Cloudy Plastic Headlights are an inevitable thing that happens over time especially with all that dust and mud we like to wallow in. They can be cleaned to look sparkly new again so no need to have the expense of replacing them. The cloudy film that appears on the lens dulls the brightness of the headlight making night driving quite difficult putting unnecessary strain on our eyes trying to avoid potholes and ice patches.
With those weather forecasters recently starting to use that word autumn it’s probably a good time to get those lights back into tiptop condition ready for the dull days to come.
I’m sure there are many commercial products available but that would take forward planning when there is a whole cupboard in your kitchen full of stuff that can be used.
Start by washing the dirt and grease of with some washing up liquid and hot water. Rinse then dry completely.
A ‘#0000’ gauge wire wool will remove the outer layer of UV/weather damaged plastic, use only in an up and down motion however to minimise scratching.
Then the final stages of polishing can be completed with various abrasive pastes that are commonly found around the home.
Salt – mixed with a little bit of water can be made into a paste. This salt paste is a great abrasive which when rubbed onto the lens scratches through the film revealing a clean lens. Always work in an up and down motion then across, don’t be tempted to move in a circular motion as this will show in the plastic lens once polished
Toothpaste – a great one that every household has. Again keep your scrubbing motion in horizontal then vertical strokes to avoid visible scoring on the lenses. If you’re a vigorous person it might be wise to tape of the paintwork around the headlights to avoid any damage.
T-Cut – is another old favourite cleaning compound, dig out that old bottle left on the garage shelf, giving it a good shake to loosen up the tiny abrasive particles from the bottom. Polish in the usual small circular motions over the full sense surface until clear, then polish off.
White Vinegar – Yes Grandma’s old favourite, the acid solution. This requires removing the headlight and submerging it in the vinegar for at least an hour to soften the cloudy film. After soaking the cloudiness should wipe off with a rough cloth. Or if removing the headlight is a bit easier said then done, mix the vinegar with some baking powder/soda to form a paste and spread this onto the lens then leave for 30 minutes and rub of, again avoiding circular motions.
Sealing – Once the film has been removed rinse away any residue with clean water then polish the headlights to remove any scratches, seal and shine the lenses. Any plastic friendly polish or wax and a soft cloth will bring the gleam back returning headlights to their original brightness.