How To Clear Foggy Headlights

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How do Headlights get Foggy?
The first thing to know is that it isn't your headlights, as in the bulbs, that get foggy from age, it's the plastic lenses that protect your headlights. You see, automakers used to have glass covers over the headlight bulbs and glass doesn't become foggy, but many of today's cars utilize polycarbonate plastic lenses. These plastic lenses are more scratch resistant than the glass kind. However, the plastic lenses react to the sun's UV rays to turn the lens material yellow and dingy over time.
 
Fogged up headlight lenses reduce the effectiveness of your headlights and limit your ability to see the road. Over time, the UV rays from the sun begin to break down and degrade the polycarbonate plastic lenses causing the lenses to absorb more blue light from the bulbs and causes a more yellow light to be emitted.

Materials Needed

Luckily, it's easy to fix foggy headlight lenses. Your local auto store should carry a few headlight restoration kits that include everything you need to make your plastic lenses sparkling clear once again. We've noticed some excellent products most priced at ten to twenty dollars:

  • 3M, Meguiar's
  • Rain-X
  • Sylvania
  • Mother's
  • Carrfan
  • Turtlewax 
 
You can also use items found around the house to clean your lenses including baking soda and good ol' toothpaste. However, if you'd like to try to use toothpaste to clean and clear your lenses, be sure to use a simple, old-fashioned product such as Arm & Hammer or Tom's that do not contain any fancy flavor crystals or particles that can scratch your lenses. Keep in mind that using toothpaste to clear your lenses will not necessarily work as well as the restoration kits and that you'll need to apply a bit of elbow grease to get the results you want.
How to Clear up Foggy Headlight Lenses
Before you head out to the car to get the job done, you'll need the following items to make this easy: a headlight restoration kit, baking soda mixture or toothpaste, a few old towels, a mild soap such as dishwashing soap, and a bucket of water.
 
Whether you use a restoration kit, toothpaste or baking soda, do not use the cleanser on your vehicle's body surrounding the headlight lense as it could damage the paint. Some people use painter's tape to mask off the area around the lense to make sure no cleanser gets on the paint.