Top Home Remedies for Defogging Headlights

One of the best parts about owning a car is that feeling you get when your car is clean. Whether you spend hours a week cleaning it yourself in your driveway or you take some time out of your day to send it through a car wash, that clean-car feeling is unmatched. If you’re a car lover, you probably have a ritual that works just right for you: a specific soap you prefer for the exterior, a brand of tire shine you prefer for the tires, and a soft, absorbing towel to dry off the car.

But, the cost of buying these materials over and over quickly adds up. Have you ever considered that you might be able to clean your car with materials you already have at home? It’s a great way to save money while keeping your car clean (these methods can be totally Earth-friendly too!).

Hitting the sweet spot

In the name of keeping a clean car, there are definitely going to be more difficult spots to get at. For example, if you have a car that has rims with many spokes — the small area between the spokes is nearly impossible to clean. Some spaces between spokes are so small that a sponge doesn’t even fit. Another difficult area of a car to clean is its headlights. Whether you’re washing the headlights of your Camry or the headlights of your Ford truck, it’s important to keep up with the washing. Usually, as cars age, so do the condition of their headlights. Do you ever notice a car with headlights that appear murky and yellow-ish in color? This is a result of aging, unclean headlights. If you own a brand new car, you probably won’t have to put too much effort into cleaning them. If you own a car with a few years (plus) age on it, you may have to pay attention to this area with a bit more care and detail.

Regardless of your car’s age, there are a number of home remedies that you can try out that will keep your car’s headlights looking good and shiny. Nobody wants discolored, foggy, yellow headlights. You want your headlights to be able to shine through the night with ease. After all, that’s what they’re there for!

The easiest of all…

Soap! Don’t forget about trying the most obvious of home remedies. Some people don’t clean their cars that often. We all get busy, and although our cars don’t need the cleaning, they sure could use it. Taking a few minutes out of your day to clean your car will keep it looking new. Just take some of your favorite anti-grease dish soap, add some water to a rag, and wash away. Try this out at first before you move on to the more abrasive options. The results might surprise you.


I’m sure you’ve heard that vinegar can be used to clean a variety of things. Maybe you’ve even tested that theory out on your kitchen tile flooring. Well, when it comes to headlights, this remedy works. Vinegar is a super strong, natural way to clean off the dirt and residue on your car. Just mix approximately three parts water for every one part vinegar you add to create this cleaning solution. Use a small towel to soak up the solution and scrub your headlights in a circular motion. The vinegar will begin to break down the dirt and leave your car’s headlights fresh and clean.

Baking soda

Sometimes, vinegar alone might not do the job entirely. For an extra clean, add baking soda to the water and vinegar solution. Baking soda works in a similar way as vinegar, removing dirt from the car’s surface. Add a couple tablespoons of baking soda to your water and vinegar solution. Use a rag to soak up the solution and then lights scrub away at the surface of the headlights. Depending on how fast the dirt is washed away, you may have to repeat this process. Usually, the dirt takes a minute or two to be scrubbed away. Just put a little effort into it, scrub away, and you’ll have some pretty awesome results in just a few minutes.


Another home remedy that you’ll be surprised about: toothpaste. Next time there’s a sale for a buy-one-get-one on toothpaste, get an extra for your car’s headlights! Toothpaste has been used for years to clean away foggy headlights and to help restore them. All you have to do, similarly to the vinegar and the baking soda solutions, is take a rag, apply a solid amount of toothpaste to the rag, and scrub around the hazy area of the headlights. The toothpaste will begin to break off the old, dirty particles that collect on your headlights’ surfaces. It’s a super easy way to clean your car’s headlights because absolutely everyone has toothpaste at home. No excuses for keeping those headlights looking clean!

Bug spray

Surprisingly enough, bug spray is a great home remedy to clean your headlights. But, do be careful here. Because bug spray has some pretty tough chemicals, you don’t want to leave the spray on the headlights for any longer than a moment or two. Just spray the surface of your headlights and wash away with water. The chemicals in bug spray seem to do wonders for aging headlights.

What is your reaction?

In Love
Not Sure
Cristofer Montel
Cristofer Montel is a South Florida Native, swearing that Boca Raton is much more than just a retirement destination for Northerners. He went to Florida State University for his Bachelors degree and then on to Nova Southeastern University for law school. In his spare time, he scrolls through pages and pages of car content on Instagram. When he's not drowning in legal work, he writes for a marketing and advertising consultancy


    1. Be careful with the bug spray. Some will do more damage than good to your headlights. I guess if your headlights are completely faded it doesn’t hurt to try before you buy new ones, but I would test a small area first.

    2. I purchased headlights in Oct for my 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix and they already have this film (rainbow colored) that developed on the inside of the lens. Im so disappointed as I was told that the warranty on them has expired. Bad news

    3. Why do my headlights need to be fresh? Not likely on a 20-year-old vehicle. Clean is good enough for me!

      1. Yellow and fogged over. Fogged over is surface degradation by the elements. The plastic surface is slowly falling apart. The point is to remove it and get a clean surface underneath.

        If the lens looks opaque it’s not safe.

    4. The fact that bug spray is safe for human skin, but not good to leave on the headlights for more than a moment is concerning to say the least!

    5. Great to know my bug spray isn’t just good for killing the ants and roaches.

      1. Does bug spray work

    6. I would not recommend using bug spray on headlights. It may work temporarily, but bug spray could cause more damage than before. The baking soda and vinegar trick is a good remedy with home supplies. I would only use the baking soda and vinegar solution if you don’t want to break out the sand paper, polish, and elbow grease.

    7. interesting

    8. When I get home Im cleaning my headlights with toothpaste immediately. Such a cool remedy.

    9. I never knew of any home remedies for defogging so I’m excited to try instead of pay somebody for an entire restoration!!!

    10. Non of the above did justice for my 2011 honda crv. Made it absolutely worse. Now I have to buy a kit for 42.00 or replace the head light for $184

    Leave a reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may also like

    More in:DIY