Clouded headlights may be the only thing standing between you and a sparkling Volvo. But what causes cloudy headlights, and how do you clean them?

Why do the Headlights Become Cloudy?

While the polycarbonate plastic on most headlight lenses is robust to take abuse from various road conditions, the sun’s UV rays have a way of getting to them. The UV protective film on the lenses wears off over time, leaving the headlights at the mercy of oxidation.

They become yellowish or start to haze over. But this is not something worth fretting over. There are a few DIY headlights cleaning tricks up the sleeve you can use to restore the sparkle on your headlights.


Cleaning the Headlights

  1. A headlight restoration kit from your local automotive store will do the magic on your headlights, which is the main idea. The kit typically includes grits of dry/wet sandpaper, UV sealant, paste wax, and polishing compound. You can add microfiber towels and a roll of blue painter’s paint to the list.
  2. Use car soap to thoroughly clean the headlights and the surrounding areas where you will stick the tape. It is imperative that you only sand the headlights and nothing else. The painter’s tape you use to block off the headlights protects the surrounding car paint from accidental scratches.
  3. Start with the most abrasive sandpaper, usually the 1000 grit. Wet it and sand in straight horizontal strokes without changing the direction. Keep the surface wet using a spray bottle to prevent grit accumulation, and don’t be in a hurry. Careful sanding and attention to detail will determine your success level.
  4. Repeat the sanding with less abrasive sandpapers in a diagonal motion and an opposite diagonal motion on the final sanding. Wipe off and dry the headlights.
  5. Squirt some polish on the microfiber towel and apply it to the headlights in circular motions and then wax them like you would other parts of the vehicle.
  6. The final step is to apply a UV sealant to replace the other one you sanded out. Wet a paper towel and use the compound in sweeping strokes.
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