How To Clean Your Car's Headlights With Vinegar And Baking Soda

Your car's headlights are at the front of the body so their illumination can shine as far ahead of your view as possible. Unfortunately, that front-facing position makes your headlights a magnet for all kinds of drive-time ickiness, from dead bugs to kicked-up dirt to exhaust residue. If you leave all of that assorted crud on your headlights, they'll become obscured and fogged, diminishing the strength of their light, and leaving you alone in the dark on a foggy night.

Luckily, the solution to this is exceedingly simple – just clean the lights! If you visit your local automotive store, you can buy a variety of professional-grade headlight cleaning solutions and kits that'll get your headlights shining like new. If the fancy stuff is outside of your budget or you can't make it to the automotive store, though, there's another excellent option hidden in the back of your pantry. You can clean up those headlights with good old baking soda and vinegar. It's not just for making little volcanoes anymore!

What you'll need

Cleaning your car's headlights with vinegar and baking soda is a classic D.I.Y. project. The entire process can be accomplished with tools and products you can find lying around the house.

First and most obviously, you'll need a box of baking soda and a bottle of vinegar. The specifics of the baking soda aren't important, but for the vinegar, you're going to want distilled white vinegar, the kind you get from the cooking aisle at the grocery store. You should also get out the measuring cups from your kitchen to measure out the ingredients, as well as a small bowl for mixing stuff.

In addition to the stars of the show, you'll also want a bucket of clean water, some car wash soap (dish soap works, too), and a couple of microfiber cloths. While it's not required, if you happen to have a spray bottle for the water, it'll make rinsing a little bit easier.

Cleaning your headlights

With all the materials assembled, it's time to clean off those headlights. You might want to put some rubber gloves on, as this could get a little messy.

  1. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe off any surface-level dust or dirt on your headlights.

  2. Clean the cloth, then soak it in a mixture of soap and clean water.

  3. Use the soaped cloth to wash both of your headlights. Let them sit for a couple of minutes to dry off.

  4. In a clean bowl, combine two tablespoons of vinegar with one tablespoon of baking soda and stir to create a thick paste.

  5. Dip a fresh microfiber cloth into the paste and rub it into both headlights, taking a couple of minutes for each light.

  6. Let the paste sit for a few minutes to dry.

  7. Once the paste is dry, spray it with clean water to rinse it off and let the headlights air dry.

  8. Repeat steps 5-7 until the headlights are clean.

With a bit of time and elbow grease, your headlights should be sparkly and clean. Remember to clean your headlights at least a couple of times a year to keep them in good condition.