I’m stepping away from my design updates to share a brief experience. If you watch television regularly enough, you probably have seen the infomercial advertising a specialized cleaner for oxidized, dirty headlight covers on a vehicle. I have no idea if the advertised cleaner works, but I can tell you a certain “home remedy” works just fine.
The recent infomercial no doubt piqued my interest because the headlights on my 1998 Toyota Camry have needed a cleaning for some time.
A recent Google search for “how to clean your headlights”–or something similar–revealed a common ingredient among the results: toothpaste. It seemed too good to be true, so I decided to put this home remedy to the test. Let me say, I am quite impressed with the results and want to share my experience and some photos with you.
These photos were shot with an old cell phone camera, so the quality and color are a bit compromised. I hope you’re able to see the difference in before and after. The photos are untouched, raw images.
Here’s my process (culled from various sources in my search):
- Prep the surface:I used a touch of auto soap and a bucket of water to wash off as much grime as possible. It’s important to note: Soap and water won’t remove oxidation, so don’t confuse the results I experienced with the thought that perhaps the soap and water cleaned the headlights. After washing, dry the surface.
- Squeeze on the paste: As you can see from the photo, I happened to have Crest Tartar Protection–I’m not sure if other types of toothpaste would have produced different results. I squeezed a bit of toothpaste onto a dry paper towel.
- Lather: Next, I wiped the headlight with the toothpaste, adding more as needed to cover the area. The temperature was pretty hot, too, (lower 90s) so the toothpaste wasn’t spreading as easily.
- Rinse:Once the headlights were covered with the toothpaste, I cleaned them with a sponge and warm water.
- Repeat: The results are from cleaning the headlight twice, and regardless of how well it may show up in the photo, the difference is quite remarkable.
So, there you have it. You can clean your oxidized headlights with toothpaste–and it leaves your car feeling minty fresh. Give it a try and share your experience!