My family were here for the holidays and my sister-in-law mentioned that she paid $30.00 to have her head lights cleaned and later learned a method to do it herself. I decided to give it a try. I was so thrilled it did such a great job; that I was inspired to make a gift kit for friends and family. My friend and I used to make Christmas gifts for her holiday reunion for several years. We never could dream up great gifts for the guys. I am sure she would have enjoyed putting this one together for the men in her family. I wanted to post this early for Valentine's Day so . . . some of you might get a head start with your gift plans. The old fashioned head lights lasted longer and were much easier to keep clean, it is too bad the auto industry changed them. They probably changed them to lighten the weight of the vehicle.
This instructable will show you how to make a gift kit with my modified head light cleaning formula,by re-using stuff you have around the house. It will also show you how to clean the foggy headlights to improve your visibility while driving and protect the head lamps from fogging up so fast. I included a poem that I wrote myself. This is an entry for the instructable contest. Let's get started!
Step 1: Tools and Supplies
Here is a complete list of tools and supplies that I used to make this gift.
Formula tools and supplies:
Enough tooth paste to fill a small container or refill the tooth paste tube
2 Tablespoons Baking Soda ( if your head lights are very cloudy be sure to add Baking Soda if your toothpaste will not get them as clear as you like. If you are using toothpaste with baking soda try it first before adding the baking soda. I used tooth paste with Baking Soda and still added more.
Fraser fir essential oil (optional) this will mask the smell of toothpaste to give your head light cleaner
Small container with lid (a metal lid would be great.)
Label ( using reflective adhesive material , you could use paper and a marker)
Glue or a glue gun
Reflective adhesive material comes in a roll and is used to reflect light and has an adhesive on the back of it like contact paper. You can use it on utility trailers, signs, bicycles, farm equipment, mail boxes, or anything to reflect the light especially at night.
Cleaning brush (optional)
Small owl stickers I had on hand (optional)
I used a paint chip I had left over from painting our place for the poem
The top of a cotton sock the length you like
Protective coating after the headlights have been cleaned:
I poured rainX into a small glass bottle and filled a tube with car wax; but if this is not a gift you won't need to do this. Just use them from the original bottle.
Re-use of empty containers:
I included a magnetic sheet, a metal lid, and reflective adhesive material; with the gift, so the recipient could re-use the gift packaging and contents. For instance; A person could attach a magnet to the back of the reflective lid and stick it to a metal fence post; to see a private drive entry in the dark, or a person could open the used tube of head light cleaner and cut out house numbers to stick to a metal mail box by adding a magnet to the back of the numbers.
1 Small pizza box
Crinkled green paper
Reflective label to cover the restaurant name
Bowl to draw circle to cover the pizza label
Step 2: Reflective Material Is Great on Equipment and Dark Roads
Step 3: The Formula
The truth is you can use a regular tube of toothpaste to clean your headlights but for a gift this method gives it an attractive presentation and it is a great way to use the last bit of toothpaste and re- use the empty containers . You could ask your friends and neighbors to save tooth paste containers for you and over time have enough to make gifts for your friends and relatives who have dim headlights. My husband's pick-up headlights were pretty cloudy so I mixed baking soda with the toothpaste and it made a big difference.
Mixing the formula:
Cut the bottom of the toothpaste container.( Please read bottom note )
Scoop out the toothpaste and place it into a bowl adding enough to fill the container you will be using.
Rinse the toothpaste tube and dry.
Add 2 T baking soda to the tooth paste and mix thoroughly with a spoon.
Just for fun I added Fraser fir essential oil to change the scent to (disguise the toothpaste smell).
I have not used an empty toothpaste container before so I cut it at the bottom and on one side. When I realized the container was kind of nifty, I decided to re-use it for the sealer and cleaner but next time I will cut the bottom and not the sidesand fill it with the special formula and cover it with the custom label.
Step 4: Container Labels
Cover the containers with the label and fill.
I traced the shape of the container lid onto the reflective adhesive material (saving the plastic on the back of it) and stuck it to the container lid and labeled it with the marker.
I traced the bottom of the container over the clear plastic and cut it out to place over the formula.
I traced the bottom of the container over the blue sponge and cut out the shape.
I filled the tube with the head light formula (or wax) and duct taped the bottom to seal it.
I cut the reflective adhesive material to fit the tube and stuck the adhesive to the tube and labeled it with the marker.
I was told when professionals clean the car head lights; they use a protective sealer on it afterwards. I would think car wax or rainX would accomplish this. I made a small tube with car wax in it for my son-in-law. If you were to use rainX you could put a small amount into a tiny bottle like I did and label it rainX. One of my readers mentioned he used clear coat and it lasted two years.
Step 5: Fill the Container
I filled the container with the formula.
I made a pull tab from the reflective material and stuck it to the clear plastic ( for easy removal).
I placed the clear plastic circle over the formula.
I cut a small piece of duct tape and folded it so it would be sticky on both sides.
I stuck the duct tape to the top of the inside of the lid and stuck the sponge to it.
For extra protection; I later added a wax coated cardboard (container cover) and glued it to the top, to prevent spillage (for shipping).
If the black marker gets on the container you can remove it by using hair spray. It works like a champ.
Step 6: Cleaning Mitten
How to make the cleaning mitten:
You can use an old cotton t-shirt or cut a sock open, I made mine fancy for the presentation.
I cut off the top of an old sock to make a mitten.
I turned it in-side out and taped the bottom together with the duct-tape.
I turned it right side out and tried it on. Mine was a little short to fit Roger's hand but it looks good for the presentation and I don't have any spares to make another one.
Step 7: Poem
Here is a poem I wrote to include in the gift package:
Head lights looking a little foggy and dim?
This kit will make them look new again.
Spray the head lights with a garden hose.
Careful not to spray your nose.
Grab a little paste with the sponge.
Gently rub to remove the grunge.
Rinse the lights again with the hose.
If that didn't work give them a second dose.
Buff and dry with the mitten.
See them sparkle and glisten.
When it's dark take the Beast for a spin.
You're sure to come home sporting a grin!
Step 8: Re-using Contents
I designed this package so there would be little waste.
I used a pizza box because it was very sturdy to store the cleaning kit in and I read an article mentioning pizza boxes can not be re-cycled. I don't know why, the article only listed it as non recyclable.
I used the reflective adhesive material to cover the containers so they could be re-used for fence post, tractors, equipment and reflectors for private driveways. Containers with metal lids might be better for this if you have them. The reflective adhesive material is very sticky and it is difficult to remove once it is applied.
The metal lid, extra magnetic sheet, and the reflective adhesive material is very useful to re-use things that would normally be discarded.
The empty head light tube container can be cut open and used for mail box numbers, dog collars, craft projects and many more.
The crinkled packaging was saved from a Christmas gift and I know my daughter will find a use for it.
Step 9: Washing the Vehicle
Here are the pictures where I washed my husband's pickup and my son's car. My husband's pickup is much older and the head lights were very cloudy. The car turned out better but the pickup had a noticeable difference. I washed the head lights on the car just a few minutes before my son was leaving to go to Nebraska so I did not spend very much time on them.
I poured water over the headlights to remove any sand or gritty particles so the paste would not scratch the head lights. Then I applied the paste and gently scrubbed with a brush, rinsed them thoroughly and buffed them dry. Then applied the rainX and buffed again.
Step 10: Sunshiines Final Thoughts
Being a member here at instructables has taught me how to be resourceful. I think very differently about throwing things away now; than I did several years ago. I am very pleased with the results and presentation of this gift to my son-in-law; who is a mechanic and who keeps his pickup sparkling. He also lives in the country and could use some reflectors. The clear head lights will help a lot with night driving and keep him and the family much safer.
If you think this instructable is worthy of your vote; please vote for it when the orange vote button is at the top right corner. I really appreciate it and thanks for stopping by to view this tutorial.
I wish to thank instructables and contributors for making this site a delightful place to share. Thanks so much and do have a safe and happy winter.