Clean Your Headlights With Toothpaste





Introduction: Clean Your Headlights With Toothpaste

About: I work at instructables by day, and turn into a stitch witch by night. follow me on instagram @jessyratfink to see what i'm working on! ^_^

So you're driving around super late at night in the middle of Nowhere, NM - and you realize you can't see a THING.

And you and your significant other talk about cleaning the headlights, or getting new bulbs, or something. But the store bought kits cost way more than you can afford because you just spent all your money on a cross-country move. And then one of the lights goes out and you replace it, and it doesn't make much of a difference.

So what do you do? Google it, and then wind up cleaning them with toothpaste.

I have to admit I didn't know if this would work, but I am pleasantly surprised.

When I go to pick up the boy at work tonight I will SEE ALL THE THINGS!

Step 1: What You'll Need:

  • regular ol' toothpaste
  • old towels or rags
  • water for rinsing
  • a pair of filthy headlights
I'm using old bar mop towels and Arm & Hammer toothpaste. We bought it to actually clean our mouths, but it is the worst thing I've ever put in my mouth. Hooray for reuse!

Or, you could try any of these amazing things with it.

Step 2: Scrub!

Squeeze out a bit of toothpaste on the rag and scrub the headlight.

Scrub however you want. Circular motion adds nothing.

Watch how fast the grime comes off! Shoo howdy!

Step 3: Admire Headlight Dirt.

Your rag/towel/cloth of choice will look like this. Good job!

I can't say that yours will look much worse than this, though... our Altima is old and very dirty. I'm pretty sure it got vacuumed for the first time ever in 12+ years before we moved to Oakland. Tyler admitted to only washing it maybe once a year too. FOR SHAME

Step 4: Rinse and Be Excited.

I rinsed them with a little water and wiped them down again to make sure all the gunk was gone. Easy! I included some before and after photos to convince you.

So now you know what to do: go buy toothpaste instead of a $30 kit.

(And sorry for the lack of pretty pictures this time. A dirty car that killed thousands of bugs while crossing the US is not the most glamorous of subjects. :D)

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90 Discussions

Know what else works really great??? Bug repellent!! (Off!, Repel, etc) Just spray on and wipe off years of yellow film!!! :)

I had a can of Off from a few years ago that I was going to throw away so I thought I'd try it. Headlights were totally clear in minutes!! Happy Happy Happy

6 replies

Do not use off or any bug repellent it melts the plastic it will melt whatever plastic it touches i watched a YouTube video on it that everyone should watch the guy that makes the most useful videos channel is chrisfix

absolutely correct... and it wont last long.. best way is rubbing compound.. or 600 fine water sand paper then graduate to 800 fine... use watter while your doing it... takesva lil longer .. aply a lil muscle.. finish it up with car wax,,,


I will try the bug spray cause the toothpaste didn't work for me.

chrisstarnes is correct. The bug repellent will work, but in the long run you won't have head lights left. It will look good for a few days but then return even worse and as you continue to re apply the plastic is being burned off.

You should have used some WD40 to clean the bugs off before taking the pics. WD40 is another amazing general purpose product.

1 reply

I just did this!!! Not only are my headlights clean they also smell minty fresh!!!!

I will tell you a easier way one Mr. Clean magic eraser don't take very long. Just wet the eraser and rub in a swirl motion for a few minutes and this really works.


3 years ago

What I want to know is, why don't they make headlights out of the same plastic as the tailights? That would make too much sense I guess....

2 replies

Even if they did use the same plastic, your front headlights are going to become more cloudy much faster anyway. This is because the front headlights take a bigger beating from debris, salt and the suchlikes of that nature, than the back lights. Well, unless one drives backwards everywhere, lol :)

Hope this helps

Because the headlights need to be transparent therefore the same plastic cannot be used..

Nice post. Here's another thing you can use: diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a natural substance called silica. Silica works wonderfully and safely (think tiny sandpaper particles) and it took about half of the time (and mess) of toothpaste. Thanks for getting me started with this process though! You took the time to post great photos and came up with a very clear and humorous step-by-step process. Bravo!

Did it! Worked wonders! 100% blemish free? no. But 100% better than before!

I tried Fixo Dent and now I can't get my hand off the headlight!

1 reply

Well it worked for me after just one application. I think I will do it again to get it extra clear. I wish I had a before and after, but it looks 100 times better!! And it's cheap! ?


My right headlight is a little dimmer than my left so I have tried this.