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DIY Home Remedies for Declouding Headlights

Without your headlights providing visibility at night or during inclement weather, many of us would be in serious trouble. This is why it’s of crucial importance that car owners make sure their headlights produce as much light as possible while out on the road, something that’s near impossible when they’re cloudy, scratched, or yellowed.

You may not even notice how low your visibility is until you’re heading down some lonesome, rural highway at night or in the rain. While it’s not a guarantee, sometimes all you need is a simple home remedy for de-clouding headlights, some of which you can find right here:


While this cleaning method usually works better with plastic headlights rather than glass headlights, it certainly won’t ruin or hurt glass headlights either. So, if you don’t know the material your headlights are made from, you can feel free to experiment. To use toothpaste as a headlight cleaner, get a rag wet with warm water, and then scrub a little toothpaste on it. From there, scrub the headlights with the wet toothpaste rag. If the lights clear up, you’re good to go. If not, you have other methods to work with.

Insect Repellant

This is basically the same as with the toothpaste rag, but it has a notable change—toothpaste won’t affect your paint job, but there’s a chance insect repellent could. If you choose this method, use repellent with DEET, which can be found in grocery stores, sporting goods stores, and hardware stores. To keep the repellent from eating your paint job, you must first spray it onto the rag you’re using, not on the headlights directly.

Once your rag is soaked, scrub the headlights carefully, making sure nothing gets on the paint. You should see whether this method will work after scrubbing between 5-10 minutes, but it may take longer depending on how severely clouded your headlights are. When you’re done scrubbing, wipe excess repellant away carefully from the light with a clean paper towel or rag. Don’t hose the lights down, as this can cause the repellent to run down onto the vehicle’s paint.

Polishes and Abrasives

Some car owners have had good luck clearing headlights with polish or various sandpaper grades. However, if you use the wrong polish or sandpaper grade, you could cause damage to your headlights and have to replace them entirely. With that being said, the idea here is working from coarse sandpaper down to a finer grit of sandpaper, allowing the abrasives to remove the scratches slowly from the headlights’ surface.

Scratches are just small depressions or marks on the headlights’ surface, which can cause cloudiness. In order to completely remove them, you need to line in the headlight’s surface with the scratches. However, for those who don’t know where to begin with abrasives, you may want to save this method for professionals.

Photo Dallas Epperson via Creative Commons License