Sparesbox Blog

How To Clean Headlights

By Linda Quan

Thu Mar 11 2021

Just like the rest of your car, headlight covers require routine cleaning to look their best. Foggy headlights are a one-way trip to making your vehicle look dated and old; they can also dim your headlights significantly, making your vehicle harder to see in the dark for other drivers and giving you reduced visibility of the road.

So, what causes foggy headlights? There are several reasons your headlights might be foggy. The most common reason is the oxidation of the plastic that makes up the headlight cover. During manufacturing, the plastic is covered with a hard topcoat that protects the acrylic material beneath from UV rays. Over time, this topcoat wears away and the plastic begins to oxidise in the presence of sunlight and oxygen, causing it to turn an ugly yellow hue.

Another reason could be damage from road debris. Sitting at the front of your car, your headlights are in prime position to be hit by rocks and other things flung up from the road. Over time, these collisions cause micro scratches that cause the plastic to become foggy and lose its clarity.

And finally, another common reason for foggy headlights is when a layer of mud, chemicals, salts, or water vapour is deposited on the outside or inside of the headlight. Anyone who’s driven in muddy or snowy environments will know that it gets real messy, real quick!

So, what’s the best way to clean your headlights? With the right products, it’s a simple task. Check out the steps below!


  1. Take off the headlight cover and relocate it to a work bench for easy cleaning.
  2. Get off any mud or dirt with a gentle soap.
  3. Dry off the cover.
  4. Apply a headlight cleanser such as the Meguiar’s Two Step Headlight Restoration Kit or the Rain-X Headlight Restoration Kit and let it sit for a few minutes. This will remove the old, oxidised layer and reveal a fresh, clearer layer beneath.
  5. Remove the cleanser with a brush, working in gentle circular motions. Try not to use too much pressure because the cleanser is abrasive and can permanently mar your headlight cover.
  6. Clean off the cleanser with a damp towel and buff away any residual cleanser.
  7. Apply a restoration coating (usually provided in a restoration kit) and let it dry. If needed, follow up with a second coating. This will help protect your plastic from further UV damage.

And there you have it, your headlights should look as good as new! For more car detailing products, check out our Car Care Kits range here.