How to Restore Headlights Without a Kit


Faded headlights are a source of constant irritation, there are many remedies to this problem, and lucky for us we can clear them without purchasing a kit. The solutions will definitely be menial as compared to using kits but at the very least our headlights will look better.

Deterioration of headlights limits their performance leading to poor visibility. Secondly, it ages the car’s look and will affect its value. To reverse this process, we can either replace or restore the headlight. Replacing a headlight is the best way to deal with oxidation, but it has major drawbacks. It is expensive to buy new headlights. Even with new headlights, oxidation will still occur. It might take some years, but the headlights will fade again.

On the other hand, restoration provides cost-effective ways, and the results will last and a new headlight. The first approach to headlight restoration is always to use anything that is accessible without necessarily making any financial commitments like buying a kit or restoring headlights professionally.

It is important to note that these DIY techniques might clear the headlights, but the results will not last long, so we might have to repeat the process after some days. In this case, that is ok because we want to get rid of oxidation. We will have to learn about more advanced techniques to restore headlights effectively.

headlight restoration using toothpaste

Restoration with toothpaste

The best approachable technique.

  • Take a toothbrush and apply toothpaste as you would when brushing your teeth.
  • Apply the paste to the headlight, and repeat this process until the entire headlight is covered with paste.
  • Brush the whole headlight thoroughly and ensure that the oxidation is off the headlight. If not satisfied with the results, repeat the steps above until the headlight is clear again.
  • Wipe the headlight clean, and your headlight will be restored.

This method works because toothpaste has tiny granules which act as a sanding agent to remove oxidation.

vinegar and baking soda

Restoration using Vinegar and Baking Soda.

While not sure of the chemical process behind missing the two, the mixture has shown to be effective in removing oxidation. The vinegar makes it easier to remove the oxidation, but by itself, it cannot. Hence baking soda is added to act as a sanding agent to help remove the oxidized layer.

Mix vinegar and baking soda into a paste-like liquid. Apply the paste on a towel and begin to work on the headlight. Rub the headlight thoroughly with little pressure in a circular motion. Work the compound till the headlight is clear.

Restoration using rubbing compound

This uses the same principles as restoring toothpaste. The granules in the compound help with removing oxidation. It is easier to work with rubbing compounds because the granules are much bigger and hence easier to remove oxidation.

Clean the headlight first with water. Apply the rubbing compound to a piece of cloth and apply it to the headlight. Rub the compound in a circular motion with minimal pressure. Work the compound till it is finished. Wipe the headlight to confirm that all the haziness is neutralized, if not redo the process to your gratification. Finally, wipe off the residue and the job is done.


Restoration with WD40

This is not a way to restore headlights. WD40 will make the headlight clear, but applying it merely covers the oxidation and makes the headlight look glassy. To a novice, this might seem restored, but as soon as the lubricant dries off, the headlights are back to being dull again, so avoid this process.

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