How To Clean Your Headlights

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Do your headlights appear cloudy, yellowed, or murky? If so, it may be time to clean them. You have the option of visiting your preferred auto parts store to purchase a headlight cleaning kit or utilizing items you already have at home to save some money. The Manual recommends two headlight cleaning techniques to consider. Keep reading for step-by-step guides.

Why Do Headlights Get Foggy?

First, you should understand why your headlights lose their luster over time. The primary reason is due to oxidation, a process whereby the polycarbonate plastic that most modern headlights are made of reacts with the air. This reaction can lead to a cloudy or yellowish appearance over time. Other contributing factors include exposure to ultraviolet light, dust, and grime, all of which speed up the oxidation process and cause your headlights to appear foggy or dirty.

The Toothpaste Method

Now that you understand why your headlights get foggy, let’s delve into how to restore them to their original glory using the toothpaste method.

  1. Gather your materials: A tube of regular white toothpaste (avoid gel types or ones with crystals), a soft cloth, and water.
  2. Clean the surface: Use a damp cloth to wipe any loose dirt from the headlights.
  3. Apply toothpaste: Squeeze a dollop of toothpaste onto the cloth, then rub it onto the headlight in a circular motion, ensuring the entire surface is covered.
  4. Let it sit: Allow the toothpaste to sit on the surface for about five minutes to let the mild abrasive in the toothpaste work its magic.
  5. Rinse and dry: Rinse off the toothpaste with water and dry with a clean, dry cloth. You should see a significant improvement.

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The Baking Soda & Vinegar Method

Another technique for cleaning your headlights involves using baking soda and vinegar, both of which you likely have in your kitchen.

  1. Prepare your mixture: Combine equal parts baking soda and white vinegar in a bowl to make a paste. The mixture will fizz initially but will settle down shortly.
  2. Clean the surface: Just as with the toothpaste method, clean the headlights with a damp cloth.
  3. Apply the paste: Using a sponge or cloth, apply the baking soda-vinegar paste onto your headlights, making sure to cover the entire surface.
  4. Scrub gently: Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes, then scrub gently with a cloth or sponge.
  5. Rinse and dry: Rinse off the mixture and dry the headlights using a clean, dry cloth.

In conclusion, foggy headlights are not just an aesthetic issue but also a safety concern as they can significantly reduce your visibility at night. By using these simple and cost-effective methods, you can restore your headlights’ clarity and prolong their lifespan. Remember, preventative maintenance is key – regular cleaning can help to delay the oxidation process and keep your headlights sparkling clean!

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