How to Defog Car Headlights

Updated February 21, 2017

All car headlights will develop a haze over time that makes them look fogged up. This is a normal side effect of driving. Dirt, sand, grit and other items constantly hit our headlights as we travel. This process effectively sandblasts the headlights, which not only diminishes the look of your car, but also reduces the light’s ability to illuminate the roadway. Fortunately, it is easy to solve this process, and you don’t have to replace the lamps to do it.

Purchase a “Crystal View” headlight restoration kit. You can buy this kit at Wal-Mart, K-Mart or Advanced Auto Parts. You can also order it online (see Resources)

Check the package to make sure all of the items are included. The contents should include two pouches marked “CV#1”, four pouches marked “CV#2”, two brown sheets of finishing paper, two blue sheets of finishing paper, four hydro-weave cloths, a glove and a set of written instructions.

Take one of the brown sheets of finishing paper and fold it in half. The squirt a small dollop of CV#1 onto the sheet and use it to sand the headlight. This sanding will remove the damaged surface of the lens. You will need to sand the headlight for about three minutes during this step.

Use a paper towel to wipe away the residue that was created during the sanding in Step 3. The headlight should already look noticeably better at this stage.

Move on to the second sanding step. For this step, you will want to use the blue finishing paper. Again, fold the paper in half and pour a small dollop of CV#1 onto the paper, then sand the headlight to remove any old residue. If the CV#1 begins to dry before you are finished, just lightly mist it with a spray bottle to reactivate the solution. This step can be completed in as little as a minute, depending on the size of your headlight.

Use a paper towel to wipe the headlight lens. This will remove any residue that was sanded off of the lens during the previous step. Your headlight should already be looking much better than it did before you began this process.

Begin the final polishing step. For this step, you will need to use one of the hydro-weave cloths. Fold it in half, and put a small dollop of CV#1 onto the cloth. Wipe over the entire lens thoroughly, just as you did during the sanding steps.

Clean the lens. Use a damp cloth, or mist-spray the headlight. Wash the entire lens of the headlight completely. It is important that you wash off all of the residue from the light before you proceed to the next step. After the surface has been washed, allow it to dry completely and then move on to the next step.

Apply the clear coat sealant to the headlight. This will fill in any remaining scratches and put a protective coat over the headlight. Take one of the micro-weave cloths and fold it in half. Then open one pouch of CV#2 and pour the entire package onto the cloth. The solution will pour out quickly, so be careful and pour it slowly so that the entire contents of the pouch can absorb into the cloth. Afterwards, use the cloth to wipe in strokes, all travelling the same direction, to cover the entire headlight with the sealant.

Wait two minutes to allow the sealant to dry. Once it has dried, repeat the process of Step 9 to apply a second coat of sealer to the headlight lens.

Use a damp cloth to wash away any CV#2 clear coat that you may have got on areas outside of the lens. The Crystal View products are paint safe and will not damage the car, but the clear coat will harden onto the surface permanently if it is not washed off.

Repeat the entire process on the other headlight. The headlight restoration kit contains enough materials to restore and polish both of your car’s headlights.


Instead of using CV#1 on the brown and blue finishing cloths, you can also just use plain water, reserving more of the CV#1 for the polishing stage with the micro-weave cloth.

Things You'll Need

  • Crystal view headlight restorer
  • Paper towels
  • Water
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About the Author

Jerry Garner has been writing semi-professionally for more than 15 years. The body of Garner's work includes informative articles, news and current events and historical essays. He is an avid sports fan and frequently writes about outdoor activities online.