How to clean your vehicle's headlights - Use toothpaste


Before

After

For the longest time I have thought that my headlights looked very dim and that I could probably clean my headlight covers to remedy this.  Yesterday I decided to do something about it.

There are many products you can buy to do this. I am cheap and lazy so I decided to do it another way.

This is actually super easy and relatively quick to do.  Searching on Google, I found people using toothpaste doing the same thing here and here and here and here and here and here.  So I figured it would be worth a shot.



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Get a rag or two you don't mind getting dirty, and some cheap toothpaste.  This is what we will use as our abrasive.  If you have a buffer, go ahead and use it to get faster and better results.

My car is about 13 years old. I don't know if the headlights have ever been cleaned.



Apply the toothpaste and vigorously rub the toothpaste over what needs to be cleaned.  Then wipe off the toothpaste with a clean rag (or clean part of the rag).


The results should come pretty fast and easy! Warning:
Toothpaste is an abrasive.  You are essentially sanding away the haziness.  If you have a lens protectant, you will be sanding this away as well and may want to replace it after doing this.



Get a rag or two you don't mind getting dirty, and some cheap toothpaste.  This is what we will use as our abrasive.  If you have a buffer, go ahead and use it to get faster and better results.

My car is about 13 years old. I don't know if the headlights have ever been cleaned.



Apply the toothpaste and vigorously rub the toothpaste over what needs to be cleaned.  Then wipe off the toothpaste with a clean rag (or clean part of the rag).


The results should come pretty fast and easy! Warning:
Toothpaste is an abrasive.  You are essentially sanding away the haziness.  If you have a lens protectant, you will be sanding this away as well and may want to replace it after doing this.
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129 comments

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aelwynedee
AUTHOR
February 15, 2012 at 6:12 PM delete

Using toothpaste is cheaper way to clean your Headlight Bulbs.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
March 14, 2012 at 5:06 PM delete

Seriously this worked! Because I have been trying to figure out what to buy to clean my headlights and what so much stuff out here I just do not know what is best or will work.

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ryan
AUTHOR
April 11, 2012 at 5:26 PM delete

I did this with useing baking soda and dishwashing detergent also can't tell weather it worked or not but hopefully it did thought it would have done a better job though did not use a buffer though

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Anonymous
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June 21, 2012 at 10:46 PM delete

I tried and tried were I'm from its hot I found that breastmilk and rolax works great

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Pixie Chick
AUTHOR
July 9, 2012 at 2:38 AM delete

Is this for plastic headlight covers as well or just glass?

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July 11, 2012 at 8:36 PM delete

My headlights are plastic. It works as an abrasive, so it would work on any surface that can use some deep cleaning.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
July 20, 2012 at 4:19 PM delete

just did this by hand on my altima and it worked!!! Crazy!

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July 25, 2012 at 8:01 AM delete

I just used it on my 1997 Grand Marq. Awesome!

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
July 27, 2012 at 9:20 PM delete

$1 bottle of toothpaste & $1 cloth= clear headlights! Thanks for the tip. My civic couldn't look better!

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Anonymous
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July 29, 2012 at 7:09 AM delete

Worked great!

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Anonymous
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August 14, 2012 at 3:20 PM delete

i used my tears and it looks brand new

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Anonymous
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August 14, 2012 at 3:21 PM delete

i got chuck norris to look at them and they unfogged

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
August 16, 2012 at 10:11 AM delete

i like turtles, but also tried this and it worked

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
August 16, 2012 at 6:29 PM delete

I used a pleco from my aquarium it sucks algea and more.

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September 25, 2012 at 1:31 PM delete

thank you for sharing this. I have also used baking soda and toothpaste. Both are useful house remedies for foggy headlight.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
October 8, 2012 at 8:17 PM delete

Ima tryit

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
October 22, 2012 at 10:40 AM delete

I tried this and it worked great. My only concern is this: why are there so many asinine comments being made here? Why don't you pismire minions get a life, or better yet, try using this toothpaste to buff out some of the stupidity from your head

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
October 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM delete

^^^like^^^

HAHAHA Minions!!!!

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
November 8, 2012 at 9:45 AM delete

what if I have a gel toothpaste will that work also?

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Unknown
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November 8, 2012 at 10:17 AM delete

It would seem Gel Toothpaste would not have the abrasive in it to do much good.

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Anonymous
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November 14, 2012 at 12:57 PM delete

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You cann't believe just how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thanks!
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Nelson Heimer
AUTHOR
November 20, 2012 at 8:59 AM delete

I’ll take your word for that. It’s impressive how the toothpaste was able to remove the yellow stains, probably an effect of aging on the cover. If only people knew about this easy procedure, accidents due to headlight glare would be greatly reduced. On another note, I think this cleaning technique will work for other glass fixtures, right?

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Anonymous
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November 24, 2012 at 4:42 AM delete

Qualіtу articleѕ is the kеy to іnvite the vіewers to pay a quіck ѵiѕit the site, that's what this site is providing.
Also visit my web-site :: Seized Cars

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Anonymous
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November 27, 2012 at 8:26 PM delete

Going to try toothpaste. My lights seem so dim from this crappy plastic car makers use.

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Anonymous
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December 10, 2012 at 2:45 PM delete

After applying toothpaste, sweeping around Headlights & finally, using a Damp Rag to wipe off the toothpaste & cleaning the Headlights, then it will be shinny.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
December 10, 2012 at 3:02 PM delete

Just tried it and it worked great!! Only used a sample size tube of toothpaste which cost .50 at wal mart. Cheap fix. Thanks for the tip

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
December 14, 2012 at 5:25 AM delete

Have you guys tried soap and water first????

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
December 17, 2012 at 7:01 PM delete

Will this work with my Colgate SpongeBob Mild Bubble Fruit toothpaste?
Thanks
Huckleberry

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
December 24, 2012 at 10:03 AM delete

Toothpaste fix teeth yellow. Toothpaste fix headlight yellow.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
December 29, 2012 at 12:26 AM delete

you should compare toothpaste and pledge its about the same

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
January 1, 2013 at 1:25 PM delete

To the person asking about soap and water above- stop being a smart ass. Soap and water will not clean headlights. The problem is oxidation, not dirt.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
January 2, 2013 at 9:19 AM delete

will rubbing compound work or it is too abrasive

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
January 22, 2013 at 12:15 PM delete

WOW... This toothpaste polishes everything! After using it on my headlights, I polished my toenails. Then I tried it on my bathroom mirror. Right now I'm using it to polish my knob!

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
February 2, 2013 at 12:35 PM delete

An expensive fix, no? Why not just a $2 rubbing compound, then you clean the headlights 10 times.

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Debbiemkelley
AUTHOR
February 3, 2013 at 1:12 PM delete

Thank you for the information. I tried it and it looked like it worked. I'll find out when I drive tonight lol.

Debbie:)

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Nicole
AUTHOR
February 12, 2013 at 1:41 PM delete

Brilliant! This can save us a lot of cash! We always spend a lot on cleaning materials, for my husband is really meticulous on our car. And when I say that, I mean he cleans it twice or at least three times a week! I’ll definitely show this one to him and we’ll try this out ASAP. Thanks for posting!

Nicole Vickers

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
February 16, 2013 at 6:43 AM delete

TO THE ONE POLISHING HIS KNOB......GROW UP !!!!!!!!!!!

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Booyah!
AUTHOR
February 22, 2013 at 11:43 PM delete

Toothpaste... yay!
I thought I'd have to go out and get special products... just took 30sec trip to my hand basin, and 5 mins of cleaning... I'll never doubt the internet again.
and the guy at the garage was gonna charge me $10. Douchebag!

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
March 1, 2013 at 7:06 PM delete

if I was to use mothwash and toothpaste together... would I see a brighter future?

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
March 7, 2013 at 3:16 PM delete

I was a little hesitant to try the Colgate toothpaste I had because I just read on another site that using the minty or whitening toothpastes could damage the headlights. But after seeing several websites pictures of Colgate being used I decided to try it out, and it worked fine, doesn't look bad at all. Thanks for the tip and the pictures! :)

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
March 7, 2013 at 4:16 PM delete

It also prevents plaque buildup for 24hrs after each clean

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
March 10, 2013 at 4:37 PM delete

Yep its works. Just tried it on my Benz.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
March 12, 2013 at 3:04 PM delete

amazing results, thank you so much!!

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Anonymous
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April 8, 2013 at 9:45 AM delete

works great..really easy

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
April 9, 2013 at 8:01 AM delete

Confirmed :)

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Anonymous
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April 21, 2013 at 3:51 PM delete

are you from tumblr

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
April 25, 2013 at 12:23 PM delete

Just tried it snd it works. Saved close to $100.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
May 8, 2013 at 2:57 PM delete

It so works

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Anonymous
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May 28, 2013 at 12:38 AM delete

I was quoted $80.00 just today. That's $80.00 each!

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Jim Bosley
AUTHOR
June 2, 2013 at 9:58 PM delete

I have dentures so I am not sure if I can do this or not. Can I just soak my headlight in a glass of water overnight?

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Jim Bosley
AUTHOR
June 2, 2013 at 9:59 PM delete

ha, sorry I couldn't resist after reading all the other funny comments. Truth is, I am gonna give this a shot cuz my headlights are really bad, thanks for the post and the idea.

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June 4, 2013 at 5:57 PM delete

:) Yeah; it seems pretty crazy that toothpaste would work. I always appreciate some humorous comments!

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June 11, 2013 at 7:49 AM delete

A great idea, who new toothpaste had such great uses

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
June 21, 2013 at 1:08 PM delete

Sprayed my 1999 F250 yellow ish headlights with Pledge, then used a scrubby type sponge and Pepsodent tooth paste. Rinsed, dried and looks much better. Cheap fix. Thanks.

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Anonymous
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June 25, 2013 at 6:57 PM delete

potatoes are delicious

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havoc2haven
AUTHOR
July 4, 2013 at 2:06 PM delete

I have used Colgate toothpaste, a lot of it, and I rubbed really hard. And it actually made it worse for my headlights.
There are now drab/non-glossy, and i can see the scratch marks of the rubbing. My mistake probably was that I has used a kitchen sponge with the abrasive side, and I have over rubbed.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
July 5, 2013 at 4:42 PM delete

Wow, it worked (Colgate toothpaste and a towel)! I am SO glad that I tried this before buying the new lights. Thank you so much!

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
July 11, 2013 at 2:37 PM delete

Works great, thank you. Just saved me $150 bucks. :)

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Anonymous
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August 15, 2013 at 1:37 AM delete This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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Kurt Lancing
AUTHOR
August 16, 2013 at 9:24 PM delete

"Funky Spunk", fresh and ideally the car's owner, will also do the trick.

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Fat Bastardo
AUTHOR
August 26, 2013 at 2:20 AM delete

Kewl! This is good to know.

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Nadim biswas
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August 29, 2013 at 10:56 PM delete

Hi there! great post. Thanks for sharing a very interesting and informative content, it is a big help to me and to others as well, keep it up! real estate in Charlotte North Carolina

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Jim Clarke
AUTHOR
September 12, 2013 at 5:35 PM delete

This works for minor oxidation and road film. It doesn't remove chips and scratches that also diffuse the light. If you want them perfect, you have to completely resurface them and polish the lenses back to like new smoothness. Then and only then will the headlights emit the correct amount of light and disperse it the way they were designed to. We do headlights locally for $59 a pair, takes about an hour to an hour and a half but they look like new. Oh and don't seal with the current "internet favorite", 1 part mineral spirits, 1 part spar varnish...It turns yellow like all varnish after about 45 days.

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September 15, 2013 at 5:11 PM delete

Toothpaste and spray n shine tire cleaner works mint too

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September 29, 2013 at 1:28 AM delete

Thanks for the comment and info. Toothpaste definitely is a short term solution. I think it works for me so well because I don't have a fancy car anyhow.

Thanks for the info on the sealant.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
October 2, 2013 at 2:07 PM delete

thanks Kurt - where can i get this stuff?

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Pete Anderson
AUTHOR
October 8, 2013 at 11:27 AM delete

Try This.... http://amazingheadlights.com :)

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October 27, 2013 at 6:07 PM delete

This is definitely my favorite comment.

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Warner Carter
AUTHOR
November 19, 2013 at 4:45 AM delete

Woah little lady! You're impressing me with all your skills here with knowing what to do with your car. I just ask my husband to take care of it - even if it's something like cleaning out headlights! HID bulbs

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Anonymous
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December 24, 2013 at 4:50 PM delete

Your mom...

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Drew Summa
AUTHOR
January 2, 2014 at 1:21 PM delete

Toothpaste works on cleaning teeth too.

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BarbaraZ
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January 3, 2014 at 5:56 PM delete

Hahahahaha,. These are two items I always have at hand.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
January 4, 2014 at 6:43 PM delete

Hey! It was funny! YOU grow up!

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
January 10, 2014 at 6:23 AM delete

Audi just quoted me £144 to have one light done on my S3. I said no thank you, toothpaste is the only route for me!

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January 23, 2014 at 3:00 AM delete

Nice Info! You need to ensure that how old is your car and whether motor is in a right condition or not and whether your car is up to the safety standards or not. If anyone want to sell their unwanted car then should contact the Junkcarscash.com to remove their old car instantly for top dollars.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
February 16, 2014 at 8:54 AM delete

Not just for civics but maybe most with plastic headlight covers?

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February 17, 2014 at 1:19 AM delete

It will work for any headlights that have residue on them. The toothpaste works as an abrasive and just helps to get the residue off.

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February 19, 2014 at 6:55 AM delete

Toothpaste certainly does have more than one use, good tip

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Anonymous
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March 21, 2014 at 10:31 PM delete

this will be with me if you use a buffer… thank you for the info��

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Grace Nanteza
AUTHOR
April 15, 2014 at 1:51 AM delete

I used gel toothpaste and it dint work. Gonna try the other one.

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Ryan J
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April 24, 2014 at 11:01 PM delete

Thanks my Tundra looks great!

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April 25, 2014 at 2:31 AM delete

Great! Glad it worked for you.

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Gordo daman
AUTHOR
April 25, 2014 at 4:25 PM delete

I've been using toothpaste for years to clean my headlights my father in law told me about it and I thought he was crazy but he is also a good old boy from North Carolina and it is now 70 years old. When I used it I couldn't believe it and then I started seeing all these new products coming out call the headlight restorer. I laughed and laughed as these were twelve fifteen dollars and I can clean mine 4 a buck. I tell people all the time about this and they look at me like I'm crazy and most of them I think don't take me seriously.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
April 28, 2014 at 12:47 PM delete

i used it on my Ferrari and it works amazing !

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
May 12, 2014 at 1:25 PM delete

I tried this method on my 2000 mustang (plastic casings) without luck, as well as some of the major brands (3m, turtlewax) I read some reviews and purchased a product called headlight wizard, and it finally worked! Got it for 20 bucks from www.headlightwizard.com. Definitely worth trying if the toothpaste method doesn't work!

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SummGuy
AUTHOR
May 26, 2014 at 5:17 PM delete

Do not use a brush, stick to a soft cloth, use as much pressure as you can muster.
This isn't a cure-all. In a few weeks you'll need to do it again, just as with any store bought kit.
As far as damage to the lens, they are already yellow and damaged. Toothpaste can't damage it any worse than it is.

I used Tom's. Bought that because I didn't want the flouride but I don't really like the taste. So the $5.00 tube still came in handy.

I've read about the folks who use a super fine grit sandpaper but I can't bring myself to do that...shudder!

Just make it a routine when you wash your car at home, it eventually only takes a couple of minutes to maintain the clear.

I just did a 15 year old Aurora like 30 minutes ago, the girl was very impressed. The Oldsmobile Aurora!!! Geez!

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
June 7, 2014 at 9:08 AM delete

1 of those white magic sponges does the job aswell with a bit of elbow grease

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Houston Auto
AUTHOR
June 17, 2014 at 7:15 AM delete

Thank you for sharing this. I have also used baking soda and toothpaste. Both are useful house remedies for foggy headlight. affordable used car dealers in houston

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Jyse Hooper
AUTHOR
June 22, 2014 at 8:48 PM delete

Gel won't work its gotta have that grit in it

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
July 5, 2014 at 4:55 PM delete

can we use blue toothpaste

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
July 9, 2014 at 1:37 PM delete

Restore & Protect your headlights or Any Plastic Lens.

LT Cleaner Features:
•Easy to use and apply
•NO Sanding, NO Buffing, NO Masking Tape
•NO Equipment Necessary
•Clean more than 20 headlights with a single bottle
•Save time, effort and money!
•Used by professionals
•Comes with protectant

Use the following link to see more: http://trk1.ltcleaner.com/headlightcleaner
Video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApwKMSxEdRI

1. Wipe off dust from headlight
2. Shake bottle for up to 30 seconds first time, consecutive applications up to 10 seconds.
3. Apply 1/20 of liquid ounce in a cotton cloth rag.
4. Start rubbing cloth rag with some pressure, chose your desire rubbing pattern and don’t stop rubbing until you see the difference and you’re satisfied with the results.
5. With a clean cotton cloth rag start wiping off until is dry to the touch.
6. Clean edges around headlight removing excess fluid in non plastic surfaces.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
July 22, 2014 at 2:00 PM delete

When your headlights are foggy, cloudy or yellowed means that Oxidation is building up in your plastic lens. Replacing headlight lenses can cost several hundred dollars. Having a detail shop or Auto repair shop professionally restore your headlights can run $75 to $150 per car. No headlights covers remain clear forever. All plastic headlights become cloudy, foggy or yellowed over time. Enjoy Crystal Clear Headlight Covers In Minutes WITHOUT Sanding, Buffing or using Masking Tape with LTC Headlight Cleaner. Headlights treated with LTC Headlight Cleaner will maintain clear for 8-12 months or more, it varies where your car is parked; garaged, streets, *remember that sun is one of the biggest factors why your headlights get oxidized.

Sanding and polishing eventually will scratch and reduce thickness of your plastic headlights. Toothpaste will semi-clean your headlights and leave it without any kind of UV protection. Why pay for something you can do at home for less. Like everything else, there are good and bad 1 step headlight cleaner products and this is considered the Best Headlight Cleaner.

You're 6 steps away to remove Headlight Oxidation from your headlights with LTC.

1. Wipe off dust from headlight
2. Shake bottle for up to 30 seconds first time, consecutive applications up to 10 seconds.
3. Apply 1/20 oz in a cotton cloth rag.
4. Start rubbing cloth rag with some pressure, chose your desire rubbing pattern and don’t stop rubbing until you see the difference and you’re satisfied with the results.
5. With a clean cotton cloth rag start wiping off until is dry to the touch.
6. Clean edges around headlight removing excess fluid in non plastic surfaces.

Source link: http://trk1.ltcleaner.com/headlightcleaner

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
September 7, 2014 at 12:55 PM delete

Thanks for the tip. My '04 Corolla still looked great except for the yellowing on the headlamps. On night drives on the highway it seemed I was outrunning my headlamps! $1.99 tube of Colgate plus two applications and two scrubbings plus elbow grease got great results.

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September 13, 2014 at 11:01 AM delete

Just did this and it worked great. Now I should be able to see when I drive at night. Thanks for the tip.

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melbourne314
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September 16, 2014 at 4:15 AM delete

I really appreciate on your post.... and I got an usefull information about the matter... I just tried to write the same post...
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Anonymous
AUTHOR
September 16, 2014 at 9:38 AM delete

Are they plastic or glass the Ferrari's headlights?

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
October 16, 2014 at 2:49 PM delete

I don't think so, but it tastes good,,

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February 3, 2015 at 2:06 AM delete

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
March 2, 2015 at 7:53 AM delete

Was just scrolling through this and laughed so hard at this comment oh my god

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Anonymous
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March 23, 2015 at 7:03 AM delete

can you use an old toothbrush?

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Anonymous
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April 18, 2015 at 10:23 PM delete

I don't know who you are, but I now love you

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sohail sheikh
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April 27, 2015 at 4:33 AM delete

Great post I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this interesting and knowledgeable article.
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sohail sheikh
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April 30, 2015 at 9:18 AM delete

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
June 7, 2015 at 10:49 PM delete

is it work to remove watermark on windscreen?

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June 16, 2015 at 3:43 AM delete

Wow.. awesome ideas for cleaning headlights.. Great Thanks..

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Lisa
AUTHOR
July 2, 2015 at 11:53 AM delete

I used a ceramic cook top cleaner and it worked great! It's a mild abrasive like toothpaste. I bet Soft Scrub would work too.

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Mary Ellen
AUTHOR
July 9, 2015 at 9:33 AM delete

It is really very effectively work and Clean the surface of headlight very well.

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July 23, 2015 at 3:09 AM delete

I found Unicorn tears worked AMAZINGLY. The only real drawback is that you have to punch then in the face really hard to get then to cry. Wears your arm out like hell.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
August 9, 2015 at 1:14 PM delete

I opened up my ass cheeks and rubbed my filthy brown-eye all over the headlights. It worked like charm!

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September 9, 2015 at 8:36 AM delete

Wasn't using toothpaste suggested as a way to clean/make clear again the rear window of convertible tops?

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September 25, 2015 at 5:41 AM delete

Great advice! I was wondering how to clean my car`s headlights. I was not sure if I am going to succeed. It looks pretty easy, though. I am going to try. Wish me luck. Best regards!

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October 14, 2015 at 7:44 AM delete

Didn't work for me. 2004 mustange. No I didn't use gel. I use high beams just to see.

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LensDoctor
AUTHOR
October 31, 2015 at 6:35 PM delete

... and it makes your headlights minty fresh, too! But seriously, if you are a normal human you probably won't catch the damage in time to use this method. If you want guaranteed impressive results, call a pro, it's not expensive.

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sohail sheikh
AUTHOR
December 12, 2015 at 6:26 AM delete

Wow, cool post. I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real hard work to make a great article… but I put things off too much and never seem to get started. Thanks though. aurora

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anonymous
AUTHOR
December 12, 2015 at 7:05 PM delete

Headlight lenses have a UV protectant coating on them that wears out/off over time, not all but many do. After whatever method you chose to use to clean/sand/buff the lense you may want to consider applying a sealant with UV protection.

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Anonymous
AUTHOR
December 26, 2015 at 8:00 AM delete

Tried a magic erasure. No luck. Used some dollar store Colgate toothpaste. Then, used some turtle wax headlight cleaner/sealer. Is it perfect, no. Is it good enough, yes.

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Brian G
AUTHOR
January 6, 2016 at 5:55 PM delete

Toothpaste by itself did okay for me. I used this method and it worked out much better.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ds5lisUK2G4

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Brian G
AUTHOR
January 6, 2016 at 5:55 PM delete

Toothpaste by itself did okay for me. I used this method and it worked out much better.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ds5lisUK2G4

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historypak
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January 23, 2016 at 3:56 AM delete

Hi! Thanks for the great information you havr provided! You have touched on crucuial points! auto repair in Las Vegas NV found at Express Lube & Auto Repair

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