How to Clean Headlights with WD40, Toothpaste, and Baking Soda

Having car headlights in good condition directly affects our safety and that of other road users. Today we explain how to clean headlights with WD40, toothpaste, and baking soda.

Years ago, headlights were made of glass, but this material is very vulnerable, so it was easy for them to break. Polycarbonate is much more resistant to shocks and weathering.

Car headlights are especially affected by age and use. It is easy to see how the headlight covers yellow or becomes opaque over time.

To restore this clear glass effect to car headlights, you can resort to a very basic and accessible mechanical operation: polishing car headlights.

Why Do Headlights Deteriorate?

The headlamps are constructed of polycarbonate, which is a lighter and, a priori, more durable material than aluminum or magnesium.

The problem with this material is that it degrades over time as a result of constant exposure to the elements.

Both exposure to sunlight, which can burn the outer surface of the headlamp, and the erosion that occurs as a result of its use can cause damage.

The result is reduced transparency, which in turn results in reduced efficiency. When the lenses are transformed into transparent screens, many of them take on a white or yellowish color.

Symptoms Of Deteriorated Headlights

There are three ways to detect that our headlights deteriorate. For the most absent-minded, it will probably be at the MOT when the operator on duty tells us that our headlights have a problem.

And the problem will bounce right back to our wallet because defective lighting is a fault.

Precisely the illumination is another of the symptoms that will indicate to us that something is not going well.

It is somewhat ambiguous because those who do not use the car in low light conditions or at night will not notice the difference, but those who do will see how their headlights no longer illuminate properly because the light passing through the plastic cover is insufficient.

Finally, the easiest and quickest way to detect the symptoms is to look at our headlights and see that they no longer look like new.

They have lost their transparency and we will probably see a whitish or yellowish coating.

Further, if we touch the headlights, we may notice a rough surface that can even stain our fingers with small fragments of material.

How to Clean Oxidized or Cloudy Headlights

You can clean dark or fogged headlights with various household products.

  • WD40
  • Toothpaste
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar

The list of the above will be the subject of this article.

How To Clean Headlights With Toothpaste

The use of toothpaste to polish the headlights of the car is a very good home trick when the wear of the same is still small.

This remedy is very easy to apply and the success is total thanks to the abrasive particles contained in toothpaste, especially whitening ones.

  1. Wash the headlights with soap and water or glass cleaner;
  2. Apply the toothpaste on the headlight with a cloth;
  3. Scrub it in small circles until homogenized and let it dry 5-6 minutes;
  4. Repeat the process as the paste dries;
  5. Rinse with water and clean the headlights again with soap and water or glass cleaner.

How To Clean Headlights With WD40

This mixture seeks to combine the cleaning properties of WD-40 or 3-in-One oils with the abrasive effect of baking soda.

It is recommended if the headlight has difficult stains such as encrusted rust. If you use this mixture, you must be careful that the oil does not end up on the moldings or other plastic parts of the car. Masking tape will help you avoid this.

  1. Make a frame around the headlight with masking tape or similar.
  2. Mix the WD-40 and the baking soda to get a dense mixture. To get an idea of how dense it should be, look for a creaminess similar to toothpaste.
  3. Rub it over the entire surface of the headlight making small circles. The longer the better, but 5 or 6 minutes will be enough.
  4. Wash with water and soap making sure that you remove all the oil.
  5. Clean the headlight with a glass cleaner.

How To Clean Headlights With Baking Soda

Another of those home remedies to polish the headlights of the car by hand, really effective and that can help us to recover its total functionality.

The process begins by mixing vinegar and baking soda, always carefully because it will form a foam.

Once the paste is created, the method of use is the same as for toothpaste.

How To Clean Headlights With Vinegar

Another ingredient that we usually have in our homes is vinegar. This liquid has been a widely used cleaning item throughout history.

We can mix water and vinegar in the container of a window cleaner, spray the headlights with it and wait for a minute.

The last step will be to wipe the vinegar solution off the headlight with a microfiber cloth.

Most of the dirt should come off easily, but you can scrub a little more if you find anything stuck to the headlight surface.

Tips For Keeping Headlights Looking Like New

  • It is essential to clean your headlights regularly.
  • Avoid car wash tunnels because they may have rollers that can scratch your headlights.
  • Avoid using harsh or industrial cleaning products.
  • The best maintenance you can do to your headlights is to park your car in the shade to avoid exposure to UV rays that degrade the plastic.
  • Do not abuse the polishing of headlights, remember that you are eliminating thickness to your headlights and you can weaken the material.

Final Thoughts

There are many techniques to polish the headlights of your car. Among the cheapest are the homemade ones but these do not give you the quality and duration of a professional headlight polish.

In the market, there are restoration kits to restore the original shine to your headlights in a very easy and economical way.

Do not pay to polish the headlights of your car, do it yourself like a professional following the steps we gave you and save a lot of money.

Liam Dare

As CEO of, my passion for the automotive world motivates me to build online businesses that provide information and entertainment to users. I am proud to contribute in a positive way to the automotive community.