How to Clean Car Headlights

How to Clean Car Headlights ➤ With Toothpaste ➤ With a Proper Kit ➤ Using Sandpaper ➤ Preparing Steps ✅ Informative and useful article ☝

During use of vehicle headlights are exposed to constant mechanical effect. Small stones, which are going out from vehicles ahead, dust, mud and insects can hit it.

Plastic of lighting unit can suffer from touch free washing. Such car care leads to appearance of residue. As result good and transparent plastic or glass headlights become dull and grow yellow. But also, headlights can collect dirt from inside. The reason of it can be improperly sealed shroud or poorly glued polycarbonate after replacement of bulbs. Thus, dust and moisture are getting inside. In this case headlight should be dismantled or professional should be applied.

There are minimum two significant reasons why headlights should be kept in good shape:

  • Dirty headlights are lighting poorly even if headlamps are OK, and create danger of accident. In fog, atmospheric precipitation or in darkness, driver badly sees the road and traffic signs without proper lighting.
  • The car with dull headlights looks modest.

Here are 5 simple best ways how to clean car headlights and restore its crystal purity.

How to Сlean Сar Hadlights With Toothpaste

If you are going to return shine and transparency of car headlights DIY without great expenses — use ordinary toothpaste of any manufacturer. The only thing you have to pay attention – the paste shouldn’t have gel in its basis.

Except toothpaste tube you will need the following:

  • Wide sticky tape;
  • Clean water;
  • Specific detergent removing fat impurities, laundry powder or soap solution;
  • Towel or thick paper napkin;
  • Brush of mid rigidity.

If you would like to speed up the process, you can use electric drill with fabric tip. First it is necessary to clean headlight from dirt and dust and then dry it. Then apply sticky tape to all rubber sealings and metal parts. It will protect it from damage by abrasives. With the help of de-oiler remove firm spots from headlights.

After that apply toothpaste to the surface and spread it via circle movements with the help of napkin, brush or drill with fabric tip. It should be performed till vanishing of scratches or it become less seen. If you are using drill please avoid overheating of glass or plastic.

In the end of polishing, remove toothpaste residuals from the surface and wipe it dry. The disadvantage of such procedure is short-lasting effect. And in half a year or even couple of months it is necessary to repeat the procedure.

How to Clean Car Headlights with a Proper Kit

If you don’t want to use DIY methods ― there are a lot of goods on market, designated for cleaning and polishing headlights. These agents can have liquid or solid basis.

The car polish and headlights cleaners with liquid basis are manufactured with the use of water, oil or spirit. That ones with solid base can contain alumina, silica or diamond dust. Agents with solid base have got high abrasive level and fit for removing of serious contamination.

To choose professional polish for headlights you have to consider type of material which should be processed and difficulty of damages. Polish for headlights, besides removing dust and small scratches, also restore transparency and shining. Such agents include the following:

  • Magic Liquid — Headlines Lens Restored
  • 3M Headlight restoration kit
  • DOVLight
  • Turtle Wax Headlight Restorer Kit

Before purchase and use read instruction carefully on how to clean headlights with certain merchandise. Use of detergents from the shop is convenient because usually kit contains all necessary things for cleaning and polishing. You don’t have to buy napkins or fabric for polishing separately.

How to Clean Headlights Using Sandpaper

Small scratches and abrasions may be removed from headlights via sandpaper. First it should be said that such method is not recommended for glass headlights, because damages can be intensified. But for polycarbonate headlights which are installed on all modern models of cars, polishing with sandpaper will give good result.

For procedure you will need:

  • Several types of sandpaper ― it is selected depending on surface condition. If polycarbonate is too yellow and very rough, it may need sand paper sheets with marks 1500, 1000 и 500. 500 ― large abrasive particles which remove damaged upper layer, 1000 ― remove small scratches, and 1500 ― polish surface and remove insignificant damages. It is necessary to buy it on the ground of one sheet per one headlight.
  • Sticky tape ― to protect edges close to the headlight during processing.
  • Water. It is needed for washing off and better contact of surface and sandpaper.
  • Polishing paste. It is applied after removal of all damages, it provides additional shining and transparency.
  • Microfiber towel. It is needed to remove paste residue and moisture.

Perform polishing with smooth circle movements. Polycarbonate feature is that it bears mechanical effects very good, but at the same time it can be processed. So, please watch that damaged layers are removed uniformly.

The Bug Spray Method

If you go to the nature frequently or there are lots of insects in town, then you regularly have to clean bumper, radiator grille and headlights from adhered insects. Such contamination is a problem because it is sticky. And if an insect gets on hot headlight and dries there, such spot is hard to remove.

If you remove contamination right away, it is enough to use ordinary detergent for glass and piece of fabric. But not always you can take care of vehicle after each trip. And then you have to expand some efforts to remove difficult spots.

For this purpose, industrial or DIY agents can be used. Industrial ones are sold in any shop. This group includes: Turtle Wax, Prestone, KERRY, Mannol, Hi-Gear and other. These agents can be produced in the shape of gel, spray or wax. It is recommended to read instruction prior to use, because in case of improper use of headlight cleaning agents besides removing of spots of insect origin, it can significantly spoil vehicle look. If corrosive compound is hold over it will damage paint and elements close to the headlight. After application of such agents, car should be thoroughly washed.

As per DIY agents, it includes: usual shampoo, dishwashing liquid or spray for windows washing. Headlights should be thoroughly washed with clean water after the process.

Some drivers recommend to use coke or lemonade to remove adhered insects. To do it you have to preliminary wash headlights with water and then let it dry. Then dip fabric or sponge in the drink and wipe the surface with it. Wash the vehicle with light soap solution after spots removal. The thing is that coke or lemonade contain sugar and can make the surface sticky. Also, it is hard to remove drinks residue with just water.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Method 250

Vinegar and baking soda can be found in any kitchen of any house. And if not ― then it can be bought in the nearest supermarket. With the help of these two it is possible to remove hazing, dirt and small scratches on car headlights.

So, for headlights cleaning at home you will need the following simple set:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Clean water in air-gun
  • Sponge
  • Microfiber napkin or clean and dry towel.
  • Gaged glass.

First dilute vinegar in water with ratio of 3/1 and strongly spray the surface to be processed with this solution. Wait couple of minutes and then wipe the solution with microfiber napkin. Thus, you clean the surface from dust and dirt. Then prepare solution with baking soda and vinegar with ratio of 2/1. Wait till compound stop generating foam and with the help of sponge apply it on headlight. Apply compound by smooth circle movements. Try to spread compound uniformly along whole surface of headlight. Wash down the solution with clean water after processing. If soda is poorly washed down then you get white residue on the surface. To avoid it, thoroughly wash and then wipe it dry with napkin or towel.

If you fail to remove all the spots, you can repeat headlights cleaning.

How to Clean Headlights ― Preparing Steps:

Before start headlights cleaning, it is necessary to do the following:

  • Remove dirt and residue from headlights via shampoo for cars.
  • Thoroughly wipe headlights with dry fabric.
  • Assess the state of glass or plastic and damages rate. To do it you have to carefully observe outer and inner surface of glass. Your further actions are depending on damages and its rate. If headlights have big chips and cracks, then it is better to apply to professionals or just replace the glass part.
  • Examine headlights on hazing or yellow spots. If there are such things, then it will be hard to cope with it. To solve this problem, abrasive polishing and X-Ray processing are used.

Before start, it is recommended to park your car in shadow. The sun accelerates drying of detergents and can make the work more difficult.

Please pay attention to that fact that it is easier to work with plastic headlights than with glass ones. If your vehicle has got glass headlights and except dirt there are a lot of defects on it, then it is better to make a replacement or apply to specialists.

Important: Maybe you noticed that after headlights cleaning and polishing by yourself or in body shop, they become hazy, even much faster than earlier. The thing is that during cleaning, protection layer which is applied at plant, is removed. Accordingly, there is no protection on polycarbonate and wearing process is accelerated by several times. To avoid this, during application to body shop you have to state clearly that you need to restore protection layer after cleaning. Few body shops can do it. If you perform cleaning by yourself please apply polyurethane film to headlight.

And the most important – don’t forget to protect your hands with gloves, your eyes with glasses and your lungs with gas mask. Especially when you are using drill with soft tip or sanding machine.