How To Remove Fog From Headlights – Causes & Preventions

One of the most crucial safety precautions drivers can take when driving during bad weather or at night is ensuring the headlights are in good condition. Driving with blur headlights will increase the risk of road accidents. And keeping the headlights in good condition is beyond replacing burnt-out bulbs.

Your headlights can be impaired by having foggy headlamps. Do not worry. We’ll look at the preventive measures and how to remove fog from headlights. But first, why do headlights get foggy?

how to clean foggy headlights at home
Image Credit: ChrisFix YouTube Screenshot

What causes headlights to become foggy?

In the past, automotive headlights were made of glass. They can either work or break. Drivers don’t have much to worry about, especially having blurry, foggy, or yellow headlights. However, things have changed in the industry. These days, your headlight can turn yellow or foggy without your notice.

Foggy headlights inside increase the risk of road accidents because of impaired night visibility and driving during bad weather conditions. Here are a few reasons you may have foggy headlights.

Bad roads

Hear me before you criticize me. When traveling on bad roads, the vehicle’s tires in front or behind may climb gravel or road debris and cause them to pit the polycarbonate lens on your modern headlamps. The small rocks can cause dents or pits on the lenses.


Oxidations occur because the polycarbonate lens of the headlamps is exposed to the ambient air. Over time, the lenses form microscopic cracks due to direct UV radiation, leading to a foggy or cloudy headlamp.

Water vapor

The moisture content in the air creates vapor inside the headlamps. If this happens, the water vapor inside the headlamps scatters the light coming through the headlight polycarbonate lens, clouding the visibility.

Dirt and chemicals

Auto manufacturers produce headlamps with some chemicals. Over time, the headlamps will create a thin layer of chemicals and dirt. The effect of this thin layer is a foggy or cloudy headlamp, invariably disrupting the brightness of the headlights.

Let’s see how to clean foggy headlights at home so you can save that extra bucks and avoid driving long hours to your mechanic or getting stuck in traffic.

Read Also: How to Clean Inside Headlights on Your Car? 4 Easy Steps

how to clean yellow headlights at home

How to remove fog from headlights

Cleaning foggy headlights is pretty simple and straight to the point, and it doesn’t require many cleaning supplies. You’ll need one of the best products to clean foggy headlights at a nearby auto supply store. Search for products named “headlights lens restoration” or “headlights restoration kit.”

You can also use homemade cleaning agents like baking soda, vinegar, and toothpaste. These cleaning agents are effective and abrasive enough to clean cloudy or foggy headlights. So, stick to the end of this article if you’re asking how to clean foggy headlights with vinegar or any homemade or commercial cleaning agents.

Items needed

  • Baking soda or toothpaste
  • Latex gloves
  • Clean towels or rags
  • A soft bristle brush
  • Rinsing water
  • Mild cleanser

Step 1: Clean the foggy surface

Clean the headlight surface thoroughly. To do this, spray a mild cleanser on the surface and clean any dead bugs, particulates, dirt, or junk from the headlight. After that, clean the surface with a dry towel to ensure there’s no moisture left on the surface.

Step 2: Rub the headlight restorer on the foggy surface

Gently apply the headlight restorer on the working surface. This can be toothpaste, baking soda, or a commercial headlight lens restoration product. If you are working with baking soda, mix it with small water to form a thick paste. After rubbing the restorer, let it sit and dry on the surface.

Step 3: Clean the cleanser

Carefully clean the cleanser on the headlight using a circular motion. Cleaning the headlights with a magic eraser will be much easier. Remember, the cleanser is abrasive. So, you have to be careful not to gouge the headlamp. You’ll notice the cloudiness or fogginess is going away.

Step 4: Clean off stubborn cleanser

Buff any stubborn cleanser on the headlamp using a clean towel or rag. Rinse off any remaining residue and water. After that, polish the surface with a clean towel until it’s dry. Finally, spray headlight polish and let it dry naturally under the sun.

Removing fog from your headlight is as simple as that. However, using the best product to clean foggy headlights will be more effective than household products. After fixing, aim the headlight properly for a clear view.

why do headlights get foggy

How to stop headlights from fogging up

We’ve seen the causes and how to get rid of headlight fog. Now, let’s see how to prevent foggy or cloudy headlights.

While there are many ways to prevent foggy headlights, you must be cautious when applying any preventive measures. For example, you can prevent foggy headlights by applying polish on the lamps periodically, parking the vehicle in garages, ensuring direct UV sunlight does not touch it, and washing the headlights.

However, you must be careful when polishing the headlight to avoid wearing off the clear coat. And, if you prefer washing the headlamps, try washing them every quarter with automotive soap. This will help clear the particulate that causes the cloudiness or fogginess in the first place.

If you notice the cloudiness is much when washing, remove the old clear cost with an abrasive cleanser or sandpaper and coat the layer with a protective film.

Read Also: How to Seal Headlights From Moisture Correctly

CHEAP FIX to Foggy Headlights YouTube 

Frequently Asked Questions –  FAQs

Q: Does toothpaste really clean foggy headlights?

While toothpaste is a common foggy headlight cleaning solution, it is not effective in the long term. The sad truth is toothpaste cannot clean headlamps that become cloudy because of non-soil issues. So, toothpaste is not your guy if you want to do a thorough cleaning job on a foggy headlight. Instead, get a commercial headlight restoration kit like the Sylvania restoration kit, 3M lens headlight restoration system, or Mothers NuLens headlight renewal kit.

Q: What household items can I use to clean my headlights?

While most car owners prefer cleaning foggy headlights with commercial products, others prefer using household items. However, some of these household cleansing agents are effective. Although, some of them are less effective in the long term. The household headlight cleansing agents are baking soda, vinegar, toothpaste, and dishwashing liquid or soap.

Q: Does Coke clean headlight lenses?

If you’re wondering if it’s possible to brighten the headlight lens with the regular coke you take every afternoon at lunch, you can use it as a headlamp cleanser. Coca-cola contains phosphoric acid, which is a good cleaning agent.

Meanwhile, it is important to note that there’s a catch with those household cleaning agents. They are effective within a short period but are less effective and may not be worth it in the long run.

Q: Will Magic Eraser clean foggy headlights?

Take it or leave it; using magic erasers on foggy headlights is completely safe. Although using magic erasers on a car’s paintwork is now a cautionary tale, it doesn’t mean it is unsafe on the headlights. Magic eraser removes the cloudiness or fogginess that appears on the headlight over time. You can use a wet magic eraser to buff yellowish or foggy headlights and rinse with water.

Final Word

While learning how to remove fog from headlights is essential, it is more important to apply precautionary measures when sanding the polycarbonate surface of the headlamps. However, you may cause damages that could be avoided if you’re not careful. So, it’s important to leave it to a professional unless you know your way around.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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