How To Fix Headlight Oxidation [3 Easy Ways]

Have ever had your car headlights oxidised? From 1980, car manufacturers switched headlight lenses from glass to polycarbonate or plastic. Since then the issue of the headlights becoming cloudy arose. Thus, oxidised headlights are not necessarily because of poor maintenance but are a phenomenon that happens with time. Most of the time, UV light, road debris, and atmospheric chemicals are common culprits.

If you have faced such an issue, you may know that cloudy headlights decrease nighttime visibility. Thus to avoid such a situation, the headlights should be cleaned regularly. This article discusses how to fix headlight oxidation so read on!

How To Fix Headlight Oxidation?

Oxidation may not always be the reason why your plastic or polycarbonate lens appears cloudy. Sometimes grit and grime can give a hazy look to their surfaces. So it’s best to give your headlight a throw wash before following the steps of how to fix headlight oxidation. You only need to use the methods on how to fix headlight oxidation if your car still appears cloudy after giving it a thorough wash. 

1. Using Toothpaste

One of the methods that come under how to fix headlight oxidation is using toothpaste.

a. Gather The Correct Materials

The following materials are needed to clean your oxidised headlights

  • Car wax
  • Masking tape
  • Plastic or vinyl gloves (optional for those with sensitive skin)
  • Soft cloth
  • Toothpaste (any kind)
  • Water

b. Clean With Soap

Start by washing your headlight lens with soap and water. You have to use a firm back and forth movements to clean the headlights well. You can either use a cloth or a sponge to do the process. Let the lens dry for some time and then examine it carefully. 

c. Protect Surrounding Area With Masking Tape

Before going deeper into the other steps, make use of masking tape to cover the areas surrounding your car’s headlights to protect them from accidental scuffing.

d. Wear Gloves

It is best to wear gloves in case you have sensitive skin. You can either wear plastic or vinyl gloves to protect your skin. Then dampen a wet soft cloth using water and apply enough toothpaste on it. 

e. Use The Toothpaste Laden Cloth And Rinse

Use the cloth on which you applied the toothpaste and firmly apply it on the surface of your headlights. Add water too in necessary quantities along with the rubbing. Take at least 5 mins to rub each affected surface thoroughly. Then rinse with water and allow the headlights to dry. 

f. Apply Car Wax

You can consider applying car wax on your headlights to further protect them from any damage. Use a clean cloth to rinse the lights and then clean them with water. 

2. Using Glass Cleaner And Automotive Polish

Another method you can use in how to fix headlight oxidation is using a glass cleaner and automotive polish.

a. Gather The Correct Materials

To perform this method effectively, you will need the following materials. 

  • Automotive polish
  • Car wax (optional)
  • Glass cleaner
  • Masking tape
  • Plastic or vinyl gloves (optional for those with sensitive skin)
  • Rotary buffer (optional)
  • Soft cloth
  • Water

b. Tape Off The Surrounding Area

Before going further into the method, it’s better to tape off the surrounding areas of the headlights. This is to protect these areas from any damage in any way. You must also wear plastic or vinyl gloves in case you have sensitive skin. 

c. Spray Headlights With Cleaner

Spray your oxidised headlights with the glass gleaner and then use a cloth to rub and wipe the surface clean with a soft cloth. 

d. Apply Automotive Clean Polish

Now take the automotive clean polish and apply it on another clean soft cloth. Then firmly rub the surface of the headlight using the cloth. If needed, don’t hesitate to add more polish. It’s best to spend at least 5 mins on each headlight surface to clean it thoroughly. 

e. Rinse And Proceed To Apply Car Wash

Rinse the headlight surface thoroughly with water and proceed to apply car wax to avoid any such circumstances as headlight oxidation in the future. 

3. Using A Polishing Compound Kit

Another method to help you clean your oxidised headlights is using a polished compound kit. 

a. Gather The Correct Materials

To perform this method well, you may need the following materials. 

  • Car wax or kit-included sealant (optional)
  • Cloth
  • Masking tape
  • Mild detergents like dish soap or kit-included cleanser
  • Polishing compound
  • Sandpaper array (between 600- and 2500-grit)
  • Water

b. Cover Surrounding Area With Masking Tape

Like in other methods, it is best to cover the surrounding areas of your headlight with masking tape to avoid any damage. Wear either plastic or vinyl gloves in case you have sensitive skin. 

c. Wash And Rinse

Using a clean cloth and a detergent, wash the surface of your headlight well. After thoroughly washing the surface, rinse it with plain water.

d. Apply Polishing Compound

Now take the polishing compound and apply it on another clean cloth. Using small, circular movements, clean the headlights well. Spend about 5 minutes on each headlight to allow the compound to work well. 

e. Wet Sand Your Headlights

Take a coarsest sandpaper at first and wet it in cool water. Then use it to firmly rub back and forth on the headlights. Never let the sandpaper dry while rubbing, keep wetting it from time to time. Repeat the process using each variety of sandpaper, that is, from coarsest to smoothest grade. 

e. Rinse And Apply Car Wax

Using plain water, rinse off all the polishing compound from the water thoroughly. Then like in other methods, apply car wax to avoid your headlights getting oxidised again. 

Droplets Of Moisture On The Inside Of Headlights

Your headlights are prone to getting oxidised both on the inside and outside of the surface. However, it is most commonly found on the outside of the surface, as oxidation happens on easy-to-reach portions. However, if you are noticing droplets on the inside of your headlights, you have to remove the surface and clean using the above methods for it to be effective. 


Having oxidised headlights in your car is not at all desirable as it is not at all safe to drive your vehicle especially at night in such a circumstance. You can use all the above-mentioned techniques to deoxidise your car headlights to ensure safe driving. However, in case your headlights still stay cloudy, it is best to approach a mechanic at the earliest. Hope you found the article helpful! 

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