DIY: Headlight Lens Cleaner

Updated February 21, 2017

Headlights are one of the most important safety systems on any vehicle. Not only do they allow you to see at night, but also they allow others to see you coming. Whether you have traditional incandescent lights or the newer HID headlights, they will only be as good as the lens that covers them. A dirty or damaged headlight lens will cause the light to be overly filtered or distorted. Luckily you can clean your headlight lenses with nothing more than some simple household items.

Park your vehicle and turn off the engine. Let the automobile cool for at least 20 minutes. Scrape off any large pieces or road grit with a plastic putty knife. Then rinse with a garden hose.

Make some homemade lens cleaner. Mix a tablespoon of white vinegar and a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle filled with water. Shake vigorously to combine.

Spray the cleaner directly on the headlight lens. Let the cleaner dry in the lens for about five minutes. Spray more cleaner on and this time wipe the lens clean with a rag. Repeat this step one more time if necessary.


If your headlights have become yellowed with age, you can clear this up by applying denatured alcohol as a cleaner.

Things You'll Need

  • Denatured alcohol
  • Spray bottle
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Rags
  • Vinegar
  • Rubbing alcohol
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About the Author

Steve Bradley is an educator and writer with more than 12 years of experience in both fields. He maintains a career as an English teacher, also owning and operating a resume-writing business. Bradley has experience in retail, fashion, marketing, management and fitness. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and classics.