How to clean headlights with baking soda and vinegar

How to clean headlights with baking soda and vinegar

Are your car headlights dim at night because they are foggy? Are you looking for a way to make them as clean and clear as possible? Then read on.

Headlights tend to get foggy as time progresses. Headlights may turn foggy because of a process called oxidation. The polycarbonate lens develops microscopic cracks when exposed to air and UV radiation. Headlights may also become foggy because of water vapor created inside the headlight box when the air becomes trapped in the headlight box and condenses.

In this article, we will look at how you can use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to clean your headlights, making them sparkle again.

Why you should clean your headlights

Having clean headlights ensures that the light from them illuminates clearly on the road as you travel. This is very important if you drive at night. Having a clear view of the road ahead of you is extremely important as you will avoid car crashes which can cause death or injury.

When you have dirty headlights, it becomes difficult to drive because you cannot see the road very well. Poor vision when driving can be dangerous as you can crash your car or hit a pedestrian. Also, having clean headlights on your car is a form of maintenance for your car.

What you will need to clean your headlights

Cleaning your headlights is not a complicated task. You can do it yourself at home with minimum effort.

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To clean your headlights, you will need:

  1. Vinegar
  2. Baking soda
  3. A scrubbing cloth or specialty sandpaper.
  4. Clean water
  5. A toolkit to remove the headlight.
  6. Liquid soap

Cleaning your headlights

Car headlights have two sides that need to be cleaned; the inner and outer sides. The way they need to be cleaned varies a bit, depending on the type of headlight.

The different types of headlights include:

Sealed headlights– this type of headlight comes in a maximum of four light system designs. Each system features both low and high beams depending on the number of bulbs.

Composite headlights– this headlight system features a replaceable lighting system. It consists of plastic lenses with space left out by designers to install a navigation lamp.

HID headlights– this type of headlight contains xenon gas. It is four times longer than the composite headlight. They have a bright beam, which is why they’re called High-intensity discharge (HID) headlights. They are more expensive to replace than sealed or composite headlights.

Projector headlights– these headlights are mainly for focus. They come in both HID and halogen versions. They are more expensive to purchase and replace than sealed, composite, or HID lights.

Led lights– this type of headlight is the most advanced in technology. They make use of light-emitting diodes instead of filament bulbs. They use less energy than other headlights. However, the light they emit is almost the same as the other types of headlights.

Cleaning the outside of the headlights

Follow these steps to clean the outer side of your headlights:

  1. Mix the baking soda and vinegar in the ratio of 2:1. This mixture leads to carbon dioxide gas that helps lift dirt from the headlamp.
  2. Add liquid soap into the mixture.
  3. Dip the cloth into the mixture.
  4. Use the cloth to scrub the outer part of the headlight.
  5. Repeat the process until the outer part is clean.
  6. When you are satisfied that it is clean, rinse with clean water and dry it with a dry cloth.
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How to clean the inside of your headlights

After you clean the outer side of the headlight, you will then move to the inside. The inner side is more complicated to clean because it is sealed in the car. How you access it depends on the type of headlight. You will have to remove the headlight box from the front of the vehicle.

To clean the inside of your headlight, you will need:

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • A screwdriver
  • Clean water
  • Two dry cloths

To clean the inside of your headlight, you will need to follow the following steps:

  1. Remove the headlight from its housing- using a screwdriver, gently unscrew the screws holding the headlight in place. As you remove the headlamp, try to be careful as you do it, so that you do not damage the bulb or lens. Place the headlight on a clean flat surface.
  2. Create a mixture of baking soda, white vinegar, and water. This solution will be our cleaning agent.
  3. Dip your cloth into the mixture and start to scrub the inside of your headlamp. Make sure your cloth is soft to ensure that it does not scratch the inner side. A cotton cloth is the best choice.
  4. If your headlight is still foggy and dirty, repeat steps 2 and 3 until it becomes clear.
  5. After the scrubbing, take a dry cloth and dry your headlight.
  6. After your headlight is dry, replace it in its housing. Seal it tightly with your screwdriver so that it does not fall off when you are driving.
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If you find the above steps complicated, you can take your car to a mechanic to clean the headlights for you. Some garages offer to clean your headlights as an after-sale service.

You can also use regular soap if you do not have baking soda and vinegar. However, this is not ideal because regular soap is not as effective as vinegar and baking soda.

Headlight FAQs

How often should I clean my car headlights?

To keep your headlights clean, you will need to clean them regularly. It is advisable to clean them once every two weeks. Cleaning them more than this increases the chances of damaging your lens or bulb, and we do not want that.

I tried to clean my headlights, but they still are dirty. What should I do?

If you try to clean your headlights, but they are still dirty, you may need to replace them with new ones. Having dirty headlights is very risky and can lead to a car crash. Alternatively, you can take your car to a car cleaner to do it for you. They may still be dirty because you are doing the cleaning wrongly.

I cleaned my headlights, but they got foggy again right away. What could be the problem?

Before you replace your headlights after cleaning, make sure that the inner part is dry. Replacing it while it is wet will lead to the formation of mist around your lens and bulb.

Clean your headlights to stay safe

Ensuring that your headlights are clean before you start to drive can save you a lot of money and time. With clean headlights, you will see the road clearly, and you can avoid potholes or crashing into other cars due to poor visibility. You should make sure to clean your headlights regularly so that they remain clean and clear.

How to clean headlights with baking soda and vinegar

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