How to clean foggy headlights with vinegar

Driving a car with a foggy headlight is highly risky, most especially when you are cruising the road at night. Foggy headlights obscure the vision of a driver; therefore, when you are driving in a car with a foggy headlight, you are not just endangering your life, but also that of other pedestrians plying the same road, as well as your investment in your beloved car.

Consequently, immediate attention must be given once you discover the formation of mist or fog in your headlight. Although it is very easy to clear off foggy formations in headlights, doing it in the best way possible is essential and that is why in this article; I discussed extensively “how to clean foggy headlights with vinegar” and some other cleaners. Read on to know all that is required to get rid of headlight fogginess for good.

How to clean foggy headlights with vinegar

Why do I have a foggy headlight

Many factors can cause fog or mist to form in your headlight; some of these reasons include the following:

Flying debris

While driving, as you increase the velocity of your car, the speed of air blowing around your car will also increase; this will then create a force that lifts tiny particles like gravels, road salts, and some other debris off the ground. This debris and dirt will then find their way to your headlight and every other beneath your car. This may cause scratches, formation of pits, and wearing down the top layer of your car headlight.


When ultraviolet light reflects on acrylic headlights, they become oxidized. As a result of this, most car makers always attach bright top covers to the lenses of headlights to protect them against oxidation. However, these coverings are highly susceptible to wear and tear, and because of this, sunlight can easily penetrate the hard plastic covering and turn them yellow.

Water vapor

All headlights usually come with a factory-fitted watertight seal, but unfortunately, this protection is also subjected to wear and tear and can break at any time. When the protective shield breaks, condensation will start to form inside the lens at a corner where it is usually difficult to wipe away. The condensed liquid will then cause the beam of light to scatter; causing further obstruction to nighttime vision.

Can foggy headlights be cleaned

Yes, you can clean foggy headlights. The foggy headlight is easy to clean, however, you may encounter some minor issues like cleaning from the proper angle and getting the right cleaner that will not cause further damage to your headlight. If you can overcome those challenges, then cleaning will become a piece of cake.

Can you clean foggy headlights with vinegar

Yes, you can clean foggy headlights with vinegar. Vinegar is a home-based cleaner that can be effectively used to remove discoloration and clear foggy headlights. Just by spraying or washing your headlight with vinegar, you can completely get rid of dirt and grimes blocking your night vision when driving at night. You can use vinegar wax or you use it in combination with baking soda, another effective home-based cleaner. Read on to learn about the most effective way of using vinegar as a foggy remover.

Will vinegar remove oxidation from the headlight

Yes, vinegar will remove oxidation from headlights. Oxidation is one of the major causes of fogginess in headlights, and cleaning with vinegar is one of the most effective ways to get rid of any form of discoloration from foggy headlights.

Although, there are lots of other professional options that can be used to restore headlights after they become oxidized and foggy; just like me, most people prefer to go for cheaper and simple DIY alternatives like vinegar and baking soda, which none ever disappoint.

What kind of vinegar can clean foggy headlights

You can safely clean your foggy headlights with any of the following types of vinegar. Distilled white vinegar (most common type), Apple cider vinegar, Balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, and malt vinegar.

Bonus: the prices of each of the above types of vinegar vary, as well as their acidic level.

How do you clean foggy headlights with vinegar

In this section, I will provide useful tips on how to get rid of oxidized or foggy headlights. Just follow the simple steps listed below to help you restore your discolored headlights to normal.

You will need the following items;

  1. Vinegar.
  2. Liquid dishwashing soap.
  3. Baking soda.
  4. A bowl.
  5. A piece of microfiber cloth and a towel.
  6. Tablespoon.

Pre-cleaning stage

  1. Pour two tablespoons of liquid dishwashing soap into a bowl of water to create a solution of ordinary water and liquid soap.
  2. Dampen a microfiber cloth in this solution and wipe the surface of the headlight to get rid of non-sticky mists. Note that the intention here is to pre-clean the headlight before the actual cleaning starts and therefore, an intensified pressure is discouraged.
  3. Rinse off the soapy headlight surface with water and dry it up with another clean dry towel.

Cleaning stage

  1. Make a paste from the mixtures of 1 or 2 tablespoons of baking soda and a cup of distilled white vinegar depending on how thick you want the paste to be and the extent to which fog covers your headlight.
  2. Deep a dry clean microfiber cloth into the paste and apply the paste on the headlight by rubbing it on the affected surface as gently as you can.
  3. Rinse the paste off the treated surface with water to check if the smudges are gone.

If any persists, go through the process again until you get a satisfactory result.

Alternative methods to clean off foggy headlights

Unfortunately, not everybody is a friend of vinegar. Some may be scared to use vinegar to clean off their foggy headlights; probably because it is acidic and can have a damaging effect on their headlights or because they are allergic to the offensive odor of vinegar. But the good news is that if you don’t want to use vinegar, there are lots of other effective alternatives that you can utilize to remove foggy formations in your car’s headlight.

Some of these alternatives include; Headlight restoration kit, WD 40, a Magic eraser, Coca-cola, Toothpaste, Bug spray, Sandpaper, Lemon e.t.c. There are many more alternatives but in this article, only the selected few listed will be explained extensively in the subsequent section.

How to clean headlight with a headlight restoration kit

A headlight restoration kit is one of the best and fastest ways to restore your headlight to its original translucent color and it is readily available in stores and on the internet. The only downside to a restoration kit is that they can be generally expensive but I can assure you that it’s worth a single penny.

The headlight restoration kit is simple to use as each of the products comes with instruction tags stating how to effectively use them to get the best result.

Pre-cleaning stage

Before you proceed, make sure your headlight is cool. If the headlight is still slightly warm, dampen a microfiber cloth or towel in a bowl of water, squeeze out the excess water and use it to rub the headlight until it cools down.

Cleaning process

Your headlight restoration kit should have 2 cleaning wipes and 1 protection wipe. All that is required of you is just to gently scrub the leaning wipe on the affected surface of the headlight in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction; then wait for a few seconds after rubbing for the cleaner to do its job. Apply a clear coat afterward.

How to clean headlight with WD 40

WD 40 is also an effective way to defog your headlight. Follow the simple steps below to guide you through the processes.

  1. Make water and soap solution inside a bowl.
  2. Moisten a microfiber cloth or towel in the solution and use it to thoroughly wash the fogged headlight.
  3. Shake the WD 40 can and apply carefully apply it to the headlight lens so that the lubricant doesn’t stain another part of the car.
  4. Wipe off the lubricant with a dry clean microfiber cloth.

Cleaning headlight with a magic eraser

Asides from being an effective cleaner, it is also very easy to use and the whole process is very few. Check the list below to learn about the usage process.

  1. Moisten the eraser in a bowl of water.
  2. Scrub the affected surface with the dampened eraser until it’s completely defogged.

How to clean headlights with Coca-cola

The process involved in defogging headlight with coca-cola is not a complicated one and has been carefully highlighted below.

  1. Pour coca-cola drink into a spraying bottle and apply generously on the affected spot and rub simultaneously with a towel.
  2. Leave the soda on the treated spot for about 10 minute.
  3. Wipe with a clean dry towel.

How to clean headlight with toothpaste

Follow the steps below to guide you through the process involved in cleaning headlights with toothpaste.

  1. Squeeze the paste on a towel and rub it on the affected spot in a circular motion until the yellow discoloration completely vanishes.
  2. Rise the treated spot with water and leave it to dry.

How to clean foggy headlights with bug spray

Listed below are processes involved in defogging headlights using bug spray.

  1. Dap the bug sprays on a towel and gently rub the affected spot with it until the discoloration is completely gone.
  2. You can wash the treated spot afterward but it is not necessary.

How to clean headlights with sandpaper

Below are a few steps involved in using sandpaper to clean foggy headlights.

  1. Wet the sandpaper with cold water.
  2. Put the sandpaper on the headlight and spray the headlight continuously with water until the whole surface is covered with water.
  3. In a slow and gentle motion, start to sand the affected spot but you must make sure you keep spraying the water on the sandpaper as your rub.

How to clean headlight with Lemon

Follow the steps below to guide you on how to defog headlight with lemon.

  1. Pour baking soda on a sliced lemon and scrub the affected spot with it.
  2. Leave the baking soda/lemon cleaner to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Rinse the treated spot with water afterward.

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