More than 40 percent of accidents take place in the dark. Poor visibility is a major factor that can increase the possibility of an accident. Headlights are necessary for lighting up the front end of your vehicle so you can see the road ahead. Of course, they are also necessary for other drivers to see you when driving at night or when visibility is poor. Headlights are easily overlooked, and if you don’t take care of them, they will turn yellow and foggy over time.
If you are also facing the same problem, you are at the right place! This guide will tell you how you can clean foggy headlights and also how to prevent them. We will discuss some very effective household methods and some products that will work like magic.
Why do Headlights Get Foggy or Turn Yellow?
Modern vehicles are equipped with polycarbonate headlight lenses. These lenses can become oxidized with time resulting in yellow or foggy headlights. Your car’s headlights may have become cloudy due to exposure to the sun, rain, and road conditions. What’s scary is severe fogging of the headlights can reduce visibility by up to 80%. Let’s find out why you have foggy headlights.
- Dirt and chemicals: It’s not just you who is facing pollution and dirt on the road but your car is also facing it. A thin layer of dirt and chemicals forms on the lenses after several years of driving. This layer reduces the brightness of your headlights.
- Flying debris: Your headlights have to suffer from road salt, gravel, and other debris that gets kicked up as you drive down the road. This wears down the top coat and causes pits and scratches on your headlights, which contributes to their foggy appearance.
- Oxidation: A clear top coat is applied to headlight lenses to help prevent oxidation, but the coating eventually wears off, and sunlight turns the hard plastic yellow.
- Water vapor: Just like a clear top to prevent Oxidation, Headlights also come with a watertight seal, but this seal can break because of wear and tear. Condensation forms inside the lens after the seal gets broken. The water droplets scatter the light beam, reducing visibility at night.
How to Prevent Foggy Headlights?
You are a smart person if you are looking for ways to prevent your headlights from getting foggy. To put it simply, even though there are various methods to easily fix foggy headlights, prevention is much easier.
- Park your car in the shade: One of the simplest ways to prevent foggy headlights is to park your vehicle in the shade or under cover, with the headlights facing away from direct sunlight. This will significantly reduce the possibility of fogging.
- Polish the headlights: Polish your headlight lenses with a non-abrasive polish and a microfiber cloth to remove early signs of yellowing.
- Clean your car: The final and most basic prevention method is simply keeping your car clean. This may sound cliche, but small particulates picked up while driving can increase the rate of oxidation.
How to Clean Foggy Headlights
Before we move on and tell you how to clean foggy headlights, since you are facing this problem, there are chances that you might also be facing the problem of moisture and humidity inside your car. Humidity and moisture inside the car can lead to a poor driving experience and a foggy windshield.
To solve this problem, you can use moisture absorbing bags inside the car. Condensation from beverages, snow on shoes, and even wet clothing can cause moisture and a funky smell in your vehicle. Moisture absorbing bags are a great way to eliminate that moisture and keep your car dry and fresh.
Let’s get back to how to clean foggy headlights. There could be two situations: you are either facing a problem of a yellow headlight on the outside or condensation on the inside. Condensation or moisture on the inside can cause a blurry effect and make the light dull.
First, let’s talk about how to clean foggy headlights on the outside.
How to Clean Foggy Headlights with Vinegar?
The acidic nature of vinegar is what makes it so helpful for various household cleaning tasks. This is one of the reasons it can be used to remove stains from foggy headlights as well as any cloudy surface.
- The first step is to wash the headlights using a clean cloth with car wash soap and water. Allow it to dry in air for a few minutes before proceeding to the next step.
- Prepare a vinegar cleaning solution. You must be very careful and add one cup of vinegar to three cups of water.
- Dip a microfiber cleaning cloth into the mixture. Spend a few minutes rubbing it onto each headlight. If necessary, use more cleaning solution as you go.
- Allow your headlights to air dry after rinsing them with clean water. If you feel the need to clean it more, then you can repeat the cleaning process but make sure to rinse it with water at the end.
How to Clean Foggy Headlights with Baking Soda
Baking soda is an effective cleaning agent that can be used to clean most types of car headlights. Cleaning foggy headlights with baking soda is simple and inexpensive.
- Firstly, wash the headlights with warm water and soap. Dry it with a microfiber cloth completely.
- Carefully make a baking soda paste that you can use to remove the yellowness. Add one part of water to two parts of baking soda in a bowl and stir it well.
- Gently apply this mixture to both the headlights. After that, gently rub the mixture with the help of an old toothbrush or a sponge.
- Rinse with clean water and pat dry with a towel or soft cloth. You can repeat the process if you think that the headlights are still hazy.
How to Clean Car Headlights with Toothpaste
You might not have thought that something you use to clean your teeth every morning can be used to shine your car’s headlights. It’s a little abrasive which makes it ideal for removing the residue that causes the headlights to be dim. When using this DIY headlight cleaning method, spend about five minutes of cleaning per headlight.
- The first step is similar to previous methods. Use regular car washing soap to clean your headlights thoroughly. Let it air dry for a few minutes before moving on to the next step.
- Areas around the headlights should be covered with masking tape. The tape will protect the plastic and paint around the light from drying toothpaste.
- Don’t forget to wear disposable gloves. Add a little toothpaste to a damp cleaning cloth. Rub each headlight firmly and gradually add the toothpaste and small amounts of water. Spend approximately five minutes on each headlight to achieve the desired effect.
- Use clean water to rinse the headlights and let them air dry. You can apply a small amount of car wax if you want to keep your car’s headlights shiny for a longer time.
How to Clean Foggy Headlights with Magic Eraser
It is very easy to clean foggy headlights with the help of a Magic Eraser. Magic Eraser is easily available and affordable. You will only need water, a drying cloth, a magic eraser, and masking tape.
- Start with outlining your headlight with masking tape to prevent the magic eraser from damaging your car paint. It is easy to make a mistake and damage the car paint while cleaning.
- After applying the masking tape, put the magic eraser in the water and then squeeze out the excess water so that it is only damp and not soaking wet.
- Rub the magic eraser gently. To clean effectively, rub the headlights in small circular motions. Be careful and don’t rub the car paint.
- Rewet and squeeze the magic eraser again if you feel that it is drying up. Follow the cleaning process for five to ten minutes.
- You will notice a shiny headlight after five to ten minutes, and when that happens, gently pat the headlight dry.
- Gently rub a headlight sealant with the help of a dry cloth. This will keep your headlights shiny for longer.
How to Clean Foggy Headlights with Bug Spray
One of the most popular do-it-yourself methods is to use insect repellant to clear up cloudy lenses. You can use any bug spray that contains DEET.
- To protect the paint from bug spray, cover the areas around the headlight with masking tape.
- Carefully spray the insect repellant on a microfiber cloth or a towel. You should never spray it directly on the headlight because it will damage the paint.
- Rub the headlight with the bug spray until it is clear. The amount of effort required to scrub depends on the severity of the cloudiness. If your headlight is very cloudy and yellow, you will need to rub for a long time, but don’t use too much force.
- When you see the desired result, simply clean the headlight once with a damp towel or cloth.
How to Clean Foggy Headlights on the inside?
Unlike cleaning the headlights from the outside, cleaning them from the inside can be tricky. You might be thinking that to clean the headlights from the inside; you have to disassemble them. Yes, that is one way to do it, but that method is very risky. Disassembling a headlight means breaking the watertight seal that keeps the lens safe. You might not be able to put it back like before. That would only make things worse as even more moisture and dirt can enter an improperly sealed headlight. Eventually, you will be spending a lot from your pocket to seek professional help. However, if you follow the steps given below, it will be like a walk in the park!
Steps to clean the headlights without taking them apart.
- First things first, as you are going to clean it without taking it apart, you will need magnets. The magnets should be small enough to get inside the casing. You need to cover the magnet with a soft cloth like a magnet or sponge and stitch it so that it doesn’t come out. You can also use hot glue instead of needle and thread.
- Detach the headlights from the car. Different cars have different builds, but most of the time, all you need to do is lift the hood and take out some screws. You can also refer to your owner’s manual to safely remove the headlight.
- Put the headlight on a dry towel and carefully remove the bulb. Make sure not to touch the glass bulb; hold it only from the base. This lamp opening will be used to insert the magnets inside the headlights.
- The next step requires a tiny magnetic pick-up tool or just any grabber tool. Use the grabber tool to place the magnetic cloth inside the headlight. Remember not to let go of it until you place the other magnet on the outside of the headlight. Once the magnets are in place, you can take out the grabber tool.
- Now get to cleaning the headlights. The inner magnet will also move on moving the outer magnet. Since it is wrapped in a soft cloth or sponge, it will not damage the lens. You will instantly see the results, and if the dirt inside the headlight is persistent, you can dip the cloth in some cleaning agent.
- Now, all that’s left to do is put the headlight back on the car. Don’t forget to put back all the screws in their places.
Tools required to clean foggy headlights from the inside.
- A pair of strong magnets
- A screwdriver
- A grabbing tool
- A pair of scissors
- Non-abrasive cotton or a sponge
- Hot glue or needle and thread
- A dry towel
- A cleaning agent
- Your owner’s manual
The Best Cleaner for Foggy Headlights
Now you know how you can clean the foggy headlights of your car. If you do not have a cleaning agent or a cleaning kit to clean the headlights or a moisture-absorbing bag to keep your car dry, and you need to search for the best ones, you don’t need to go anywhere! You can try these two products and you will forget that you even had a problem with moisture and foggy headlights.
PowerBall 4Lights Polishing Tool
Mothers PowerBall 4 Lights Polishing Tool is made up of professional-grade foam that is ultra soft and highly absorbent. Instead of cleaning with your hands, you can get it done faster and more effectively with the PowerBall. The spherical shape of the PowerBall allows it to polish all sides without any hassle.
If your headlights are as yellow as a sunflower, it is because of severe oxidation. To cure that, the kit also includes five single-sided sanding pads. Each pad has a different degree of coarseness which helps you to get the desired results.
PowerBall 4Lights Polishing Tool helps to achieve crystal clarity and leaves a tough protective layer that prevents oxidation to guard against any future degradation. If you want clean headlights, this product works like magic. It polishes out scratches, oxidation, and discoloration to clean the surface. And yes it was created for cleaning the headlights but it can clean any cloudy, yellowing piece of plastic.
The PowerBall 4Lights Polishing Tool comes with all that you need to get rid of foggy headlights in less than an hour, and it costs less than $30.
- Washable and reusable
- Easy to use
- Good quality
- Clear instructions
Moso Natural Car Moisture Absorber
Have you finally decided to get rid of the moisture in your car? Give a try to Moso Natural Car Moisture Absorber. It is a highly effective air purifier that not only absorbs moisture but also absorbs harmful pollutants and odors. It has the ability to keep your car, RV, closets, bathrooms, and homes dry, fresh, and odor free.
Most moisture absorbers and air purifiers mask the odors with chemicals and fragrances that are harmful to us. Fortunately, that is not the case with Moso Natural Car Moisture Absorber as it contains only one material, Moso bamboo charcoal. It is safe and 100% chemical and fragrance-free.
The Moso bag has a life of two years! All that you need to do is to put it under the sun for one hour once a month. If you follow this process, it will work very well for two years and after that, you can sprinkle the charcoal from the moisture bag into your garden and it will promote plant growth.
The bag is made up of high-quality fabric which will not tear apart. It comes with a metal grommet that allows you to place or hang the bag anywhere. There is an option to write down the date on the front of the bag. This minor detail is quite thoughtful, given that the bag can be used for two years and we are unlikely to recall the bag’s second anniversary. Writing the date directly on the bag ensures that we know when to replace it.
- Natural ingredients
- Lasts for up to 2 years
- No fragrance
- Great for small spaces
- “Rejuvenates” in the sun
Now you know very well what to do and what not to do about your foggy headlights. Without emptying your pocket, you can use household materials like vinegar, baking soda, and toothpaste to restore the headlights. I suggest you give these methods a try before you spend a lot of money to replace your car’s headlights. Keep your car clean and dry with the help of a moisture-absorbing bag. Remember to make sure that your headlights are clean and clear to keep not only yourself but drivers around you safe while driving in poor visibility situations