Can I clean a headlight with toothpaste

Headlights play a crucial role in ensuring safe driving, but over time, they can become cloudy, dim, and less effective. While professional restoration services are available, there’s a cost-effective alternative hiding in your bathroom cabinet – toothpaste. In this article, we’ll explore how toothpaste can be a surprising and effective solution for cleaning and restoring your car’s headlights.

Understanding Headlight Degradation

Before delving into the toothpaste remedy, it’s important to understand why headlights become cloudy and dull. Headlight lenses are typically made of polycarbonate, which is durable but prone to oxidation. UV rays, harsh weather conditions, and environmental contaminants can cause a build-up of grime, resulting in reduced light output and compromised visibility. Regular maintenance can prevent severe degradation, but if your headlights are already in need of restoration, toothpaste might be your answer.

Toothpaste as a Headlight Restoration Agent

Toothpaste contains mild abrasives that can help eliminate the grime and oxidized layer on headlight lenses. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use toothpaste to restore your headlights:

  1. Gather the necessary materials: toothpaste (preferably non-gel and non-whitening), microfiber cloth, water, and masking tape.
  2. Clean the headlights: Start by washing the headlights with water and mild soap to remove loose dirt and debris. Dry them thoroughly.
  3. Apply toothpaste: Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste onto the microfiber cloth. Gently rub the toothpaste onto the headlight lens using circular motions. Avoid excessive pressure to prevent scratches.
  4. Repeat the process: Continue rubbing the toothpaste onto the lens for several minutes. You may notice the toothpaste turning hazy as it interacts with the oxidation layer.
  5. Rinse and assess: Once satisfied with the rubbing process, rinse the headlight with water and wipe it dry with a clean cloth. Assess the results and repeat the process if necessary.

Benefits and Limitations of Toothpaste

Using toothpaste for headlight restoration offers several advantages. It is a readily available and affordable solution that can save you money on professional services. Additionally, toothpaste is a mild abrasive, making it safer to use compared to harsh chemical cleaners.

However, toothpaste does have limitations. It may not be as effective on severely degraded headlights or those with deep scratches. In such cases, professional restoration might be required. Additionally, toothpaste is a temporary solution, and regular maintenance is necessary to prevent future deterioration.


When your car’s headlights start to lose their shine, don’t rush to the repair shop just yet. Toothpaste can be a surprisingly effective tool for cleaning and restoring headlight lenses. With a little time and effort, you can bring back the clarity and brightness, ensuring safer nighttime driving experiences.

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