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Auto Detailing Supplies: Cleaning Car Headlights

  • Auto Detailing Supplies Cleaning Car Headlights
    August 6, 2012

    Cleaning car headlights is one of the most important things you can do to improve your everyday driving.  Unattended, foggy headlights can impair your vision and makes your car less visible to other drivers. According DMV foggy or hazy headlights is a major cause of accidents in night time driving.

    There are different methods for 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, 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 is clean and clear, not yellowish.

    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.

    If your headlights are foggy or cloudy in some areas but crystal clear on others, this means your headlights have some manufacturers sealant left behind.

    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 grit, your headlight should look clean and a little hazy or cloudy. This is perfectly normal.

    Step 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.

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