Life Hacks for cleaning Headlights

Defog Your Car's Headlights  January 9, 2016 – 09:59 pm
Life Hack: Cleaning Headlights

Over time your car's headlights haze or fog over due to sand, grit, and other debris literally sandblasting the headlight over the years. Defogging your car's headlights will improve both the light's appearance and function. Buying a wet-sanding defog kit works well, but you can also do the job with denatured alcohol and some elbow grease.

Defogging headlights consists of removing the scratches that have been sandblasted onto the surface of the headlight. You can do this either by wet-sanding the surface or using denatured alcohol to strip away and polish out the scratches. A user on Mazda forum tried both approaches side-by-side and both seemed to work equally well. We covered methods using toothpaste (polishing) and sandpaper (sanding) in the past, and here are two more:

The wet-sanding method involves washing the headlight with water and soap, using masking tape to protect the paint around the light, sanding with an abrasive compound, buffing, and finally polishing the headlight. You can do this by hand, using a drill or rotary tool, or even an orbital sander. You can buy a 3M kit designed to work with your home drill for $14.54 from Amazon.

The polishing method requires denatured alcohol, commonly found in nail polish remover, gas additives, and sold in any home improvement store in the painting section. You can buy a quart of it from Amazon for $7.29 and that will be more than enough for this project. This method is a lot less complicated—just use a rag soaked with denatured alcohol to firmly polish the headlight several times. The light may still look foggy while the alcohol is on the surface, so after you polish the light for a few minutes take a break and let the alcohol evaporate. You may have to do this two or three times to get the headlight sufficiently defogged.


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