Headlight Restoration: 5 Easy Ways To Clean Your Headlights

Car headlight restoration is necessary if you have done a lot of mileage and want to maintain the original glow of your headlamps
As your vehicle gets older the headlights become dull and hazy, with poor visibility when driving at night

similarly to cleaning your car’s steering, restoring the headlights is slightly intricate and will need the right product or cleaning kit


How to clean your headlights? Which headlight cleaner to use? These questions are common among drivers who want to restore their headlight lenses. 
Follow these guidelines to learn what products and cleaning methods are best for you.

So, whether you want to do your own headlight restoration at home, or call an industry professional, you should find the answers right here and be able to get started in no time.

What Is Headlight Restoration?

Headlight restoration is the deep cleaning of the outer surface layer of your headlights

This can be done using various methods and products 

  1. The DIY method at home 
    • Using Commercial Products
    • Household products
  2. Professional Service
    • Detailing Service
    • Mobile Detailing

What Is The Best Way To Clean & Restore Your Headlights?

The best way to clean and restore your headlights is to use the services of a professional detailing expert

Though there are other ways, an industry professional has all the necessary skills, experience, and tools to get the job done.

They have learned from their past mistakes and failures and can use this expertise and do a much better job than you can.

Headlight Restoration Service

The best way to restore your headlight is to make use of a professional headlight cleaning service.

They have all the equipment and experience to do it right the first time.

They have also made the mistakes so that you don’t have to

Mobile Headlight Restoration

What Are The Different Ways To Clean And Restore Your Headlights?

There are different ways to clean and restore dull and faded headlamps

They are all effective to some degree to help restore your headlamps to their original condition

  1. Professional Service – Making use of a professional service
  2. Mobile Detailing – A professional service that comes to you
  3. DIY Methods at home – Various DIY methods that you can use at home
    1. Restoration Kit –
    2. Toothpaste –
    3. WD 40 –

DIY Headlight Restoration

You can use numerous DIY methods to clean your headlights at home and avoid the cost of expensive professional cleaners

How To Restore Headlights With A Cleaning Kit

Here are instructions on how to restore your car headlights 

These will vary depending on the product and cleaning kit that you use 

If in doubt, follow the supplier’s product guidelines to obtain optimal results

Items You Will Need

  • Sandpaper (1000, 2000, 3000 grit)
  • Auto masking tape (painters tape)


Here are instructions

  1. Soak the sandpaper in water (preferably overnight) if not possible, do so for at least an hour prior to restoration
  2. When sanding, remember to always keep both the sandpaper and the surface of the headlight wet at all times
  3. Tape the edges of the body around the headlight to protect the paintwork from any accidents
  4. Clean the surface to remove surface dirt and dust. This will help to prevent any scratching
  5. Start sanding the headlight surface using the 1000 grit sandpaper to remove oxidation
  6. Next, repeat the steps using both 2000 and 3000 grit paper
  7. Next, apply the compound using a soft cloth to cover the entire surface of the headlight
  8. Continue rubbing in small circular motions until it the surface becomes clear
  9. Buff the headlight to a shine using a microfiber cloth
  10.  Apply glass cleaner to remove any surface wax and let it dry completely
  11. Apply a coat of UV protection layer to protect the surface
  12.  Wait until completely dry before touching or using your car

How To Clean & Restore Your Headlights With Cleaning Wipes

Cleaning wipes are another great way to clean and restore your headlights.

It does require some labor, but the end results will definitely be pleasing

The wipes are usually packaged in a sequence and need to be followed in the exact steps


  1. Open the sealed sachet containing the wipe and start rubbing across the lens surface
  2. Keep the wipe folded while rubbing and then switch to a clean side when needed
  3. Once you have completed these steps open the other sachet containing the UV sealant or similar protective product
  4. Apply this to the lens in singular strokes, from one edge to the next until completely covered
    (Do not use to and fro, or circular motions)

How To Clean Your Headlights With WD-40

Using WD-40 to restore your headlights is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get your headlights clean

Though the results are pleasing, this is just a short-term solution for a dull, hazy headlamp.

In some instances, the headlamps do revert to their previous condition after 1 or 2 weeks

This method should rather be taken as a short-term fix instead of a permanent solution. 

The immediate results are nevertheless fantastic


  1. Spray WD-40 on a small section of a cloth
  2. Start rubbing it across the surface of the headlamp in small circular motions
  3. Do so until the whole lens is covered
  4. Repeat the process 2 or 3 times until the results are satisfactory

How To Clean Your Headlights Using Toothpaste

One of the cheapest ways to restore your headlights is to use normal toothpaste.

The abrasive compounds that effectively clean your teeth are useful for restoring your headlights.

Though it is not the ultimate solution, it will do a satisfactory job of removing the dull surface layer that obscures your vision at night

Items You Will Need

  • Toothpaste
  • Bicarbonate Soda
  • Toothbrush
  • Cloth 


  1. Squeeze 2 tablespoons of toothpaste in a bowl
  2. Add ½  teaspoon of bicarbonate soda to increase the abrasiveness 
  3. Gradually add water to make up a paste
  4. Dip the toothbrush into the mixture and apply it to the headlight lens
  5. Use the tip of a microfiber cloth and massage the paste into the headlight cover
  6. Continue to do so until the surface grime starts dissolving
  7. This might need to be repeated a few times depending on the severity
  8. Rinse with clean water and a cloth
  9. Use a clean damp cloth to remove the residue
  10.  Repeat the process until you achieve the desired result
  11. You can also apply a coat of UV protectant, wax, or polish to help protect the surface

This is an easy home solution but is by no means the best way to get the job done

How To Clean Your Headlights Using Bug Spray

How To Clean Your Headlights Using Headlight Cleaner

Which Is The Best Headlight Restoration Kit?

There are many types of cleaners and kits as well as DIY alternatives.

So Which is the best headlight cleaner?

Headlight Restoration Kit Autozone

How Much Does Headlight Restoration Cost?

How Often Should You Clean Your Headlights?

You should clean your headlights at least twice a year to maintain them and keep them in optimal condition.

There is however no right or wrong way as conditions vary, and are different for everyone

For example, a car exposed to harsh sunlight and other elements without covered parking will require more frequent cleaning

This is in contrast to a vehicle not used very often and is parked under cover

An easy way though to judge is to observe the condition of your headlights

When they start turning a brownish or yellowish color or start fading or become dull and hazy with bad visibility at night, then this is a good indicator

How Long Does It Take To Clean Headlights?

To clean and restore your headlights should not take longer than 1-2 hours to do

This is however dependent on your level of experience, skills, and access to the right tools

It also depends on the method that you implement.

If you use a sanding process by hand, then this will obviously prolong matters.


Oxidized headlights are a severe safety risk when driving at night and should be attended to

We hope that the above methods and products will help improve the overall condition of your headlamps

This, for better visibility and safety on the road  

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