Finally, use paper towel to dry the headlight. Car owners face a common problem – foggy or cloudy headlights. In most vehicles, headlights are made of polycarbonate plastic, a durable material. Still, they can degrade and cloud up over time.

This occurs due to constant exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) sunrays as well as built-up grime. Foggy and cloudy headlights reduce the amount of light that shines out of them, which can make driving at night difficult and even dangerous.


A simple car wash will not fix the problem. You can buy a headlight restoration kit, but it can be expensive. There are many affordable and effective cleaning methods that you can easily do at home.

clean foggy headlight before after

There are two ways to restore clarity to your vehicle’s foggy and cloudy car headlights:

Method 1: Baking Soda and Vinegar

clean foggy headlight things need

Things you’ll need:

clean foggy headlight things need

  • Water in a spray bottle
  • Vinegar
  • Paper towel
  • Microfiber cloth or rag
  • Baking soda – 1 to 2 tablespoons
  • Liquid soap
  • Clean dusting cloth

Step 1. Wipe off dry dust

wipe off dry dust to clean car headlight

First, remove the dry dust from your headlight using a clean dusting cloth.

Step 2. Dilute liquid soap with water

dilute liquid soap to clean car headlight

Pour some liquid soap in a bowl and dilute it by adding a little water. Mix it well to get a thin solution.

Step 3. Rub the headlight with the solution

rub the headlight with liquid soap to clean it

Dip a microfiber cloth in the diluted soap and use it to clean the headlight. Try to clean off as much grime as possible before you proceed to the next step.


For extra grimy headlights, allow the soapy solution to sit on the headlight for a little while. This will make it easier to scrub off the grime.

Step 4. Rinse off the solution

rinse soap solution to clean car headlight

Rinse off the soapy residue using water from a spray bottle.

Now clean the headlight with a towel.


Step 5. Prepare baking soda and vinegar paste

prepare baking soda and vinegar solution to clean car headlight

Take another bowl and put about 1 to 2 tablespoons of baking soda in it. Add white vinegar to it to form a thick paste. The chemical reaction will cause fizz to form.

Step 6. Clean the headlight with the paste

clean car headlight with vinegar and baking soda paste

Use a clean cloth to scoop a dollop of paste out of the bowl and smear it on the headlight.

Now rub the headlight gently with the cloth. If needed, splash some water on the headlight to rinse off the paste, then reapply and rub again.

Do this until all the grime is gone and you are satisfied with your hard work. Then use the cloth to wipe the headlight until it is completely free of the baking soda and vinegar paste.


Step 7. Splash water on it

splash water to clean car headlight

Using a spray bottle, gently spray water on the headlight. It will help remove any remaining residue.

Step 8. Wipe it dry with paper towel

wipe car headlight with paper towel to clean it

Finally, dry off the headlight with paper towel to avoid water marks. Your car headlight just went from cloudy and foggy to fancy with less than 30 minutes of work.

clean foggy car headlight

Method 2: Toothpaste

clean foggy headlight before after

Things you’ll need:

clean foggy headlight things need

  • Water in a spray bottle
  • Toothpaste containing baking soda and peroxide
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Paper towel
  • Clean dusting cloth

Step 1. Wipe off dry dust

wipe off dry dust to clean car headlight

Use a clean dusting cloth to wipe any dry dust off the headlight. This is important to make your cleaning work easier. When dry dust comes in contact with any liquid, it becomes sticky and difficult to clean.

Step 2. Apply toothpaste on the wet headlight

apply toothpaste to clean car headlight

Squeeze out a bit of toothpaste onto a soft toothbrush. Toothpaste is a good, gentle abrasive plastic polish that can help remove the cloudiness from your headlight. Any regular white toothpaste will work, however, avoid using toothpaste with cooling crystals.

Next, moisten the headlight by spraying water over it. You simply need to wet the surface of the headlight. There is no need to drench the whole car with water.

Now, spread the toothpaste evenly on the headlight.

Step 3. Rub gently

rub toothpaste to clean car headlight


Once the toothpaste is applied, use the same toothbrush and rub it gently all over the headlight. You will see how fast the grime comes off!

Try to scrub off as much grime as possible with this paste. Make sure to cover the whole surface.

Step 4. Rinse with water

rinse it with water to clean car headlight

Next, rinse the headlight with a little water to remove the entire toothpaste residue.

Step 5. Dry with clean paper towel

clean car headlight with clean paper towel

Finally, use paper towel to dry the headlight.

Make sure to dry the whole headlight thoroughly to prevent water marks from appearing later.

In the evening, take your car for a spin around the block and you’ll see how much better your headlights illuminate the road.

clean foggy and dirty car headlight

Additional Tips:

  • Always make sure you clean the headlights in a slow and steady manner.
  • For an even better shine, add some car wax as a final step. Consider having plastic adhesion added to your headlights to keep them in good shape.
  • Clean your headlights at least once a month to improve visibility.
  • If needed, repeat either method above two or three times to get significant results.

Summary of How to clean Foggy and Cloudy Car Headlights

Foggy headlights cleaning

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