- Car Care & Maintenance
Clean Oxidized Headlight Lenses with Toothpaste
Good Marketing Always Solves a Problem, Even If You Aren't Aware You Have One!
I have never thought of cleaning the headlight lenses. I had never heard of it! I drive through a car wash pretty often and thought that was sufficient to clean the whole car. I drive an older vehicle. Like any other car, things wear out and need repairing or replacing. I take care of to follow a maintenance schedule so that I am able to ride safely. However, marketing is about convincing consumers you have a solution to a problem. While watching television, which I don't do very often, I became aware of a problem I wasn't aware that I had. That is one of the classic lessons of Marketing. One must first identify a problem the target has or make them aware of a problem they are not yet aware of.
Clean the Headlight Lenses?
One Saturday while watching a new show, an ad for “Headlight Restore” caught my eye. I followed the ad and thought the “As Seen On TV” price of $9.95 (plus shipping and handling) wasn't too terribly bad. The narrator described my new “problem” as if I should stop watching and go clean the lenses right away! He spoke of the cloudy, yellowed oxidation that covered the “lens” of the headlight. There were poor souls in the commercial driving in the dark with those dim, foggy, clouded lenses risking their very lives. They even showed someone scrubbing and washing their car with subs and foam with no luck removing the film from the headlights. As the frustrated car owners came to their senses and used the “Fast Brite” product, the oxidation wiped off easily and their troubles were over never to drive with dim, cloudy headlights again! “Fast Brite Lens Restore” looked like it was just the product I needed!
Yellow, Oxidized Headlight
Providing a Painless, but Lucrative Solution Sometimes Works!
The kit is advertised with a mustard colored sponge, two bottles of solution, because the “restoration” is a two step process (of course). One would use the sponge to remove the oxidation with the solution in the bottle labeled “Step 1” called “polish” and complete the process with the solution in the bottle labeled “Step 2” called “protectant” to restore your headlights to “showroom” condition. It looked easy enough! To top it all off, “Now you to see clearer and farther, while at the same time making you more visible to oncoming drivers, making it safer for you to drive at night. Fast Brite is the fast low cost alternative to expensive headlight replacement!” Wow! Thanks for the information! It will probably save my life one dark night, right? What was I waiting for? All I needed to do was get my credit card, pick up the phone and call the number on the television screen and in a few weeks, I would be on my way to clearer, brighter, safer headlights!
Sounds Good, But Not So Fast ...
I didn't order because, of course “savvy shoppers” like myself don't shop impulsively, but we shop around to see if there are similar products, better prices or free shipping. So, my research on the internet began.
I searched for the product on Amazon.com to see if by chance the product was less expensive there. It wasn't less expensive on Amazon. I looked at automobile parts websites, I even checked the shelves at the auto repair while was having some routine maintenance done. I only saw “Fast Brite” under a “As Seen On TV” sign. Was this the only way to clean your headlight lenses? A few weeks went by, I wasn't in a hurry. Remember, this wasn't a problem that I had lost sleep over. It was introduced to me and I had been exposed, but I had not yet "adopted" it.
I went to “Youtube” to see if any other DIY'ers had found ways to clean them and thought I might even find an objective review of the product. BUT I didn't type in “Fast Brite.” I typed in “clean headlight lens” and the first video was titled “clean headlight lens with toothpaste.” HUH???
DIY Dave, who produced the video, says in the video that he believes “Crest Extra Whitening” works best because it “polishes.” I was lucky enough to find a tube of it in the local “dollar” store where everything is not priced at a dollar – you know the one.
I approached the task a bit different than Dave. I was concerned the acrylic lenses would be scratched or damaged, so I made sure the towel I used was dripping wet, reducing the friction on the surface. I also took advantage of one of the features of the toothpaste I had on hand. I had Arm and Hammer with Baking Soda and Peroxide. I allowed the foamy toothpaste with Peroxide to sit on the lenses for the same time that Dave recommended, but I sprayed a little water on it to keep it wet. When I rinsed, I was pleasantly surprised!
But wait, what about “Step 2” DIY Dave? Well, I started thinking on my own for a change. What would one put on a clean headlight to keep it from becoming oxidized again? What does a “protectant” actually do? I thought would prevent things in the environment (carbon, grit, insects and dirt) from attaching to the headlight. I had something that I used to prevent rain from sticking to my windshield. I thought I would give the “Rain-X” a try to see if it yellow or fog up the lens again. If so, I would just use more toothpaste and try something else. As it turned out, the “Rain-X” worked fine! I put on one coat, allowed it to dry, buffed it out. Then I added a second coat for good measure. I was more than pleased with the result. The headlight lenses were smooth, shiny and clear!
So, needless to say, I did not order the “Fast Brite Lens Restore” kit to clean, polish and restore the lenses on the vehicle I drive to “showroom new” because toothpaste and “Rain-X” seems to work wonderfully well!