Clean Your Headlights With Toothpaste

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Introduction: Clean Your Headlights With Toothpaste

About: I'm a community manager here at instructables! I turn into a stitch witch at night. You can find me on Instagram @jessyratfink and Twitter at @makingjiggy ^_^

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)

4 People Made This Project!

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93 Comments

0
pameele
pameele

7 years ago on Introduction

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

0
chrisstarnes
chrisstarnes

Reply 6 years ago

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

0
flagy
flagy

Reply 5 years ago

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,,,

flaggy

0
paulalovescats
paulalovescats

Reply 3 years ago

Won't water you're little little

How's that for constructive?

0
NancyS61
NancyS61

Reply 5 years ago

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

0
james neally
james neally

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

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.

0
kudzu63
kudzu63

7 years ago on Introduction

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

0
second2nun4
second2nun4

7 years ago on Introduction

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.

0
ParkT
ParkT

5 years ago

I asked my neigbor about cleaning her headlights while I was outside and she punched me. Guess I should have not used the wax on wax off karate kid gesture.....

0
bobjames
bobjames

Reply 7 weeks ago

But if the headlights are on its sort of inviting ?

0
ljohnson8311
ljohnson8311

Reply 5 years ago

took me a minute....then i laughed.

0
ParkT
ParkT

Reply 5 years ago

just kidding, I tried it and the toothpaste worked, may try WD40 next

0
damer616
damer616

Tip 11 months ago on Step 4

A few people I see have asked if a buffer could be used to better apply the toothpaste. The answer is yes but using a dremel with a polishing pad attached and on low speed only. Using a higher speed can melt the headlight believe it or not. So remember "Haste makes waste" using this process exactly like this will provide you with healthy restored headlights and if done slowly it will last a good while. Rushing this will only give you "Half-Ass Results" & only a short time before you're repeating it the process all over again.

0
Joelanie31
Joelanie31

6 years ago

Toothpaste did'nt work for me.but I tried olive oil and it worked! I guess you can use any kind of oil

0
paulalovescats
paulalovescats

Reply 3 years ago

I guess they look shiny for a while, but I can't see oil doing anything.

0
MikeO8
MikeO8

6 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....