The Best Headlight Cleaners 2022

Get your headlights looking like new again with these top headlight restorer kits.

The Best Product For Headlight Restoration
Headlight restoration kits can restore old headlamps for far less money than it would take to replace them.

If you’ve noticed your headlights starting to look a little foggy and yellow, it’s probably time to restore them. Sure, you could replace them, but that’s going to cost you a pretty penny. Or you could grab a DIY headlight cleaner kit and do the job yourself for a fraction of the cost.

You’re probably wondering ‘Do car headlight restoration kits really work??”.  Well, they sure do! The best headlight restorer kits include detailed instructions to walk you through the process so you know exactly what to do. With most car headlight cleaners, you can get the job done in less than an hour with just a bit of elbow grease (some require power tools). And after the job is done, you’ll be amazed by the shiny, clear condition of your car’s headlight lenses.

Here are some of the best headlight cleaning kits that we’ve found on the market:

Why you need a headlight cleaner

Driving with foggy headlights is not just annoying, but it’s also unsafe – because of the reduced light output which makes it harder to see at night.  So, what causes headlight yellowing and fogging? Usually, it’s just time and exposure to the sun. Also, sand, salt, and other debris can get into the plastic lens on your car’s headlight casing over time, causing a yellowish haze to form.

While it’s not always easy to fix your car’s headlights on your own, the best headlight cleaner makes the job much easier by providing everything you need in one place.

What to look out for when buying a headlight cleaner

When it comes to buying a headlight restoration kit, there are a few things you should consider. First, you will want to think about ease of use. Some headlight cleaner kits may require a bit of know-how, so you should know the steps and tools required for the task. For instance, if you are not comfortable working with power tools like a drill, go for headlights lens cleaners that require zero tools—just some good, old hand labor.

Second, consider the condition of your headlights before buying a headlight cleaning kit. It is not necessary to buy an expensive heavy-duty kit if your headlights are lightly oxidized. Similarly, using a one-step headline cleaner for heavily oxidized headlights will not give you the desired results.

Finally, make sure your kit has a UV blocker or sealant – more so if you live in desert climate areas. Here your headlights receive more exposure to sun reflections and low humidity, which leads to faster oxidation to your headlights.

Read also: Best Car Dashboard Cleaner and Polisher

Best headlight restoration kit reviews

Sylvania has been a trusted brand since 1901, and this headlight restoration kit proves why. This popular headlight restorer offers some of the best results compared to other similar kits. We like is that the package is fully equipped with all you need for the task. The headlight polishing kit follows a simple 3 step process. You start with the surface activator, which softens the polycarbonate plastic headlight lens in readiness for step 2 – sanding and polishing. The final step involves the application of the UV clear coat compound. In addition to being easy to use, this headlight defogger provides long-lasting results. It combines a strong formula with an excellent sealant that gives your headlights years of protection. For less than $20, you can restore the original look of your headlights.

What in the box: 1oz. surface activator; 1/2oz. clarifying compound; 1oz. UV block clear coat; sandpaper (400, 1000 & 2000 grit); 2 applicator cloths; 1 blue lint – free UV clear coat applicator cloth; gloves.

3M headlight restoration kit

3M Headlight Restoration Kit for Lens Cleaning

3M headlight restoration kit uses sanding discs with varying grits to let you work on light or mid headlight lens restoration jobs. But if your vehicle’s headlights need more extensive restorations, go for the 3M heavy duty headlight restoration kit. In addition to clearing oxidation off your headlights, taillights, and fog lights, you can also use it to buff out scratches and other imperfections on your headlights.  

The easy 3-step restoration process may take an hour or more to complete but the results are professional level – your headlights will be restored to like-new condition. 3M headlight restoration kit package includes an adapter to use the discs with a drill, sanding discs (500, 800, and 3000), polish and polishing pad. Use the provided masking tape to protect the paint surrounding the headlights. Clear-coat UV protectant not included, must be bought separately.

What in the box: 1 disc holder for household drill, 3M sanding discs (500, 800, and 3000), compounding pad, and 3M rubbing compound. Buy sealant separately.

Cerakote Ceramic Headlight Cleaner Kit

Cerakote Ceramic- Best headlight lens restorer

This non-drill headlamp restorer is an Amazon bestseller and a great option for light to medium headlight lens cleaning tasks. Its ceramic coating provides excellent protection against UV damage and it’s easy to use- each step of the headlight lens cleaning process is arranged into its bag for ease of organization. First, you’ll use the oxidization remover wipe over the dull headlights. Next, wet-polish the lens with a surface prep disc two times: once with 3,000 grit sandpaper and once with 2,000 grit followed by thoroughly rinsing and drying. Finally, swipe the clear coat wipe across then wait for it to dry out for at least one hour. Cerakote brand offers a limited lifetime warranty -meaning the headline cleaner’s ceramic clear coating won’t wash off. You have the option of one vehicle kit, two vehicle kit, or the pro pack (for detailing professionals). The only downside is that the kit does not come with everything you need.

What’s in the box: Oxidation remover wipes, surface prep pad, and discs, Cerakote’s pre-moistened ceramic headlight restoration wipes.

Turtle Wax Headlight Restorer Kit

Turtle Wax T-240KT Headlight Lens Restorer Kit

For light to moderate amounts of discoloration and yellowing, you can use the Turtle Wax headlight cleaner. This easy-to-use kit can get the job done in less than 20 minutes—and at less than $13, it’s a steal. However, if you are cleaning headlight lenses that are heavily yellowed or discolored lights may require a tougher brand. And, this headlight cleaner kit is safe for all kinds of lenses, including plastic and plexiglass, so go ahead and clean your rear lights and blinkers, too. The package has everything you need for the job, and the application is by hand or electric drill.

What’s in the box: Each headlight lens cleaner kit includes 3 restoration pads of various grits from 2400 to 8000 grit, Spray Lubricant (4 oz.), Lens Clarifying Compound (4 oz.), and Lens Sealing Wipe (4″x4″)

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Meguiars Headlight Restoration Kit

Meguiars headlight restoration kit - heavy duty headlight cleaner

If your headlights need some serious work, then Meguiars G3000 is the best headlight restorer kit to buy. It works on heavily oxidized or cloudy headlight and taillight lenses to restore them to like-new condition. Meguiars headlight lens restoration kit combines sanding and drill-powered polishing to remove major damage, then provides the protective coating to keep your headlights free from yellowing and discoloration for up to 12 months. This pack comes with everything you need for the job, including cleaning tools such as a wool pad and sanding pad, and finishing discs in two different sizes so that you can have different levels of results. You’ll need to put in some time and elbow grease, but the headlight lens restoration kit will transform your lenses. We like that this auto headlight cleaner has enough polish for multiple headlights and the application is by hand and an electric drill.

What’s in the box: 4oz PlasTX polish, 2.5oz G2402 headlight coating, wool pad
2 finishing discs, sanding pad, foam applicator pad.

Rustoleum Headlight Cleaner

No drill Rust-Oleum Headlight Cleaner Kit

Rust Oleum’s wipes offer a quick and easy way of cleaning headlight lenses. You don’t need any drills- simply clean and wet-sand the headlight lights using a foam that is included in the package. Then polish using the reverse side of the same foam. The final step is to use the Wipe-It cloth (also included) to seal the headlights and give them that shiny and clear look. Though the headlights lens cleaner dries within an hour, avoid exposing your car to moisture for 24 hours. Rust-Oleum claims this headlight restorer will protect the lenses through 100 car washes.

What’s in the box: The headlight polishing kit contains 1 Wipe-It packet, 1 headlight polishing pad, 1 microfiber cloth, 1 pair of gloves.

Chemical Guys Headlight Restorer and Protectant

Chemical Guys headlight restoration kit review

This all-in-one headlight restorer and protectant can turn your faded headlights into crystal-clear lenses in a matter of minutes. If you’ve got lightly faded headlights, simply rub on the headlight cleaner cream with a microfiber towel until the headlight turns clear – then wipe off. For tougher faded plastic, sand down with 2000 or 3000 grit wet sandpaper first, then restore with the Chemical Guys headlights lens cleaner. You can also use a power tool such as a polisher or drill for best results.

The car headlight cleaner comes in 16.0 Fl Oz, so you’ve got enough to restore multiple headlights if needed. But you’ll need to buy sanders and microfiber towels separately.

What’s in the box: 16.0 Fl Oz Chemical Guys auto headlight cleaner

Comparison Table of the Best Headlight Cleaners 2022

Cerakote Ceramic Headlight Restoration KitOxidation Remover Wipes, Surface Prep Pad and Discs,  Cerakote’s pre-moistened Ceramic Headlight Restoration Wipes (1 vehicle kit)$16.88
Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit1oz. surface activator; 1/2oz. clarifying compound; 1oz. UV block clear coat; sandpaper (400, 1000 & 2000 grit); 2 applicator cloths; 1 blue lint – free uv clear coat applicator cloth; gloves.$19.99
3M headlight restoration kit1 disc holder for household drill, 3M sanding discs (500, 800 and 3000), compounding pad, and 3M rubbing compound.$16.82
Turtle Wax Best Headlight Restoration Kit3 restoration pads of various grits from 2400 to 8000 grit, Spray Lubricant (4 oz.), Lens Clarifying Compound (4 oz.) and Lens Sealing Wipe (4″x4″)$10.99
Meguiars Headlight Restoration Kit4oz PlasTX polish, 2.5oz G2402 headlight coating, wool pad, 2 finishing discs, sanding pad, foam applicator pad.$24.88
Rustoleum headlight lens cleaning wipes1 Wipe-It packet, 1 headlight polishing pad, 1 microfiber cloth, 1 pair of gloves$9.88
Chemical Guys Headlight Restorer and Protectant16.0 Fl Oz Chemical Guys auto headlight cleaner$19.99

How to restore headlights

Here are some pro tips to keep in mind during headlight lens cleaning;

  1. Before you start working on your headlights, it’s best to protect the surrounding paint with a masking tape.
  2. If you follow the manufacturer’s directions and take your time, you’ll be rewarded with clear headlights. Remember that results may vary depending on the condition of your headlights.
  3. Water-spray the hazy headlights with water while you’re sanding them. But make sure they’re completely dry before applying the protective coating on headlights.
  4. Some of the best headlight restore products last up to three years before you have to reapply.

What Causes the Headlights to Discolour or Yellow?

UV rays from exposure to the sun, salty air from the ocean, dirt from the road, humidity – these are some of the elements that ruin your headlights. You can limit your car’s exposure to some of these elements but eventually, you will end up with discolored headlights.

Will Restoring Headlights Improve Visibility?

Yes. Well-restored headlights can improve illumination by up to 90% and improve your safety when driving at night.

Can Cloudy or Yellow Headlights Cause My Car to Fail Inspection?

Depending on the severity of the cloudiness, yes. This is because the cloudiness reduces your headlights’ light output. Diminished illumination is a road hazard, so it is a good idea to keep your headlights in good condition.

How Often Should I clean headlight Lenses?

Once a year is enough – unless your car is constantly exposed to extreme elements. Luckily, you can do this routine maintenance activity yourself using any of the above-mentioned car headlight cleaners.

If you live where your car’s exposure to the elements causes discoloration more often, then you may need to restore more frequently. Ultimately, keeping your headlights in top shape is cheaper than having to replace them.

Will Using A DIY Headlight Restore Kit Produce as Good A Result as a Professional Restoration?

Resurfacing your headlights using a good headlight restore kit can save you quite a buck. However, producing high-quality results will depend on the quality of your headlight cleaner. For best results, follow the instructions closely and be ready to put in the time and effort needed. Light to medium restoration tasks are good DIY projects, but for heavily discolored headlights, consider getting professional help.

Final Thoughts

While it’s not always easy to fix your car’s headlights on your own, the best headlight restoration kit makes the job much easier by providing everything you need in one place. Our top pick is the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit because it’s easy to use, has great results and a great value for its price point.

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