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Can Lime & Baking Soda Clean Foggy Headlights?

That new car smell isn’t the only thing that fades as your vehicle ages; your headlights can get a bit foggy too. Luckily, there are ways you can bring back the bright lights you enjoyed when you first got your vehicle.

Some methods may seem unorthodox, but drivers rave about them and swear by them.

Today, we’re tackling all you need to know about those foggy headlights.

Let’s dive in!

What Are Foggy Headlights?

You’ve likely seen or owned a vehicle with foggy headlights. You may have thought it was an aging light bulb, but even with a new light bulb, your lights aren’t what they once were. That’s because the plastic casing that houses the headlight bulb is the problem. Foggy headlights have a glossy look that makes a car look older than it is.

What Causes Headlights to Become Foggy?

As your vehicle ages, the plastic headlights develop microscopic cracks due to extended exposure to the sun, rain, and various road conditions. Over time, these tiny cracks and scratches can add up and reduce the look of your vehicle and make it difficult to see. 

If your vehicle spends a tremendous amount of time sitting outside while you’re at work or if you park it in your driveway, your headlights can become foggy over time. Luckily, there are some things you can do to extend their life and bring back the shine.

Pro Tip: Use these tips on How To Easily Clean Cloudy Headlights to make your headlights look fresh as new.

Man wiping cloudy headlights
Foggy headlights can hinder your ability to see safely on the road.

Can Lime & Baking Soda Clean Foggy Headlights?

If you’re tired of foggy headlights on your vehicle, a lime and some baking soda can do the trick. Pour some baking soda into a small bowl and cut the lime in half. Then walk out to your vehicle and dip the inside of the lime into the baking soda so it sticks to the juicy part of the lime.

Then, use a little bit of elbow grease to work the lime and the baking soda into the headlight. You want to firmly and evenly rub the lime over the headlight. As you do, you should notice that the fog or haze in the headlights begins to disappear. Use a soft rag to wipe the headlights clean when you’re finished.

Are Foggy Headlights Dangerous?

Foggy headlights can be very dangerous, especially if they’re overly cloudy. In extreme cases, your visibility could be reduced by as much as 50% because of foggy headlights. This could make it very difficult to see objects on the road, changes in road conditions, or curves when driving in unfamiliar areas. If there’s anything you don’t want to be limited on while driving, visibility is at the top of that list.

Baking soda and lemon on a plate
Use a lime or lemon and some baking soda to clear up your headlights.

Other Helpful Ways to Clean Foggy Headlights

Lime and baking soda can be a very effective way to clean foggy headlights, but it’s not the only way. Let’s look at several helpful ways to clean your vehicle’s headlights.

Toothpaste Method

Hopefully, you have some toothpaste lying around your home. You want toothpaste with baking soda in it to give it some grit. The grit will help remove the cracks and scratches on the surface of your headlight.

Start by cleaning your headlights with Windex or soap and water. Then grab a cloth and firmly rub the gritty toothpaste into the headlight. You should be able to watch the headlight transform before your eyes and become practically as good as new.

Pro Tip: Learn more about how to clean your headlights with the toothpaste method.

Sandpaper Method

You can use sandpaper to clear up those foggy headlights. However, you want to use extremely fine sandpaper to avoid making it worse. Spray some water on the headlight, start with 400-grit sandpaper, and then come back with 600-grit sandpaper. If you’re still not getting the results you like, spray some more water on top of it and use a 1,000-grit wet sandpaper to get an even more polished look.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Using baking soda and vinegar can effectively clean your foggy headlights. Start with one or two tablespoons of baking soda and mix it with enough vinegar to make a thick paste. Take a dry-cleaning cloth and polish the headlamp with the paste you’ve created.

Use a spray bottle or garden hose and rinse the paste from your headlights. If all goes as planned, you should notice that the headlights are much clearer now than they were at the start.

If you do not get the desired results, you can repeat the process multiple times until you get the intended result. Thoroughly cover the foggy headlight with the paste and scrub the paste firmly into the headlight.

Buy a Restoration Kit

If you can plan ahead or have an auto parts store nearby, buying a restoration kit can help provide premium results. And you don’t have to worry about harming your headlights. These kits provide everything you need to restore your headlights and keep them looking like new for a long time. Follow the instructions from the manufacturer, and you should be good to go.

Trust a Professional When Necessary

If you don’t want to replace your headlights and you’ve tried everything you can think of, you may need to take it to a professional. Will this be cheap? Not always. According to AAA, this could cost upwards of $190 to have a professional repair the foggy headlights for you.

Man washing foggy headlight
There are many easy at home treatments to clear up foggy headlights.

How to Prevent Foggy Headlights

The best way to prevent foggy headlights in the future is to apply a surface protectant to your headlights. The Meguiar’s G17804 creates a clear coating over your headlights and protects them from the harmful effects of UV rays from the sun and other weather conditions. 

You should apply this after each wash or at least once a month. Doing so will help prevent your headlights from becoming foggy as your vehicle ages. Whether you want to keep the vehicle for the rest of its life or trade it in someday down the road, you want your headlights to be as clear as possible to keep your car looking like new.

Fix Those Foggy Headlights

Luckily, you don’t have to live with foggy headlights. With a little bit of effort and likely some items you already have on hand, you can have your headlights looking great and shining bright. Avoid excessively harsh chemicals on your headlights, as they could cause more damage.

If you’re worried, try the method in a small section of your headlight before doing the entire surface. You’ll be seeing clearly in no time!

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