How To Clean Foggy Headlights

How To Clean Foggy Headlights



Headlights are one of the most significant safety elements in your car. Headlights typically have two main functions- make your car visible to other vehicles and illuminate the road in front of you.


For a safe drive, you should ensure that your headlights work best while driving at night or in reduced visibility conditions. The optimum working of the headlights does not stop with only functional bulbs but includes their efficacy too. Just like having clear and functional headlights is essential for safe driving, maintaining the integrity of your windshield and other auto glass components is equally crucial. Services like auto glass repair and replacement can help ensure a safe and unobstructed view of the road.


Hazy Headlights

Fogging of the headlights can drastically affect its efficiency. For spotless headlight restoration, it is important to understand the causes of foggy headlights.


When you notice a reduced output in the overall light, with a dull and yellow tinge, it indicates that your headlights are foggy and you need your cloudy headlights fixed.


Car headlight lenses are made up of thick polycarbonates with a UV coating, which breaks down after being constantly exposed to sunlight. This makes them absorb blue light from the headlight bulbs and a dingy yellow light is emitted. The headlights are also exposed to harsh chemicals and debris on the road which discolors, wears down, and scratches the headlights, creating foggy headlights.


It is fairly easy and cost-effective to get your headlights back to their pristine state with a headlight restoration.


Permanent Headlight Restoration: Sanding 

With the right tools and experience, you can carry out the easy yet permanent headlight restoration process of sanding. Here is what you will need for it:


  • Warm soapy water and plain water
  • Dry cloth
  • Masking tape
  • Sandpaper sheets
  • Plastic polishing compound
  • Flannel polishing cloth
  • UV sealant

To sand your headlights, follow the steps mentioned below:


Choose your sandpaper according to the level of grime causing the hazy headlights. Start with coarse sandpaper and proceed to finer ones for the best cleaning of foggy headlights. The larger the grit number the finer the sandpaper is.


  • Start with 600-grit sandpaper and dry sand the headlight in a horizontal pattern to remove the foggy layer.
  • Follow it up with a wet sanding using constant motion with a 1000 grit sandpaper. Keep spraying water to act as a lubricant during the sanding process.
  • Wet sand with 2000 grit sandpaper as a final step for smoothening the surface.

Tips to follow while Sanding

Here are a few things to keep in mind while sanding your headlights:


  1. Clean Your Headlights
  • Clean the surface of the headlights with warm, soapy water and wipe it dry with a soft dry cloth.
  • This will prevent impurities from traveling deep into the headlight surface during the sanding process.


  1. Taping
  • Tape the area around the foggy headlights with strips of masking tape to prevent accidentally sanding your car’s paint. This process is also referred to as masking.


  1. Clean and Seal
  • Once you are done sanding, clean the headlight with a paper towel and alcohol to remove any sanding debris.
  • Polish the surface with a flannel cloth and a polishing compound for a headlight that looks as good as new.
  • Seal the shine with at least three coats of UV sealant for long-lasting freshness and a fog-free headlight.

Cleaning Foggy Headlights- Quick Fixes

Even though clear headlights are very important for a safe drive, we understand that not everyone has the time required for a permanent cloudy headlights fix.

Here’s an overview of quick fixes to clean your foggy headlights:


Materials Needed for Cleaning Hazy Headlights

You can buy a headlight restoration or cleansing kit off the shelf of any auto store for cleaning hazy headlights or use household staples like baking soda or toothpaste to clean the foggy headlight lens.


Before you start cleaning the foggy headlights, make sure you have the following materials handy.


  • Old rags/towels
  • Gloves
  • Water for rinsing
  • A soft-bristled brush

If you are hard-pressed for time, you can use these items to temporarily get rid of the fog from your headlights.


Items For Clearing Foggy Headlights Method
Toothpaste+Baking Soda Mix toothpaste and baking soda in equal quantities and rub it on the headlights. Wipe off the mixture after it dries with a damp cloth for a cleaner, brighter headlight.
Baking Soda+Vinegar Mix equal quantities of vinegar and baking soda. Spread the fizzy mixture on the car headlights and wipe with a damp cloth after the mixture dries for a fog-free headlight.
Diet Coca Cola Transfer your favorite drink into a spray bottle and spray it on the foggy headlights. This works great to remove the fog caused by oxidization. You can repeat the process if the headlight is heavily fogged.
Dish Soap Remove any dirt or debris from the headlight before applying dish soap along with hot water to the hazy headlight. Use a circular motion to clean and wipe away the fog. Repeat if needed.


Steps for Maintenance

While it’s difficult to entirely prevent your headlights from fogging up, following these simple steps can assist in minimizing fogging:


  • Stop Under Shade: One of the main reasons for foggy headlights is exposure to UV radiation. Park your car under a shade to reduce the damage that these rays can cause.
  • Clean Your Car: Regular car cleaning helps remove dirt and debris to delay the fogging.
  • Polish Regularly: Polish your headlights once every few months with a polishing compound to treat the effect of UV rays.


Final Thoughts


Hazy headlights aren’t merely about appearance; they’re crucial for safety. Delaying the cleaning of foggy headlights isn’t recommended. Make it a habit to address foggy headlights promptly.


While DIY methods can be attempted for cleaning foggy headlight lenses, nothing beats professional headlight restoration by an experienced professional for a result comparable to new headlights.


Similarly, for any windshield replacement or auto glass repair needs, it’s advisable to seek professional services from a reputable company like Auto Glass America to ensure quality workmanship and lasting results.

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