How to Clean Headlights with Lemon and Baking Soda

How to clean headlights with lemon and baking soda

Car headlights inevitably get oxidised and cloudy over time. The most common solution is to either replace the headlights or to use a headlight restoration kit – both of which are fairly pricey options. 

Instead, you can harness the natural cleaning powers of lemon and baking soda to clean your headlights at home. This inexpensive option uses the whitening effects of lemon and the abrasive texture of baking soda to remove the haze from headlights – leaving them clean and shiny. 

Table of Contents

Cleaning Your Headlights with Lemon and Baking Soda

1. Mix the juice of 1 lemon and 2 Tbsp (30 grams) of baking soda.

Cut open a medium-large sized lemon and squeeze it into a small bowl. Remove any pips and then add the baking soda. Stir the baking soda and lemon until combined – it should resemble a thin paste.

  • If you don’t have a lemon, a lime or orange will also work. 
  • This solution will clean 2 headlights.

2. Spread the lemon and baking soda solution over the headlights.

Use a polishing cloth to spread a thin coat over the entire headlight surface. Make sure not to leave any gaps. If the mixture is gluggy and difficult to spread, simply stir in more lemon juice and try again. 

  • If you don’t have a polishing cloth, a microfiber cloth or tea towel will also do the trick. 

3. Leave the lemon and baking soda solution for 5-minutes.

Make sure your car is in a shady spot (you don’t want the lemon juice to evaporate!) and then set a timer for 5-minutes. This gives the paste time to sink in and work its magic.

4. Scrub the headlights with a damp polishing cloth.

Start at the top and work your way down using a circular scrubbing motion. Don’t be afraid to use firm pressure – this helps to remove the oxidation from the headlights and restores their clarity.

  • If you don’t have a polishing cloth, a microfibre or soft cotton will also work.

5. Rinse the headlights with fresh water.

Remove all traces of the lemon and baking soda solution to reveal your shiny headlights. Make sure to thoroughly rinse the solution off the surrounding areas of your car to avoid damage to your paintwork. 

  • Use an old toothbrush to remove any paste that gets stuck in the cracks. 

6. Repeat as needed.

If it’s been a while since you last cleaned your headlights, you’ll most likely need to repeat the process a few times for the best results.

Simply reapply the solution and keep scrubbing until you’re satisfied with the result.

7. Apply a coat of wax to prevent further damage.

UV light causes headlights to oxidise over time, making them look cloudy. Rub a thin, even coat of wax over the headlights to protect the headlights from the sun. Reapply every 2-months to keep the glass/plastic looking clear and shiny. 

  • Headlight wax and sealant works best and will give longer lasting protection, however, general car wax will also work. 

Other DIY Methods

Cleaning headlights with orange and baking soda.

Cut an orange in half and coat it with a generous layer of baking soda. Use the flesh side of the cut orange to vigorously scrub the headlights in a circular motion. Keep going until the cloudy layer is gone and then rinse thoroughly with water.

  • For best results, repeat a couple of times.

Remove the haze with baking soda and toothpaste.

Mix equal amounts of baking soda and toothpaste into a bowl. Use a polishing cloth to apply an even coat onto the headlights. Scrub the paste into the headlights using firm circular motions. The natural abrasive properties of toothpaste and baking soda will help to get rid of cloudy headlights, leaving them clearer and brighter. Finish by rinsing the headlights with water and drying with a microfibre cloth.

  • For best results use a whitening toothpaste as this can help to remove the oxidation build-up.
how to clean headlights with toothpaste

De-fog headlights with lemon and salt.

Mix the juice of 1 lemon with 1 Tbsp (30 grams) salt in a bowl. Apply the paste onto the headlights and gently scrub it in using a polishing cloth. Keep scrubbing until the headlights look clearer and brighter. Rinse the headlights thoroughly and then pat dry with a soft cloth. 

  • To avoid scratching your headlights, use a fine salt. You definitely want to opt for table salt over a coarse Himalayan rock salt!
clean headlights with lemon and salt

Final Notes

The lemon and baking soda trick for foggy headlights is a game-changer if you’re looking to save some cash. To keep your headlights in tip-top condition, repeat the cleaning process every 3-months. 

Of course, make sure to visit your mechanic if your lights are still oxidised and aren’t functional. No amount of money-saving is worth risking an accident. 


Looking for more natural home solutions? Try our easy steps to getting rid of porch spiders.

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