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Auto Detailing Supplies: Cleaning Car Headlights

Headlight RestorationRestoring your foggy headlights is one of the most important things you can do to improve your everyday driving. Weather you choose to do it yourself with a headlight restoration kit or have it done professionally by professional detailers, foggy headlights impairs your headlight light projection and this is a major safety issue. According DMV foggy or hazy headlights are a major cause of accidents in night time driving.

There are many methods of cleaning and restoring your headlights. The difference in the different methods of headlight restoration is how long it will last. Headlight restoration is not very difficult to do but it does require some skill and time. You want to make sure you are using the correct auto detailing supplies. Some detailing supplies work better than others and this sometimes depends on your vehicle type.

Getting Started

If you plan to restore your own vehicle’s headlights you will need the following items:

  • Sand paper 400 / 800 /1000 / 2500 grit
  • Polishing compound
  • Headlight restoration sealer
  • Blue masking tape
  • Spray bottle
  • Paper towel or rags
  • Lint free applicator

Step 1: Sanding

First, you want to clean your headlight with soap and water to remove all the debris from your headlights. Next, tape off your headlight with blue masking tape to avoid damaging other areas. Now that your car is taped off proceed to start sanding your headlights with the 400 grit sanding paper.


You must keep your headlights moist by spraying it with water. Sand with the 400 grit sand paper until the headlight lens looks clear of all blemishes and there is no more yellow. Next, wash the headlight to remove the entire 400 grit residue. Continue to sand with the 800 grit then move on to the 1000 and then 2500. It is important to wash the headlights after every sanding change.

If your headlights are foggy or cloudy in some areas but crystal clear on others, this means you have some existing manufacturers sealant left on the headlights. Believe it or not, headlights in this condition are a little more difficult to restore than a headlight that is completely oxidized. It is recommended to start with a 220 grit sandpaper when you are restoring partially foggy headlights or headlights that are just starting to get foggy or cloudy.

NOTE: Sand from right to left in order to get the best results. At the end of sanding with 2500 your headlight should look clean and a little hazy or cloudy. This is perfectly normal.

Steps 2: Polishing

Use a water soluble compound or polish for this step. Most polishing compounds work best with a buffing pad, or buffing machine. In buffing your headlights you must use caution as not to spend too much time on any one spot as this will burn your headlight lens. Always read the instructions of all compounds you use.

Step 3: Sealing

After you have polished the headlights wash and dry them thoroughly. Water will be your enemy in sealing your headlights.  Apply the sealer from left to right. Leave to dry for 15 minutes or more, depending on the weather condition in your area.

Find DIY headlight restoration a little too taxing? Schedule your appointment with DetailXPerts and let the pros restore your headlight to brand new.

10 Responses to “Auto Detailing Supplies: Cleaning Car Headlights”

  1. […] Auto Detailing Supplies: Cleaning Car Headlights […]

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  3. Matt, how did it work out for you?

  4. […] your headlight is made of plastic, you can easily get rid of the dirt by using wet sandpaper on it. This will take you anything from twenty to forty-five minutes, depending on how far along […]

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  6. […] 5 – Apply a generous amount of the headlight restorer product to the […]

  7. […] but they could very well be cloudy. Although there are a few ways to clean clouded headlights, we recommend a sanding and polishing method. Get ready to apply some elbow grease and get down to business. To […]

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  9. […] We are confident that whichever headlight restoration kit you choose will perform great and will not be hazardous to you and the environment. We also have tips on how to clean your car headlights. […]

  10. […] car headlights at home need not be expensive.  You can use toothpaste. Yes, this handy product for personal […]


August 2012
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