How to Clean Foggy Car Headlights with Toothpaste

toothpaste headlights cover

You’ve been driving around with foggy headlights, and it’s both dangerous and illegal. There are many reasons why your headlight lenses may become yellowed or hazy, but the simple solution to a problem like this is to use something like toothpaste!

This is a common problem that car owners encounter, as headlight lenses are made of plastic rather than glass. Overtime UV rays will cause your headlights to turn yellow or hazy; once that happens, you have reduced visibility at night due to the fogging of the lens.

And not only is it frustrating for you (it makes it difficult to see on dark roads), but it can also be unsafe for other drivers who are trying to look at your car and see your signals.

Fortunately there are commercially available products designed specifically for cleaning foggy headlights; however these can be expensive. The good news? Toothpaste works just as well at restoring clarity in plastic lenses without having an adverse effect on them!

In this article, we’ll discuss how to use toothpaste to clean car headlights.

Let’s begin.

What You’ll Need:

Here’s what you’ll need to get the job done:

  • Clean, dry rags
  • White toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Rubber cleaning gloves


The steps to cleaning your foggy headlights with toothpaste are as follows:

  1. Wear your rubber cleaning gloves.
  2. Use soap and water to wash the headlights to remove any dust or debris.
  3. Apply a thick layer of non-gel white toothpaste in a circular motion to the headlight.
  4. Let it sit for 1-3 minutes and then rinse it off with water.
  5. Once all signs of the toothpaste have been rinsed away, use your fingertips to apply a small dab of toothpaste directly onto each individual spot on the headlight lens (this will help spot treat them).
  6. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes and scrub away, then rinse it off with water again.
  7. Keep scrubbing and rinsing until you’re satisfied with the result. It may take more than one try to see a significant improvement.
  8. Dry with a towel.

Is Toothpaste Safe to Use for Cleaning Headlights?

Toothpaste is a gentle abrasive. It has grit in it that can do a good job of scrubbing away the oxidation that clouds your headlights.

However, this grit can also scratch the plastic lens of your headlight, creating more problems than it solves.

Secondly, toothpaste removes oxidation from your lenses just as well as any commercial lens polish will. But it doesn’t prevent oxidation from coming back later on. Toothpaste isn’t known for its durability or its ability to shield plastic headlights from UV rays and other environmental factors that cause them to yellow with age.

These two reasons make toothpaste more of a quick fix than a long-term solution for cloudy headlights. You’ll get the same results with toothpaste as you would with any polish or cleaner you’d buy in the store—but that’s only going to last until rain showers and sunlight have time to turn your clear lenses foggy again!

How Often Should You Use Toothpaste to Clean Headlights?

It’s important to note that if your headlight lens is heavily oxidized or scratched, you may want to use a different cleaning method or take your vehicle to a professional.

You can repeat the steps in this guide as often as necessary. The toothpaste will not do any damage to your car’s headlights as long as you are careful not to scrub too hard and use basic white toothpaste.


As you can see, cleaning foggy headlights is a relatively easy and painless process. However, it’s still important to proceed with caution as you clean your car. Remember that we’re dealing with plastic and glass here, so stay alert at all times.

If you want to try more DIY methods of cleaning your headlights, read my article on how to use baking soda to clean your car headlights.

We hope this article has been helpful the next time your car’s headlights need some TLC!

-Baking Soda Guy

Top Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels