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3 Quick Methods of How to Remove Scratches From Headlights By Yourself

How to remove scratches from headlights is a crucial question to answer. Many people encounter this issue! Here is how you solve it once and for all!

How to remove scratches from headlights is a heated and commonly discussed topic.

Did you know that scratched headlights become blurry, yellowed, and emit just 20% of the light compared to fresh ones?

Therefore, these annoying scratches affect your driving vision at night and potentially get you into trouble with the police.

So, if you notice scratches or blemishes in your vehicle’s headlights, let’s quickly remove them with the methods mentioned in this article!

How Difficult is it To Remove Scratches From Headlights?

Restoring your scratched headlights to their original state can be a daunting task if you lack the required skillset.

However, it is not too difficult to get rid of those blemishes from your car’s headlights.

Besides the skillset and required items mentioned below, all you need is patience.

Certain methods might take a long time before the removal effects kick in. However, be aware that not all scratches are removable.

If you encounter deep and severe defects on your headlights, instead of grinding your efforts and wasting your time, replacing them with a new set is a more reasonable solution.

how to remove scratches from headlights

Consider These 3 Aspects Before How to Remove Scratches From Headlights

Before executing the removal process, it is essential to understand the 3 following aspects.

Aspect #1: Necessary Time

Depending on the chosen DIY method, you may need a few minutes to an hour for a fully restored set of headlights.

Aspect #2: Required Items

Fill up your gearbox with the following items.

  • A bucket of soapy water
  • Latex gloves
  • Masking tape
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Sanding block
  • 400, 600, 1200, and 2000 grit sandpaper
  • Velcro plate
  • 3′′ foam or wool polishing pad

Aspect #3: Approximate Cost

Most methods in this blog belong to the DIY category. Thus, besides the little cost for required items, you are literally doing everything free of charge.

Step-By-Step Tutorials on How to Remove Scratches From Headlights

In this section, let’s dig into the practical knowledge of effective scratch-removal methods for your headlights.

Method #1: Use Sandpaper and Buffing

Using sanding and buffing is probably the most basic and straightforward technique to address your issue.

If you don’t want to fork out any money, take advantage of this free answer. All you need is some sandpapers and polishing compounds.

how to remove scratches from headlights

Here is how you do it:

Step 1: Washing Your Headlights

  • Before starting the restoration procedure, thoroughly clean your headlights with soapy water. Anything left on the surface may generate new scratches during the sanding and polishing procedure.
  • There is no need to use a glass cleaner since most headlights are constructed of durable plastic.
  • After that, rinse your lenses with a cotton towel to ensure they are entirely free of dirt.
  • Don’t forget to clean your headlights’ surrounding areas.
  • Once this area is dry, wrap it up with adhesive tape (instead of paper) to preserve the paint and the space between your headlights and the bodywork prior to the next step. Otherwise, you risk damaging your car’s paintwork.

Step 2: Sanding Your Headlights

  • To start, it is advisable to prepare two or three different grit sandpapers, from coarse to fine.
  • Soak the sandpapers in water. You should avoid using dry sandpapers at all costs since even fine-grit ones might result in additional scratches, causing you more harm than good.
  • Then, begin by wet-sanding the scratches with 600-grit sandpaper and then advance to 1200-grit and 2000-grit. This practice helps make those scratches smooth but not flat, so it doesn’t appear like you simply painted over your lenses.
  • If you have extremely hazy headlights, it is preferable to start with 400-grit sandpaper instead of 600-grit.
  • The ideal sanding technique is to use one sort of sandpaper vertically and the other horizontally. Avoid circular motions.
  • Refrain from sanding with your bare hand. Also, avoid rushing the process by using a sander. Instead, use a sanding block.
  • Always add water, as the friction from sanding generates a considerable amount of heat and can deform your headlights.
  • Occasionally stop and dry your headlights to assess their condition. You may continue sanding the lenses until they feel smooth to the touch.

Step 3: Wiping Down Your Headlights

  • After sanding, allow your vehicle headlights to dry for a few minutes.
  • Clean your headlights gently with a microfiber cloth.

Step 4: Buffing Your Headlights

  • Before completing your project, you will want to preserve the quality of your headlights for as long as possible. Buffing (or polishing) your headlight glass helps extend its life and prevent it from future harm.
  • Apply a polishing compound to restore your headlight’s shine. This process takes time and requires patience to attain the ideal effect. If you finish polishing in a matter of minutes, your task is not complete.
  • Utilize Chemical Guys Repair and Polish for polishing. These products help make it difficult for the covers to deteriorate again.
  • You may polish the plastic headlights with a 3′′ foam or wool polishing pad if you wish to do it yourself
  • Make sure to apply the polish on the pad before actually polishing, as this equipment gets significantly hot when rotating at high speed. The generated heat can deform your headlights.
  • Apply more polish and keep polishing until the headlights become clear.
  • Finally, seal your polished headlight with a plastic treatment agent. This product is available at any specialized dealer in automotive accessories. Make sure to confirm your purchases are compatible with your headlights.
how to remove scratches from headlights

Method #2: Utilize Toothpaste and Baking Soda

Certain household objects are extremely effective against scratches on your car lenses. Toothpaste and baking soda are no exception! With a bit of elbow grease, this method can buff away minor scratches.

Follow this step-by-step guide to applying this technique:

Step 1: Preparing The Appropriate Equipment

  • To remove scratches from your headlights, a good practice is to use “whitening” toothpaste. “Whitening” toothpaste is effective since it includes very fine, scarcely noticeable abrasives.
  • Mix 5 teaspoons of baking soda and enough warm water in a dish to create a paste.
  • Avoid using incorrect chemicals on your headlights, as they can generate minute imperfections that attract dust and corrosive substances much more quickly.

Step 2: Cleaning Your Headlights Thoroughly

  • Similar to method #1, it is a must to wash your headlights carefully before applying any cleaning technique.

Step 3: Applying The Paste and Toothpaste to Your Headlights

  • After washing your headlights thoroughly, use a sponge to apply the paste to the car headlights.
  • Use a dirt-free towel to polish your headlights in tiny circular movements.
  • Let everything sit there for around 5 minutes.
  • Complete the procedure by polishing the afflicted region with toothpaste on a towel and rinsing away the toothpaste residue. This procedure may be time-consuming when you are dealing with big areas.

Method #3: Rely on Headlight Restoration Kit

Relying on the headlight restoration kit is another simple solution to eradicate blemishes on your vehicle lenses.

Although this technique allows for less control than the two methods above, it is speedier and more environmentally friendly.

The process of utilizing the headlight restoration kit is pretty similar to that of method #1.

This section will illustrate how you do it with the Turtle Wax kit. Let’s pull off the task by doing the following procedure:

how to remove scratches from headlights

Step 1: Getting Your Headlights Properly Cleaned

  • As a rule of thumb, rinse soapy water over your headlights.
  • Then, mask off the areas surrounding your car lenses (fenders, bumpers) and pop your hood if it meets the edges of your headlights.

Step 2: Installing Your Equipment

  • Insert and tighten down the drill attachment on your hand drill.
  • Attach the sanding pad to the velcro on the drill attachment with a firm press.
  • Then, grab the clear spray lubricant and wet both the sanding pad and the headlights.

Step 3: Sanding Your Headlights Slowly

  • Start sandling at a slow speed, making sure you apply firm pressure so as to allow the sanding pad to remain fully in contact with the headlight lenses.
  • Remember to spray lubricant mix and periodically wipe away residue on your headlights, keeping the work area free of too much build-up.
  • Move-in back and forth motions across the lenses.
  • Repeat lubricating, sanding, and reviewing between passes until you achieve a uniform finish on the headlights’ surface.

Step 4: Applying Turtle Wax on Your Headlights

  • After the sanding process, apply Turtle Wax on your headlights.
  • Work with one small area at a time and polish the entire headlights twice to render the optimum scratch-removal effect.
  • Wipe away all residue with a clean microfiber cloth, ensuring the compound is firmly polished into the headlight lenses.
how to remove scratches from headlights

Importance of How to Remove Deep Scratches From Headlights

Remedies for removing scratches from headlights are essential as they help you avoid the abundant cost of replacing a new set.

Additionally, they effectively reintroduce the bright illumination you can only find on original headlights.

Getting rid of those blemishes from your headlights also safeguard you from on-the-road dangers.

Scratched headlights can block 90% of the emitted light, causing huge safety problems when driving at night or in the rain.

Plus, bigger fractures and scratches might result in unwanted light dispersion, raising the danger of blinding other road users.

They may believe you have turned on your high beam while, in fact, you are dispersing your low beam incorrectly due to scratches.

Thus, by merely removing scratches, your vehicle is no longer at risk.

Is it Worth Paying The Extra Money For Professional Sandblasting?

You will get what you pay for. The principle applies to relying on professional sandblasting services for eradicating scratches from your headlights.

If you are willing to invest the money, using this service brings about a plethora of benefits.

Firstly, you will get your issue solved in the blink of an eye.

By that, I mean your headlights will become new and shiny again in the quickest time possible.

Secondly, the professional will make sure your headlights are not only scratch-free but also well-polished with great appeal.

Last but not least, sandblasting is less wasteful as the process uses mainly non-toxic and recyclable materials, such as glass beads.

how to remove scratches from headlights

The General FAQs of How to Remove Scratches From Headlights

Congratulations on reaching this section. Here are some commonly asked questions to expand your knowledge on the topic.

Does Rubbing Compound Restore Headlights?

Yes, rubbing compounds can restore headlights. It may be more coarse than polishing compound, which is a gentler option you can use for your lenses.

What to Put on Headlights After Polishing?

After cleaning the lens, it is necessary to cover them with a clear coat for better protection.

A thin layer of carnauba wax is highly recommended. It applies well to headlamp lenses made of plastic or acrylic.

Does WD 40 Remove Scratches From Plastic Headlights?

Unfortunately, WD 40 is ineffective in removing scratches from plastic headlights. The product is used to lubricate and clean metal surfaces only.

Does Vaseline Remove Scratches From Plastic Headlights?

Yes, Vaseline is a flexible substance that can erase minor scratches effortlessly. However, be careful to apply it gently to the affected area.

Why Does Toothpaste Remove Scratches From Headlights?

Although labeled as non-abrasive, toothpaste still has a trace of abrasive material to effectively clean your teeth.

This abrasive component can buff away minor blemishes from headlights and smooth the surface easily.


Answering “how to remove scratches from headlights” reveals various remedies to fix your issue while successfully avoiding the high replacement cost.

All solutions are quick, economical, and so simple to follow.

I hope these solutions for removing scratches from headlights will save both time and money for those in need of assistance.

The result that these procedures bring about can surprise your family and friends.

Next time they come to your house, just tell them that you got brand new headlights as a joke! I bet most of them will fall for that fun trick!

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