Headlight Cleaning in Ten Easy Minutes

My vehicle headlights were so fogged over I may as well have had candles instead of headlights. They were so bad the only time I really noticed the colors of other vehicles at night was if another light source was shining in the other vehicle or it was a stop light.

It was so bad, it was getting to the time when I thought I shouldn’t be driving at night as the headlights were so bad. Not wanting to spend anywhere from $20.00 up to have them cleaned, after seeing how bad some of the cleaning jobs were, I decided I would clean my headlights myself.

I decided the headlights were suffering some form of oxidation. Oxidation with iron is rust, but other materials oxidise also. I knew it was severe oxidation as the vehicle is a 1998 model, and the headlights had never been cleaned.

Rummaging under the sink and laundry room, I came up with some possible solutions. Using a green scrubbing pad I tried the following which all failed: Ammonia and water, bleach and water, some glass cleaners, and other cleaning products. Don’t waste your time trying any of these, they do not work, and I am sure the finish on your vehicle would prefer they were not used.

When all else fails Google is your friend. I found the top three do it yourself recommendations were: Sand paper, tooth paste, and automotive mag aluminium cleaner. I looked at the sandpaper I had and it was all for wood, so that was a no go. I had some old tooth paste that had no additives such as whitener – whitener I read sometimes made it worse.

I tried the tooth paste and a green scrubbing pad for about ten minutes on one headlight. There was some improvement but nothing to write home about. The headlight now looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in at least ten years. Not the results I wanted.

I had an old, old jar of mag and aluminium cleaning paste I bought for another purpose several years ago. I dug it out, and it had a brown layer on top. Underneath though was the white cream I remembered. I cut off part of an old tee-shirt and started rubbing lightly as the directions said.

In less than five minutes I had an almost brand new looking headlight! It was a little cloudy, maybe from age, maybe from the toothpaste, but it looked almost brand new. I moved over to the other headlight, and five minutes later, same result!

I would expect you can have the same bright and shiny headlights if you are willing to spend a few minutes on each headlight. My results however may be different from yours, so remember you could end up ruining your headlight cover, and end up buying a brand new one. In my case the headlights were bad enough, it was a risk I was willing to take. Think about it before trying to clean those headlights yourself.

This was three weeks ago, and both headlights still look clean and shiny. Ten minutes work, and at least a twenty dollar savings. I am pretty happy with that!