Headlight Restoration In The Comfort Of Your Own Garage
Restoring your hazy headlights is an important part of keeping your car looking clean and beautiful as well as making it safe. Over time, your headlights can begin to scratch up from rocks and other debris that hits them on the road. They can also begin to yellow from the sun’s UV rays. Not only does this make your headlights look bad, but means your headlights cannot emit as much light as they should.
There are a number of ways you can go about restoring your hazy headlights. Some prefer to just go to the store and pick up a headlight restoration kit. Some kits require more work than others and some inevitably produce better results. These kits normally come with restoration sanding pads in various grits your headlight and remove the yellowing sealant from the plastic as well as a type of lubricant for ‘wet sanding’. The final step usually includes applying a type of UV-blocking sealant to protect your headlights and keep them from becoming hazy again.
You may want to check out a guide for buying the most effective headlight restoration kit.
Some people prefer to find a home remedy to restore their headlights. The nice thing about using home remedies is that you likely already have most of what you need to try any of these methods.
Home Remedies for Restoring Your Hazy Headlights
One of these includes using toothpaste to remove the oxidation from your headlights. To use this method, all you need is the following:
- Spray bottle with water
- A sponge (or wet cloth)
- Toothpaste (paste, not gel; it may be helpful to choose a toothpaste with baking soda and peroxide or you could always add baking soda)
- A clean, dry cloth (ideally microfiber) or a paper towel for final buffing
- Optional: car wax
Step 1: Wet your headlights with water
Step 2: Apply a generous amount of toothpaste all over your headlights, or apply the toothpaste directly to your wet rag or sponge.
Step 3: Take your wet sponge or cloth and rub the toothpaste all over the headlight. You should be able to see the grime come off. Keep working the toothpaste all over the headlight until you have been able to get everything off.
Step 4: Spray your headlights with water and use your clean, dry cloth to remove all the toothpaste and any remaining loose grime.
Step 5: If at this point you are pleased with the results, you can apply a car wax if you have some all over your headlight to protect it from becoming yellow again.
Step 6: Remove the wax with a clean, dry rag.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
For this method, you will need the following:
- 2 TB Baking soda
- Spray bottle with water (or water hose)
- 1 to 2 TB Liquid soap
- Bucket or big bowl with warm water
- Clean rags or paper towels
- Optional: car wax
Step 1: Dilute a little bit of dishwashing soap with warm water in a small bucket or bowl.
Step 2: Take a rag, dip it in the solution you just mixed and rub it all over the headlight to clean it.
Step 3: Wash off the soapy solution with water.
Step 4: Create your baking soda/vinegar solution: mix about 2 TB baking soda with a little vinegar to create a thick, fizzy paste.
Step 5: Using a rag, rub the baking soda mixture all over the headlight to remove the yellow film. This may take quite a bit of rubbing. It may be helpful to wash off the solution and do another round with a fresh mixture of baking soda and vinegar.
Step 6: Rinse with water.
Step 7: Dry off with a rag or paper towel
Step 8: You can apply a little wax all over the headlight to help protect it from yellowing again.
Step 9: Remove wax with a dry rag or paper towel.
Bug Spray is another method people have used to remove the haze from their headlights. All you need to do is apply bug spray generously to a rag (or directly to the headlight), rub it on your headlight in a circular motion, and watch the chemicals in the bug spray remove the grime. Use warm, soapy water to remove any bug spray residue and dry with a clean rag.
Creating Your Own Headlight Restoration Kit
For most of the other methods, you may need to go back and do maintenance work, especially if you do not apply a special sealant to protect your headlights. The following headlight restoration video includes a method that won’t need continual maintenance. If done properly, you should only need to do this one time.
Instead of buying a pre-made kit at the store, you will create your own kit for cleaning your headlights. Some of the supplies you will need are the following:
- Sandpaper (with various grits, specified in the video)
- Paper towels
- Spray bottle with water
- Rubbing Alcohol
- UV-resistant Clear coat made for plastic
- Rags or paper towels
- Garbage bag
- Painters Tape
Check out the video for detailed instructions:
The method you choose for restoring your hazy headlights is up to you. Some prefer just to get the kit that is already put together for them from the store. You might want to save money and use one of the home remedies. And if you want to avoid having to do this more than once and you have some spare time on your hands, the final method is a great option.
Whatever way you choose to clean your headlights, you’ll appreciate the transformation clear headlights give to your car.