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How To Clean Yellow Headlights? – 8 Best Cleaning Methods

As time goes by, your car headlights will fog up or become yellow because of several reasons. The car headlights are susceptible to dust, debris, rocks, and other elements that, in time, make them dull or yellowish. This is because the covering is made from plastic like polycarbonate and if it has not been sealed well, grime can enter and build up over time. The grime building up on the headlights will ruin your sealant, and the headlights will not shine.

The headlights can also become yellowed because of the sun’s UV rays, acid rain, and other petrochemicals. When they are all fogged up, they will compromise your ability to see clearly when on the road. You will put yourself and other drivers at risk because you risk visibility-related accidents. You must find how to clean yellow headlights and keep them looking bright, just like new ones. 

Cleaning Solutions And Methods That Clean Yellow Headlights

Car headlights need attention, and a little effort will go a long way in making sure they shine. A professional can help you get your headlights to shine, but you can also use some DIY methods to make them bright again. The following are some ways to clean yellow or oxidized headlights.

How To Clean Yellow Headlights

1. Toothpaste

Toothpaste can clean out lots of things from shoe scuffs walls, and headlights are one of them. Use a soft cloth to apply a little toothpaste on the headlight and rub softly in circular motions. Once you clean the cover with the toothpaste, rinse it out with water and use a wet cloth to wipe the headlights. Ensure that you are using a soft cloth, preferably microfiber, because they will not scratch your windscreen and leave it looking new and better.

Alternatively, you can also squeeze the toothpaste into a bucket of water and remove the headlights and soak them in the mixture. Start cleaning from the middle and rub slowly as you continue towards the edge of the lights. You can repeat the process many times until the lights are sparkling.

2. Baking Soda And Cleaner

This is a simple remedy that you can do without the help of a professional to clean your headlights. Baking soda will clean out the yellowed headlights and will also help you if you need to clean paint off the headlights. Mix five tablespoons of baking soda with warm water to form a smooth paste, then apply the paste to your headlights using a sponge. Use a clean cloth to polish the headlights and rub gently in a circular motion. Once you see that the headlight is bright and the yellowish substance is off, you can wipe it down with a clean cloth.

Baking soda will soak up the oxides that cause yellowing and clean the headlights, leaving them bright and clean. Repeat this procedure until you can see that the lights are bright enough. You can then use your headlight cleaner to clean the lights and rinse with water as usual. A dry microfiber cloth can help you dry it out or let it dry out by itself.

While using baking soda to clean, be careful not to rub it on the paint job around the headlights because it can discolor the paint.

3. White Vinegar

Cleaning your headlights can take you a few minutes up to an hour, depending on the level of discoloration. To clean your lights with vinegar, you will need to remove the front cover so that you can immerse it fully in vinegar. Leave it for up to one hour to allow the vinegar to loosen the acidity that has caked the lights and any other filth. After soaking the lights, you can use a sponge to rub the grime off slowly until the headlights are clean and bright. Rinse it in water, and then you can then install it back on the car.

Vinegar will take out all the debris and other impurities making your lights yellow, and you can also use it to remove minor scratches from your lights. After scrubbing the headlights, use a dry cloth to dry them off, and then you can use cooking spray to shine them. Ensure that you use a soft cloth because it will not further damage your lights.

4. Aluminum Polishing Compound

You can use a clean cloth to clean it and ensure that you have the right cleaner to clean out the lights. For this to work well, you need to wash off the headlights with detergent and water. Dry the lights using a cloth and then apply a small amount of aluminum polishing compound. The compound is available in hardware and supplies stores. Ensure that you use a soft cloth and apply it in small circular motions all over your headlights. Repeat the process until you clean all the parts and see the headlights sparkling because this is the vital part when you know how to clean yellow headlights.

5. Dish Soap And Salt

When you add a bit of salt to dish soap, it will soak up and clean out the fogginess on the headlights. Remove the headlight cover or lens so that it will be easy for you to clean. Add salt to some warm water, and then add dish soap in a large container. Immerse the headlight cover in the mixture and leave it to soak for a while so that it can become loose. Dish soap has been made with a formula that helps to cut through grease, and adding salt will give it the extra power it needs to remove grime from your lights.

After the headlight soaks in the mixture, you can take a rough sponge and start scrubbing the lights slowly. When you have finished cleaning the grime, rinse the lights in warm water and then let them dry or use a soft cloth to wipe them clean. Any dirt and crud stuck on the lens plastic that covers your lights will come off quickly.

6. WD-40 Lubricant

If you are looking for a simple solution that will oxidize your headlights and leave them sparkling, WD-40 is an excellent product for this. This is the best option if the grime has not been on the headlights for a long time, and it will work best for a while. This lubricant will restore your lights quickly and will keep them from fogging.

You first need to remove the headlight cover and then soak it in a bucket of water mixed with car shampoo. Shake the can containing the WD-40 and spray onto the headlight lens, and then use a cloth to rub carefully all over the headlights. Ensure that you remove all the oil and then wipe the lights clean with a soft towel or microfiber cloth to make them clean and bright.

Please use the spray sparingly because if left on the surface for a long time, it might blur or burn out the bulbs of your headlights. After cleaning with the lubricant, you should also wash it off completely and clean the area with a clean cloth.

7. Sand Paper And Sealant

When using sandpaper, you need to ensure that you choose the right kind of grit because it will damage your lights if the paper is too rough. It would help if you cleaned off the grime without leaving unpleasant scratches and marks on your headlights. Prepare cleaning polish, wax sealant, lubricant, and wax papers so that you have everything ready before you start cleaning.

Start by tapping off the paint around the headlights so that you will not accidentally scratch off the paint as you scrub the headlights. Put an 800 grit sandpaper in lubricant, and then start scrubbing the headlights starting from the middle as you head outside. As you see the yellow film coming out, you can then repeat the same process with a 1000 grit sandpaper and finally a 2000 grit sandpaper pad. After removing the yellow film, wash the headlights with the shampoo or cleaner and air dry or use a cloth to dry it off. Use the plastic polish and then the sealant to ensure you make the headlights shine and look as good as new.

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Headlights are vital for drives at night, on misty days, and also on rainy days. They will determine if you can see well as you go, and you need to keep them clean no matter where you are. With time the headlights will become dull because of many elements, and you need to know how to clean yellow headlights. 

When cleaning your headlights, ensure that you have the suitable material and cloth to do the job. You do not want to damage your headlights or other parts around the lights when cleaning out yellowed headlights. This is why you need to protect the area around the headlights so that the cleaning solutions will not affect the color. If you are not sure how to safely clean the lights, contact a professional to help you. Keep your lights clean so that the grime does not accumulate and becomes a problem for you.

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