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3 Easy Steps To Bring Your Car's Headlights Back To Their Original Beauty

Updated on October 27, 2012

I was in a certain auto parts store today, buying oil for my wife's car, while I was there I noticed a sign advertising headlight restoration service for $39.95. After looking on the shelf for the DIY restoration kits, I found several different brands, ranging from $12.00 to $30.00.

Now don't get me wrong, I had no intention of buying these products or services, but it's nice to know just how much money I was getting ready to save. By following these 3 simple steps using a few very common household products, you too can enjoy the look of new headlights on your automobile. The best part is, it will only take about 10-20 minutes, and cost you almost nothing to do.

STEP 1: The Household Products You Will Need

  • Toothpaste

  • Baking Soda

  • Small Bowl

  • Vegetable Oil, WD-40 or Plastic Polish

  • Small Scouring Pad

  • Paper Towels

  • Wash Clothe

  • Water


What products do you prefer to use when cleaning up your vehicle?

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Mix a small amount of the toothpaste and baking soda together in the bowl, to get a slightly abrasive paste. Next use your scouring pad to gently rub the mixture onto the clear headlight housing until you see the residue being removed.

Next simply dampen your wash clothe and use it to wipe the paste from the headlight housing. Now at this point you should already see a major improvement, but if you still see a lot of cloudiness simply repeat step 2.


OK, so now the lens appears to be clean, but it doesn't seem to have a whole lot of shine, like a new headlight lens would. That's where the WD-40 or vegetable oil come in, or for a longer lasting shine use an automotive grade plastic polish. I prefer to use the polish, though it's not as cheap or as readily as the other alternatives.

All of the products work well but the vegetable oil is usually the easiest to obtain of the three since it's generally found in every kitchen.Take a few paper towels and slightly wet them down with either one of the oils. Next just simply rub the lenses down with the oil until you achieve a nice glossy shine, and then remove the excess oil with a clean paper towel. I using the plastic polish then just follow the directions on the can or bottle.


There you have it, three simple steps and your headlights have gone from dull and cloudy to bright and shiny. Not all automobile brands are able to be polished, it wont hurt them to try but in some instances it just doesn't help.

This process I have shown you also has the added benefit of water beading much like Rain-X type products do for your windshield. I hope this article has been helpful in your search for bright and shiny headlights.

DS Duby



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    • profile image


      13 months ago

      Use a non yellowing clear acrylic to seal the surface after you have cleaned the lens with toothpaste. Also, save some money and use cheap toothpaste from the discount store. It works just fine.

    • profile image

      Pringgo Husin 

      21 months ago

      Great tips on using homemade products to get the job done @DS Duby. @Nica, I previously purchased a headlight restoration kit by RainX, and it works marvelously. It definitely requires patience, but the headlight looks almost like new. Once you restored the headlights, I would also recommend spraying some RainX water protectant to avoid watermarks in the future.

    • profile image

      Kevin Heemeier 

      2 years ago

      I've been using this technique for the last 15 years it's been doing very well for all my customers, but I also apply some rain-x cleaner on top after you finish with the other chemicals you just used. Bright & shiny sealed with rain-x

    • DS Duby profile imageAUTHOR

      DS Duby 

      3 years ago from United States, Illinois

      I don't think it makes much of a different what type. I just used regular crest or Colgate

    • WheelScene profile image


      3 years ago from U.S.A.

      Many people seem to be recommending tooth paste for this does it matter what kind?

    • DS Duby profile imageAUTHOR

      DS Duby 

      7 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thanks MJ. It works pretty good especially if you use the plastic polish in the place of the oil. Really nice results.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi DS,

      great hub and great tips. Just goes to show that an old dog can be taught new tricks. I've used some funky mixes for all sorts of things but never heard of the toothepaste and baking soda. Voted up and the rest,


    • DS Duby profile imageAUTHOR

      DS Duby 

      7 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thank you, so far so good on the headlights using plastic polish rather than the oil made a huge difference.

    • BRIAN SLATER profile image

      Brian Slater 

      8 years ago from England

      Nice hub with sound advice- I have used baking soda and toothpastes as an abrasive before on different applications and it worked for me on those, so I can see this working really well. Useful hub hope it does well for you. voted up.

    • DS Duby profile imageAUTHOR

      DS Duby 

      8 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thank you Giselle ,you can also use plastic polish in the place of the oil to give them a longer lasting shine.

    • profile image

      Giselle Maine 

      8 years ago

      I loved the before and after pics. Thanks for letting me know about how to do this! I had always assumed it was difficult to do this oneself but now I know differently thanks to you!

    • DS Duby profile imageAUTHOR

      DS Duby 

      8 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thanks for reading and commenting, I appreciate it. Actually I'm already a member of that FB group they're a great group of writer's. Thank you for the invite though.

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 

      8 years ago from New York City

      Nice hub here bro, I like your simple steps and all, and the images fit right in here perfectly, now all I have to do is get my car working, LOL.

      Voted up and out, and welcome to hubpages, IamAudraLeigh has helped me to locate you from a cool FB group, if you would like give it a try there too, here's the FB group link its called Professional BS Writers Group, enjoy! and Good Luck!

    • DS Duby profile imageAUTHOR

      DS Duby 

      8 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Thanks, as I mentioned in the hub for some reason there are a few models of cars it doesn't work as well on but there's no harm done in trying it has always worked well for me. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

    • UnnamedHarald profile image

      David Hunt 

      8 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      I have got to try this out-- I've been meaning to do something about my headlights for months, but didn't want to waste $30 bucks. Thanks for writing. Voted up and useful.


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