Mr. clean magic eraser

Magic Eraser and Headlight Restoration


Magic eraser has been marketed as an absolute solution to cleaning dirt off surfaces, it always looks like there is nothing that it can’t clean, hence the suggestion it can be used to restore headlights. A magic eraser is simply a melamine foam; its porous nature is what makes it good at cleaning.

However, it does contain formaldehyde which is toxic, so please use gloves and a mask to avoid irritation or any reaction

The foam acts as a scrubbing agent that can lift dirt or stains from a surface. Because melamine is soft, there is little to no damage on the surface. It is these characteristics that make Magic Eraser so effective at cleaning. To restore headlights, you will need to use a more aggressive technique. 

Headlights are made of polycarbonate plastic. They turn hazy/yellowish when exposed to the Sun over a long duration. This is because the UV light from the Sun breaks down the plastic and form oxidation. To correct this haziness, we have to remove the oxidized layer first and then protect it from UV rays.

As incredible as Magic Eraser is, it will not restore a headlight; it easily breaks down, and its pliancy makes it impossible to affect the hard surface of a headlight. To truly remove oxidation, we will need something aggressive.

Alternatives to Magic Eraser

Restoring using toothpaste

We will need:

  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Masking or painters tape
  • 2 Clean towels
  • Water

Clean the headlight with water and wipe it with a dry towel. Protect the painted areas next to the headlight by taping them to avoid scratches. Apply toothpaste on a toothbrush and spread it on a headlight. Brush the surface thoroughly for about 5 minutes. Wipe the surface of the residue and check to see if all the oxidation has been cleared off, and do it over again to your satiation.

Restoration using rubbing compound

Rubbing compound is effective when restoring headlights because it is abrasive. The compound has large granules which act as a sanding agent when using it on a headlight; for the entire step-by-step process, read our article here.


Magic Eraser is too soft to remove oxidation effectively. To restore headlights, we will need something more abrasive.

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