Easy Way to Remove Oxidation From a Plastic Headlight Lens

by Alexander McMillin

Many people have cars with cloudy headlight lenses. This is caused by the UV rays that hit the lenses when the car is left outside. It is not difficult to get rid of the oxidation using either cleaning products or home remedies. In addition to headlight cleaning products, you can even toothpaste to remove oxidation.

Items you will need

  • Headlight cleaning product (available at auto parts stores)

  • Toothpaste (if using this method)

  • Several new microfiber cloths

  • Car wax (optional)

Clean the Headlight With Water

Wet one of the microfiber cloths and wipe off the headlight. Remove all dirt and residue. This will prevent the headlight cleaning product or toothpaste from penetrating the surface of the glass. This step is the same with either the headlight cleaning product or toothpaste. The application of the product or toothpaste is slightly different, but the general process is the same for both.

Apply the Product or Toothpaste

Put the product or toothpaste on a damp cloth and rub it onto the headlight with circular motions. You should be able to see the oxidation disappearing. Rub the headlight for roughly 60 seconds for optimal results. Ensure that the entire headlight is coated with the product, but do not use so much that there is visible residue on the lens. If you are using toothpaste, the cloth may become dry. Add water until it is slightly damp.


  • Start with a small amount of toothpaste or headlight cleaner and increase the amount to ensure the entire headlight is covered. If you use too much, you may have to wipe it off and restart.

Wipe Off Excess Product

Use a different damp cloth to wipe off any residue. Ensure that the lens is clean as possible. Any residue will leave streaks and may damage the lens over time.

Apply Car Wax (Optional)

Use the included pad to apply car wax to the lens. This will protect the lens from future oxidation. You can buy car wax can from the same auto parts store where you purchased headlight cleaner. Nearly all waxes will include a pad for applying the wax. If this is not provided, use a microfiber cloth.

Apply a quarter-sized amount of wax to the cloth or pad. Rub it into the lens with a circular motion. Ensure that there is no residue left on the lens. If there is, remove it with a damp cloth.


  • Any excess car wax left on the lens may result in permanent streaking.

Items you will need

About the Author

Alexander McMillin is a writer and longtime gearhead living in the automotive mecca of Los Angeles. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Florida Gulf Coast University. McMillin's blog on cars, Los Angeles, and millennial angst can be found on his website, alexandermcmillin.com.