How to Clean Foggy Headlights at Home (5 Best Methods)

Cloudy headlights not only look bad on a car but probably function worse. Isn’t it? And that’s why you must know how to clean foggy headlights at home and what is the best headlight restoration kit on the market to get rid of cloudy headlights instantly.

What makes a car appealing? Every minute detail. From its leather seats to its chrome finish door handles, from its beautifully rimmed tires to its bright shining headlights. No doubt, the shining bright headlights make a car look way better. But what if these headlights get foggy or turn yellow?

With time, the headlights start getting cloudy and yellow. It is inevitable! And when the headlights get cloudy, the lights start getting dim, and then the questions start flooding our minds, such as; how to clean oxidized headlights on a car, how to restore headlights permanently, and how to clean foggy headlights at home” etc.

If you also have these concerns and your car’s headlights need restoration, this DIY headlight restoration guide is perfect for you.

how to clean headlights that are foggy
(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links and images. I earn advertising/referral fees if you make a purchase by clicking them. There is no extra cost to you. See our full disclosure here. )

People wonder if they can clean their foggy headlights at home or if they need the help of a professional car headlight restoration service. The answer is “Yes,” cloudy headlights can be cleaned at home.

There are a lot of effective household products and home remedies for cleaning headlights that actually work, and your headlights turn out to be as good as new. Plus, there are tons of DIY headlight lens restorers and the best headlight restoration kits on the market that restore your car headlights to their former glory.

In a Hurry? Here are our top choices and best DIY headlight restoration kits to clean foggy headlights:

Last update on 2021-10-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This comprehensive guide will help you find some of the most simple and proven homemade headlight cleaning methods to make cloudy headlights clear again. And in addition to the DIY headlight restoration techniques, you will also learn what is the best headlight restoration kit on the market to clean foggy headlights.

And the best thing is all the top-rated and best headlight restoration products listed in this guide have been handpicked by automotive experts and reviewed by satisfied customers. So, let’s start and learn how to clean foggy headlights at home without spending a lot of money!

Why Do Headlights Get Foggy?

The importance of headlights increases manifolds during the nights. An accident due to a visibility problem is not something anyone wants to encounter. Foggy headlights (also known as cloudy headlights, oxidized headlights, or yellowed headlights) can be a threat to you, your family, other drivers, as well as pedestrians. Also, in some states, there are laws against severely damaged, impaired, or cloudy headlights.

But why do headlights get cloudy? Why do car headlights turn yellow and foggy? These are some of the most frequent questions every car owner asks after a while. There are several answers to these queries. However, some of the significant reasons why do car headlights get foggy are:

  • Road Debris: When you drive your car on the road, gravel, or rough terrains, the flying debris such as small rocks, pebbles, and dirt particles kicks, scratches, and removes the protective coat from the headlights, making them cloudy.
  • Oxidation: Exposure to the sun causes oxidation. The headlight lenses suffer from microscopic cracks under the UV rays and make the headlights foggy.
  • Water: Car headlights come with a protective waterproof seal, but eventually, it breaks, and water seeps in, making your headlights foggy.
  • Dirt and Chemicals: Over time, the dirt and chemicals accumulate over the plastic cover and make it look foggy. Whether your headlights are made of glass or plastic, these factors work and make them yellow, dirty, and cloudy.

How to Prevent Headlights from Getting Cloudy

Though it is an unavoidable problem, there are some helpful ways in which you keep your car headlights safe from all the damage caused by driving or exposure to the sun and the environment.

  • Don’t Leave It Under the Sun: Always park your car in the shade. It is essential for the headlights as well as for the paint as it starts fading off under the sun.
  • Clean and Polish Headlights Occasionally: You should not wait for the headlights to get yellow and clean them after the damage only. Then, Polish them occasionally with a soft microfiber cloth and elongate the life of their bright lights.
  • Wash Them More Often: When you wash your car, also wash your car headlights with car washing soap to remove the dirt and chemicals from them.

These simple preventive measures can be very effective against damage to your headlights. We hope now you know exactly how to keep headlights from turning yellow and how to protect the headlight and prevent fogging. Now let’s move forward and learn how to clean headlights that are foggy.

Must read: How to Stop Car Windows from Fogging Up in Winter (11 Ways)

How to Clean Foggy Headlights at Home (5 Best Methods)

Every time you can’t run for a car headlight cleaning and restoration service centre in your area to get your oxidized headlights cleaned, can you? Of course, headlights are an essential part of the car, but they can be very well cleaned at home without any professional’s expertise and without spending a fortune.

Now, if you are wondering what’s the best way to clean foggy headlights at home and make them shine like new, you will be surprised that there are numerous ingredients in your house that can be used to restore your car headlights.

So, without further ado, let’s begin and check out how to clean oxidized headlights with household products and DIY headlight restoration kits. Here we go:

Clean Foggy Headlights with Toothpaste

Apart from cleaning your teeth, your toothpaste can do wonders on your car’s foggy headlights too. It is one of the best DIY headlight restoration methods which does magic on your car headlights. Cleaning car headlights with toothpaste is a very simple process, it does not take much time, and it’s quite effective.

Follow these simple steps and learn how to clean foggy headlights with toothpaste:

  • Step 1: First of all, gather your tools. You need all your cleaning tools in one place. Take masking tape, safety gloves, a brush, white toothpaste, car wash soap, clean water, and a microfiber towel or soft cloth.
  • Step 2: Now, make a mixture of mild water and car washing soap and spray it on your car headlights. Wash it off and dry the headlights properly with the towel or soft cloth.
  • Step 3: Next, take the masking tape and tape off the surroundings (edges that are attached to the body) of your car’s headlights. Masking is essential to save the paint from damage.
  • Step 4: Now, take the toothpaste and blob a little on the center of headlights. Start with a small amount. Then, start rubbing it in circles, widening it, to cover the entire headlights. Do it softly, and don’t step outside the masked area. You will see the toothpaste turning to a yellow, dirty color.

Important note: Use the normal white toothpaste, not the gel one, as they don’t contain abrasives which are essential for cleaning dirt from headlights.

  • Step 5: Take warm water in a mug, and start rinsing off the toothpaste. It may take time, but you should repeat it unless the water turns completely clear.
  • Step 6: Now dry off the headlights using a microfiber towel and remove the masking tape.
  • Step 7: Apply a high-quality UV protectant for headlights on your car headlights. Swipe them on the headlights, covering the entire area. It will be helpful against the sunlight.

Cleaning headlights with toothpaste is a straightforward method since the procedure does not take much effort, nor is it costly. Repeating this headlight restoration process every few months will elongate the life of your bright headlights.

Clean Foggy Headlights with Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda are answers to many questions such as how to remove oxidation from car headlights, what is the best way to clean oxidized headlights and make them look like new again, and how to clean hazy headlights at home, etc.

There are several professional headlight restoration products and supplies available in the market that can be applied to restore foggy car headlights quickly, but if you are looking for a cheaper and effective solution, using vinegar and baking soda can be very helpful.

These products can be found in every kitchen, and it makes cleaning foggy headlights a cakewalk. So, if you are looking forward to cleaning foggy headlights at home, white vinegar and baking soda are the ingredients you need.

You can easily clean oxidized headlights of a car or truck within a few minutes. Follow these simple steps and learn how to clean foggy headlights with vinegar and baking soda:

  • Step 1: Gather all the things you need for cleaning and getting rid of foggy headlights, such as white vinegar, baking soda, soft cloth or microfiber towel, a disposable cup or mug, and water.
  • Step 2: Now, make a mixture for cleaning. Take a cup and mix 2 parts of white vinegar and one part of baking soda. Let’s say mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda into four tablespoons of white vinegar. It will start foaming. Mix it thoroughly and make a consistent mixture. Pour it into a spray bottle or let it rest in the mug itself.
  • Step 3: Wipe the dirt off the headlights with a soft cloth. Either spray the vinegar and baking soda mixture on headlights or dip a cloth in the mixture in a mug and apply it on the headlights. Rub it in circular motions. If the headlights damage is severe, you can leave this mixture on for a few minutes.
  • Step 4: And then rinse it off with clean water. Clean it properly with the microfiber towel, or baking soda residue will leave a white layer on the headlight.
  • Step 5: Repeat this process twice or thrice if you don’t get the desired results.

Home remedies can be very effective and affordable if you know what will do the job best. For example, white vinegar and baking soda are both strong ingredients that wipe off every dust particle and restore your headlights in easy steps.

Use Headlight Restoration Kits to Clean Foggy Headlights

If you are planning to do headlight restoration by yourself, you may have a look into DIY headlight restoration kits on the market to clean foggy headlights. These car headlight restoration kits contain every tool you need and make the headlight cleaning process a cakewalk.

There are several do-it-yourself and professional headlight restoration kits available on the market, but you only need the most effective, best types of car headlight restoration equipment and supplies to remove oxidation from headlights of your car.

And if you are curious to know how to clean foggy headlights at home, you must check the top-rated and best headlight restoration kits mentioned below in this guide. Two of the most preferred and widely used headlight restoration kits on the market are Meguiar’s Headlight Restoration Kit and CERAKOTE Headlight Restoration Kit.

Meguiar’s Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit contains everything you need for cleaning foggy headlights and make them brighter. No matter how foggy, yellow, or cloudy your car headlights are, Meguiar’s restoration kit will help you achieve crystal clarity with this premium offering.

It includes plastic cleaner and polish, headlight coating, applicator pad, sand pads, buff wool pad, and different grit sandpapers. All of these tools, when combined, deliver professional results and remove oxidation from headlights to make them look new.

how to clean foggy headlights

The CERAKOTE Ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit is a one of its type product with oxidation remover wipes, surface prep pad, and ceramic coating. With this headlight restorer product, you get a lifetime warranty for your headlights, i.e., the coating will last as long as the life of your car.

This restoration kit is known for its effective results and “no power tool” policy. It requires less elbow grease and incomparable results.

All in all, these two best-selling headlight restoration kits are something that may confuse car owners as to which one is most suitable to use on their car. However, they are excellent in what they do, and both have their fair share of admirers.

In my opinion, if you want a one-time solution, you can get your hands on Meguiar’s headlight restoration kit. For a long-lasting UV protection and lifetime warranty, the Cerakote headlight restoration kit is best. Weigh your options and choose a car headlight restorer kit that best suits your needs.

Clean Foggy Headlights with Bug Spray

This foggy headlight cleaning method may sound a little strange, but it is really effective. So yes, if you wish to clean your car headlights or remove oxidation from car headlights, then use the bug spray (insect repellent spray) and get done with it. But you need to understand that using an insect repellent spray is effective only if the cloudiness is mild.

Now you may be wondering what kind of bug spray cleans headlights and how to clean your headlights with bug spray. First, you must know that bug spray is a chemical formula, and it contains DEET (chemical name, N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide), which can be effective against oxidized headlights.

While there are various bug sprays available in the market, you need one that is rich in DEET. Sawyer Premium Maxi DEET Insect Repellent Spray is one such bug spray that contains 100% DEET formula. It is effective against several insects as well as oxidation.

It is effective for 10 hours on insects, but its results on the headlights last for months. Therefore, to get clean cloudy headlights, you can simply pick the Sawyer MAXI DEET insect repellent spray and clean cloudy headlights.

Another product that has been proved to deliver effective results against oxidation is Coleman DEET Insect Repellent Spray. It is also a 100% DEET formula that is effective against insects that carry deadly diseases. The strong formula is capable of cleaning oxidized headlights in minutes.

It is available in the pump as well as spray variants. You can choose the bottle at your convenience. If you have it in your home, you don’t have to look anywhere for a tool to clean cloudy headlights.

Using bug spray to clean cloudy headlights on cars and trucks is easy. Just spray it on a soft cloth and rub it on the headlight. The cloudier your headlights, the more time and effort it will take. Ensure that you don’t spray it on the car paint as it can damage it.

Clean Foggy Headlights with Sandpaper

It is one of the most effective and easiest ways to clean foggy headlights. This wet sanding trick scrapes off the white layer, which obscures the vision of the headlight. With three different sandpapers and a 40-minute exercise, you will get clearer headlights.

The process of sanding and clear coating headlights is a bit time-consuming and laborious, but the final results are pretty satisfying as well. Follow these steps and learn how to clean foggy headlights with sandpaper:

  • Step 1: You should start with gathering your tools. Here is the list of what you need to clean foggy headlights with sandpaper:
  • Masking Tape
  • Soft Microfiber Cloth
  • Three Different Sandpapers: 320-800 grit, 1000-1500 grit, 2500-3000 grit
  • Sanding Block or Dish Sponge
  • Orbital Sander
  • Headlight Polish
  • UV-Resistant Coat
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Clean Water
  • Step 2: Start with the masking tape. Mask it carefully around the headlights. Do not leave the slightest spaces. The seal should be tight. You can also take off the headlights, but the tape will be fine if it is too much work.
  • Step 3: Now, start wet sanding your headlight with 320-800 grit sandpaper. 400 grit sandpaper will be ideal. Sand your car headlights from left to right in even and unhurried motions. Since it is wet sanding, make sure that the sandpaper is wet.
  • Step 4: After a few minutes of sanding, rinse it off with water and a microfiber cloth.
  • Step 5: It is time for finer grit 1000-1500 sandpaper. Wet it and start rubbing from right to left. This rubbing in the opposite direction will clear away the ridges created during the previous sanding exercise.
  • Step 6: Again, rinse it off again with water and a soft microfiber cloth.
  • Step 7: This is the last sanding step with the finest 2500-3000 grit sandpaper. Rub it in the left to right motion and rinse off with water. Swipe it with a soft dry cloth.
  • Step 8: The next step is polishing. Take the orbital sander and attach a soft pad to it. Add the polishing compound to the pad and polish the headlights. You will see the difference.
  • Step 9: Next, clean it off with isopropyl alcohol.
  • Step 10: Apply the clear coat UV-protectant spray or sealant, and you are done.

Removing oxidation from car headlights with sandpaper requires some hard work, but the result is worth it. And since sanding and clear coating headlights are some of the cheapest methods to clean foggy headlights, you must give them a try. You will be impressed with the end result.

Do you know? How to Remove Deep Scratches from Car at Home

Best Headlight Restoration Kits to Clean Foggy Headlights:

If using household products to clean foggy car headlights is not the answer to your questions; how to make cloudy headlights clear again or how to restore headlights permanently, you need to use expert-suggested, high-quality, professional headlight restoration kits.

Unclear headlights are a threat to life. You need proper illumination, especially when you are driving at night and in the winter season.

The sun, dirt, chemicals, and driving make the headlights foggy and hazy after a while. That’s why you need to check out these top-selling and best headlight restoration kits on the market, which not only restore your car headlight’s glory but also save the hard work. Here we go:

SYLVANIA Headlight Restoration Kit

If you want a top-rated and easy-to-use DIY headlight restoration kit, Sylvania headlights restoration kit is the answer. It is a 3-in-1 restorer kit that is easy to use and has all the products you need to clean and restore sun-damaged headlights.

The kit contains complete restoration tools; Surface activator, Sand and Polish, clarifying compound, gloves, towels, and UV block clear coat.

The surface activator is a proprietary formula that softens the headlight’s plastic so you can sand it easily. For the wet sanding, you get three premium quality sandpapers; 400, 1000, and 2000 grit sandpaper. The last step is sealing the headlight and applying the UV block clear coat.

sylvania headlight restoration kit

IIf you have the desire to learn how to clean foggy headlights at home, you will not be disappointed with the results of the product. The Sylvania car headlight restoration kit covers the product for two headlights assemblies and guarantees a lifetime warranty.

Removing oxidation from car headlights is a time-consuming process. Still, this car headlight restoration kit is available with every tool you may need to make the restoration process more manageable and smooth. So, you should get this best headlight restoration kit for your foggy headlights and renew them.

Pros:

  • The product comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • It is easy to use with every tool present in it.
  • The three-step cleaning kit clears the fog and gives you like-new headlights.
  • It has a UV protectant formula as well.

Cons:

  • It is expensive.
  • The towels are not entirely lint-free and smaller in size.
  • The UV protectant takes long hours, approx. 4, to take effect.
  • It is time-consuming.

Meguiar’s Heavy Duty Headlight Restoration Kit

If your car headlights are heavily clouded, oxidized, and yellowed, the thought of changing them might have crossed your mind, but it is expensive. So instead, you need a professional headlight restoration kit that not only cleans and renews the headlights but whose effects last a year.

Yes, you can guess that it’s Meguiar’s heavy-duty headlight restoration kit that cleans the super foggy and cloudy headlights easily. The kit gets you professional results and effectively removes the vision-impairing cloudiness.

meguiar's heavy duty headlight restoration kit

This auto headlight restorer kit comes with clear plastic cleaner and polish, headlight coating, headlight coating applicator pad, easy-grip hand sanding pad, Easy buff wool pad, and 1000 and 3000 grit quality sandpapers.

Its plastic cleaning formula is gentle on plastic and efficiently removes the stain, contamination, surface scratches, oxidation, etc. The rich gel formula effectively restores clarity to both rigid and flexible clear plastics.

The proprietary headlight coating provides UV protection for up to a year and is easy to apply. Meguiar has brought the most popular and widely used Meguiar’s Headlight Restoration Kit to you with its 115-year experience, and you can trust the brand to clean fogged headlights.

Pros:

  • It’s a heavy-duty kit that is effective.
  • It can protect the headlights for almost a year.
  • It is easy to use.
  • It is fit for headlights, taillights, helmet visors, boat windows, widescreens, etc.

Cons:

  • It requires power corded drill.

Mothers NuLens Headlight Renewal Kit

If you are good with a drill and want quick, clear, and effective results on your headlights, the Mothers Nulens headlight renewal kit must be in your home garage. The effective formula works effectively on yellowing, stains, smudges, hairline scratches, and flaws efficiently and gives you crystal clear headlights.

This all-in-one kit includes a backing plate, restoration discs, polish, and a PowerBall 4 Lights polish power tool. As a first step, attach the 3-inch backing plate to the drill and sand the headlights with three different premium quality restoration discs.

mothers nulens headlight renewal kit

The highlight of this headlight restorer kit is the Powerball 4Lights power tool, which is paired with Mother’s polish to restore crystal clarity. It can clean any lens in a few minutes. It leaves a tough, protective, oxidation-inhibiting polymer coating, which acts as a shield against future damage.

If you wish to know what is the best headlight restoration kit on the market to clean foggy headlights and make headlights clear again, the Mothers NuLens headlight restoration kit is the answer. People love this product when it comes to getting rid of yellow, clouded headlights on their cars or pickup trucks.

Pros:

  • It requires a lot less time.
  • It is cheaper than Meguiar’s and takes less effort.
  • The Powerball is very effective and is the highlight of the kit.
  • It guards against future damage as well.
  • The PowerBall 4Lights polish tool is washable and reusable.
  • It gives effective results in single-use.

Cons:

  • It does not come with additional accessories like gloves, towels, and even UV sealant.
  • You can’t work it without a drill.

CERAKOTE Ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit

Many car owners ask how to remove oxidation from car headlights and if there is a way that can restore headlights permanently. You always end up buying a car headlight cleaning kit that you need to purchase after a few months or maybe a year again because the hazy headlights are back.

Well, not anymore! With the Cerakote Ceramic headlight restoration kit, you get the lifetime warranty of clear headlights. Yes, the product guarantees clear headlights for as long as you own your car; else, they give you the next headlight lens restorer kit for free.

They develop this headlight restoration product at their Oregon headquarters as their chemists find innovative ways to detail your car. The best thing about this product is that it doesn’t need any power tools.

cerakote headlight restoration kit

In simple words, we can say it is not just another restoration product. Cerakote’s headlight restoration kit is a “once in a lifetime car” product. It comes with oxidation remover wipes, surface prep pad, oxidation removal discs, and Cerakote proprietary ceramic coating, which restores the headlights as if they are new.

The ceramic coating chemically bonds to your headlights to provide maximum UV protection and lasts for a lifetime. The company may claim that using Cerakote headlight restoration kit to clean cloudy headlights is a 30-minute process, but it takes a bit longer time. But owing to the company’s confidence in its product, even 45 minutes for your headlights are worth it.

Pros:

  • It does not require a power tool.
  • A three-step process, which does not require hard work or tiring sanding exercise.
  • The oxidation remover wipes, the surface prep pad, and the ceramic coating are some of their type tools.
  • It is a very organized kit.
  • The long-lasting UV protection lasts for a lifetime.

Cons:

  • The result depends on the extent of oxidation.

Must check: DIY Car Painting Equipment List: How to Paint a Car at Home

How to Clean Headlights That are Foggy [FAQs]:

Fogged, yellowed, or cloudy headlights come with a lot of questions, especially when you are planning on cleaning them. There are various car headlight cleaning solutions, tools, and headlight restoration kits available in the market.

Still, all of them confuse car owners and compel them to ask questions such as what to use to clean plastic headlights, how to clean oxidized headlights with household products, what is the best headlight restoration kit on the market to clean foggy headlights, etc.

If you are also puzzled and these questions are bugging you, you are covered here. The most common questions of car owners regarding removing oxidation from car headlights are answered in this section. Here we go:

Can You Use Bug Spray to Clean Headlights?


Yes, you can use insect repellent spray (commonly known as bug spray) to clean car headlights. Remember, this is a method that is effective against slight oxidation. Therefore, it may not deliver crystal clear clarity on heavily oxidized headlights. However, it is a cheaper way to remove oxidation from headlights.

If you are thinking about what kind of bug spray cleans headlights, there are two most popular and reliable insect repellent spray; Sawyer Product premium maxi DEET and Coleman 100 Max, which yield the best results.

The DEET in bug spray is effective against oxidation. In addition, it is a simple method and does not require much time. So if you want clear headlights before your road trip, a bug spray will help you out.

What Household Items Can You Use to Clean Plastic Headlights?


Your kitchen is full of amazing ingredients. Your bathroom has the most effective product to clean oxidized headlights. The answer to what to use to clean plastic headlights lies in your house only as there are some products which will make effective headlight cleaners.

For example, there is toothpaste in your bathroom. It is a one-product army that does not need anything else with it to clean your car’s foggy headlights.

There is baking soda and white vinegar, which can be mixed in proportion to make a powerful cleaner. It is a method that is easy, effective, and effortless.

Then there is bug spray with DEET, which is effective against mild damage. You can sand your headlights as well. These household methods are cost-effective and proven.

Can You Use Magic Eraser on Car Headlights?


Cleaning headlights with a magic eraser may not sound very convincing, but it works. For slightly foggy headlights, it will do magic.

All you have to do is wet the eraser and start scrubbing. The yellowing and dirt will start coming off. You don’t need to pair it with any other ingredient.

After you are satisfied, rinse it off with water, and you will get clean headlights. It works best for slightly cloudy headlights. If you don’t want to invest money in some powerful DIY headlight restoration kits, which are very effective, you can go for a magic eraser.

How to Clean Foggy Headlights with Household Products

Clean headlights make it safe for you and the surrounding people on roads and enhance the appeal of your car. Time, sun, dirt, and chemicals take their toll on the headlights, and they lose their bright glow, getting all hazy and foggy. But it is a problem you can address on your own at home with household products.

Foggy headlights do not draw an owner’s attention but cleaning them is essential. Unfortunately, many people do not like to invest in powerful and professional headlight restoration kits. Instead, they need something which is handy, cheap, and accessible.

And if you are also one of them and still curious to learn exactly how to clean foggy headlights at home, baking soda and white vinegar can be beneficial for you. Just mix the ingredients, dip a cloth and start cleaning. If you regularly clean your headlights with this solution, you may never have to worry about their fading appeal.

Using a DIY headlight restoration kit is better if you want an effective solution against the extremely oxidized car headlights. In this guide, we have listed several effective and best headlight restoration kits available on the market right now.

You can try Cerakote ceramic Headlight Restoration Kit. With a lifetime warranty and its unique ceramic coating formula, you get clean and clear headlights for the lifetime of your car.

There are various other car headlight restoration products as well on the list which are effective in their own ways. So weigh your options, check out the best way to clean foggy headlights, and start restoring your car’s headlights.

We hope now you know how to clean headlights that are foggy and how to clean oxidized headlights with household products at home by yourself. If you found this guide helpful for you, please feel free to share it with your friends or family members so that they can get benefited from it as well. Good luck!

You may also be interested in checking out:

About Amy Cuban

I am an automotive enthusiast who loves to be around cars. I enjoy working on cars in my spare time and love anything related to automobiles. I like using different types of car accessories, car gadgets, and innovative car care products.

Leave a Comment