Maintenance Tips, Tricks And Hacks For Your Vehicle

How To Clean Headlights With WD40




It happens to everyone. The dreaded foggy headlight. Not only do they look ugly, but a severely hazy headlight can reduce visibility by 50%.

With reduced visibility by 50%, you are risking your safety, and the safety of other drivers, and you can get a ticket from the police. Luckily, foggy headlights can be cleaned very easily.

Did you know that you can clean your headlights with WD40?

Before I tell you my trick about cleaning the headlights with WD40, let’s see what makes your headlights foggy.

This article contains:

    Key Takeaway

    Step No.ProcedureKey Point
    1Clean your headlights with waterEnsure there’s no dirt or small rocks on the headlights that can cause scratches. You can use a pressure washer or a simple water hose.
    2Wipe your headlights with a towelAfter spraying, wipe the headlights with a clean cloth or paper towel. The surface needs to be dry for the next step and any stubborn dirt should be wiped clean.
    3Sand your headlights with Sandpaper (600)This optional step can help with very foggy headlights. Start sanding in a corner to see how it turns out.
    4Spray your headlight with WD40Apply WD40 on the headlights and leave it for 1 minute. Note: WD40 has a shelf life of 5 years. Older products might not give desired results.
    5Wipe your headlight with a clean towelUse a clean towel to wipe off the WD40. If your skin is sensitive to chemicals like WD40, use gloves. Continue wiping until you’re satisfied with the clarity of the headlights.
    6Check the final resultIf the headlights are not as clear as expected, repeat the process. Consider using a lower grit sandpaper if necessary.

    What Makes Your Headlights Foggy

    • Oxidation: Over time, exposure to sunlight and UV rays can cause the protective layer on your headlights to oxidize, leading to a foggy appearance.
    • Dirt and Debris: Accumulated road dirt, dust, and other debris can scratch and erode the surface of your headlight lenses, resulting in a foggy or hazy appearance.
    • Moisture: If the seal around your headlights is damaged or compromised, moisture can enter the headlight assembly. This condensation can cause the headlights to appear foggy.
    • Heat Damage: The heat emitted by your car’s headlights can cause gradual damage. Over time, this heat can distort the plastic of the headlight lens, making it look foggy.
    • Chemical Exposure: Headlights exposed to chemicals from things like car washes, air pollution, and bug sprays can degrade, leading to a foggy appearance.
    • Age: Simply put, older headlights are more likely to become foggy or cloudy due to natural wear and tear over time.
    • Poor Quality Materials: Headlights made from lower quality materials may fog up quicker than those made from higher quality, more durable materials.

    How To Clean Headlights With WD40

    This is how to clean your headlights with WD40 and restore them to the original clean look just by following the 6 steps below:

    1. Clean your headlights with water

    How To Clean Headlights With WD40
    1. Clean your headlights with water.

    Before you start, you need to make sure that your headlights don’t have any dirt or little rocks on them which will cause scratches as soon as you start wiping with your towel.

    So, spray your headlights with water. It’s better if you have a pressure washer, but even a simple water hose will do the trick.

    2. Wipe your headlights with a towel

    How To Clean Headlights With WD40 - Step 2. Wipe your headlights with a towel
    2. Wipe your headlights with a towel.

    After you spray your headlights with water, it is important to wipe it with a clean cloth or towel paper. The headlight’s surface needs to be dry for the next step.

    Also, probably there would be stubborn dirt on the headlights that built up over the years so make sure you wipe it clean.

    3. Sand your headlights with Sandpaper (600)

    How To Clean Headlights With WD40 - Step 3 Sand your headlight with a Sandpaper 600
    3. Sand your headlights with Sandpaper (600).

    This step is optional, but I recommend it. I wrote 600 grit, but you can use higher grit than that. It all depends on how foggy your headlight is. I always start sanding in a corner just to see how it will turn out.

    4. Spray your headlight with WD40

    How To Clean Headlights With WD40 - Step 4 Spray your headlight with WD40
    4. Spray your headlight with WD40.

    Spray your headlight with WD40 and leave it for 1 minute. Please note that WD40 has a shelf life of 5 years. You might not be happy with the results if you use WD40 older than 5 years. WD-40 Original Formula, Multi-Use Product with Smart Straw Sprays 2 Ways, 8 OZ [3-Pack]

    5. Wipe your headlight with a clean towel

    How To Clean Headlights With WD40 - Step 5 Wipe your headlight with a clean towel
    5. Wipe your headlight with a clean towel.

    Make sure that you use a clean towel or any of the steps above will be for nothing. If your skin is sensitive to chemicals like WD40, please use gloves.

    Wipe the headlight until you are satisfied with the look. If you followed the previous steps, you should be able to see a clean headlight in 15-20 seconds. Get a Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, Non-Abrasive, Reusable and Washable, Pack of 144, Blue/White/Yellow, 16' x 12'

    6. The final result

    How To Clean Headlights With WD40 Final Result
    6. This should be your result.

    If this is not your result, please do it all over again. Maybe this time you should try sandpaper with a lower grit.

    What Is WD40

    WD-40 is a popular multi-purpose product that’s primarily known for its lubricating properties. The name WD-40 stands for “Water Displacement, 40th formula”, indicating that it was the 40th attempt to create a product that displaces water, prevents rust, and provides lubrication.

    The product is essentially a blend of various lubricants. It’s designed to penetrate parts that are stuck together (like nuts and bolts), provide a protective layer against moisture and rust, and reduce friction in moving parts. It can also be used to clean certain surfaces by breaking down tough stains and grime.

    While often termed as a lubricant, WD-40 is actually a solvent with some lubricating properties. This means it’s excellent at breaking down rust, dirt, and other substances that might cause parts to stick together, but it’s not necessarily the best choice for long-term lubrication of high-stress parts.

    In addition to its mechanical uses, WD-40 has found a place in everyday household use, helping with tasks ranging from removing sticky residues to silencing squeaky hinges. However, it should always be used with caution, especially around certain types of plastic and rubber which it can potentially damage says WD40 UA.

    How To Maintain Your Headlights Cleanliness

    Of course, there are some ways you can maintain your headlights to delay these negative effects.

    One of the simplest ways to make sure your headlights don’t turn foggy is by simply parking your car in the shade. I know that it’s not possible to always find a parking space in the shade, but if you can choose from a parking space with shade and without shade, make the smart choice.

    This way you will keep your headlights from the UV light. I bought a car cover a few months back, and I am more than happy with it. BMW Genuine Factory OEM 82111470377 3 Series E46 Sedan Coupe M3 Convertible Outdoor Car Cover 1999-2005

    How To Maintain Your Headlights Cleanliness
    How To Maintain Your Headlights Cleanliness

    Your second priority to maintain your headlight’s cleanliness is washing your headlights with automotive soap at least every three months.

    If you are washing your car at the local car wash, you don’t know which kind of soap they are using. It could be a good one, or it could be a bad one.

    That’s why it’s important that you wash your headlights with a decent soap every 2-3 months. I bought mine Armor All Car Wash Soap by Armor All, Foaming Car Wash Supplies, 64 Fl Oz

    How To Maintain Your Headlights Cleanliness
    How To Maintain Your Headlights Cleanliness

    The last thing you need to do to maintain your headlight cleanliness is to make sure you’re polishing your headlights with a polish and a microfiber cloth to get any of the yellowing. I use the headlight restoration kit from 3M. You can 3M Headlight Lens Restoration System, 39008, 1 Kit

    How To Maintain Your Headlights Cleanliness

    Is WD-40 Good For Cleaning Headlights?

    Yes, WD-40 is a great product for cleaning headlights. It breaks down the dirt, grease, and grime that can accumulate on your headlight lenses over time and restores clarity to plastic and glass surfaces.

    To clean your headlights with WD-40, simply spray it onto the surface of the lens or use a cloth soaked with it.

    Then wipe away any residue using a soft cloth or paper towel until the entire lens is shiny and clear.

    As an added bonus, WD-40 also helps protect against future oxidation and discoloration of plastic and glass surfaces by providing a protective coating.

    All in all, it’s an ideal choice for keeping your car’s exterior looking its best.

    Does WD-40 Restore Plastic?

    Yes, WD-40 can be used to restore the appearance of plastic in some cases. It can help clean and polish surfaces, making them look fresh and new.

    WD-40 Specialist Silicone Lubricant, a specific product from the WD-40 range, is particularly praised for its ability to restore worn plastic surfaces back to their original condition.

    It’s also useful for protecting these surfaces against elements like humidity, rust, and corrosion.

    However, it’s important to note that not all plastic surfaces react positively to WD-40. For instance, it’s not recommended to use WD-40 to restore faded plastic as it can contaminate rubber seals and potentially damage certain types of plastic.

    Always test the product on a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure it’s safe to use on the material.


    Q: What is WD40?

    A: WD40 is a multi-purpose lubricant and water displacing spray that is used for various household and automotive applications.

    Q: How does WD40 clean headlights?

    A: The solvent properties of WD40 help to dissolve and remove the dirt and oxidation on the surface of the headlights.

    Q: What materials do I need to clean headlights with WD40?

    A: To clean headlights with WD40, you will need a can of WD40, a clean cloth, and a sponge or soft brush.

    Q: How do I clean my headlights with WD40?

    A: Firstly, spray WD40 directly onto the headlights. Then, using a cloth or sponge, scrub the headlights in a circular motion to remove the dirt and oxidation. Finally, wipe off any excess WD40 with a clean cloth.

    Q: Can I use WD40 on plastic headlights?

    A: Yes, WD40 can be used on plastic headlights. However, it is advisable to test it on a small area first to ensure compatibility.

    Q: Will WD40 damage the paint of my car?

    A: WD40 is generally safe to use on car paint. However, it is advisable to avoid spraying it directly onto the paint and to wipe off any excess WD40 to prevent any potential damage.

    Q: How often should I clean my headlights with WD40?

    A: The frequency of cleaning your headlights with WD40 will depend on various factors such as the environmental conditions and the level of dirt and oxidation. It is recommended to clean them as needed or at least once every few months.

    Q: Can I use WD40 on other parts of my car?

    A: Yes, WD40 can be used on other parts of your car such as door hinges, locks, and wheel wells for lubrication and rust prevention.

    Q: Where can I buy WD40?

    A: WD40 is available in most hardware stores, automotive stores, and online retailers.

    In Conclusion

    In conclusion, WD-40 can be a handy tool for cleaning foggy or dirty headlights.

    The process involves spraying a generous amount of WD-40 onto the headlights, letting it sit for 5-10 minutes, and then wiping it off.

    This can effectively loosen and remove grime and buildup, restoring clarity to your headlights.

    However, it’s important to remember that WD-40 should not be used as a long-term solution for headlight restoration.

    Overuse could potentially damage the lens material, and care should also be taken to prevent the product from entering the headlight assembly.



    Vide Polowenski, Senior Mechanic

    The information in this article is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest mechanic SOPs.

    Please take the time to leave a comment if this article has helped you in any way, you need additional help, or you have a suggestion.

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