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How to Clean Headlights with Bar Keepers Friend

July 23, 2020

Wanna learn how to clean headlights? You’ve come to the right place! If you’re someone who likes to do a lot of driving throughout the year, you know there’s nothing more satisfying than giving your car a good wash. The body and windows of your car are typically the first things that come to mind, but it’s also important to care for your headlights. Over time, the headlights of your car can accumulate film and become foggy – which can impact how brightly your lights shine.

While it’s important to change out your bulbs as soon as you observe dimming or flickering, it’s also important to clean the lens or headlight cover to ensure optimal shine while on the road. Learn here how to clean headlights:

Before You Start: Always test our cleaning products on an inconspicuous area before beginning any cleaning project. 

how to clean headlights - before and after image
BKF Fan Submission from Peggy L.
“Headlights on my 2001 Ford were yellowed. A bit of water and BKF and they are like new!”

Step #1: Wet the Headlight Lens with a Cloth or Sponge

First things first, you’ll want to lightly soak a cloth or sponge with water and apply to the lens you’re about to clean. Assuming the dirt and debris have been sitting on the lens for some time, wetting the surface will ensure it loosens the dirt enough to wipe away easily.

Step #2: Wipe Away Lose Dirt & Debris

Using the same damp cloth or sponge, gently wipe away the loosened top-level debris from the headlight lens. Should you find some debris more difficult to wipe away, re-dampen your cloth or sponge and wipe away a little more vigorously. If you’re still struggling, there’s no need to worry. So long as the majority of dirt is removed, any excess can be cleaned when you begin “defogging” your lenses.

Step #3: Sprinkle BKF on Headlight Lens

Once the dirt and debris have been sufficiently wiped away from the headlight lens, it’s time to apply our cleanser. For the purpose of cleaning headlights (modern vehicles typically use polycarbonate plastic), we recommend using the classic Bar Keepers Friend powder cleanser. Lightly sprinkle some cleanser (a little goes a long way) onto the surface of the headlight. Make sure that the surface is still wet.

Step #4: Rub Cleanser Gently Into Lens

Upon sprinkling the powder cleanser onto the wet headlights lens, you should see a paste begin to form. To make the paste more pliable, add just a little more water (and a little more cleanser if you desire). Once a paste has been created, you’ll want to grab a new cloth or sponge and gently rub the cleanser into the lens. Because some ingredients in Bar Keepers Friend may etch or dull delicate surfaces, it’s important to not scrub too hard. Keep rubbing until you notice that the lens is evenly coated in the mixture of water and cleanser.

Step #5: Rinse Thoroughly After One Minute

After the headlight lens surface has been evenly coated in the BKF cleanser, allow it to sit for no more than one minute. Once a full minute is up, rinse the headlight lens thoroughly with warm water. Continue to rinse (and wipe) until any residue from the cleanser is completely washed away and the surface of the lens begins to shine. If, for any reason, your headlights are still foggy after wiping down the lens and rinsing, we recommend repeating steps #3 for #5 and wiping a little more vigorously. 

Step #6: Wipe Dry to Reveal Clean Headlights

When your headlight lens has been thoroughly rinsed –  revealing a clear, gorgeous shine – grab a soft microfiber cloth and wipe the surface dry.  Now that your car’s headlights have been thoroughly cleaned, go ahead and test out the lights. We bet they look positively marvelous. 

Submit Your Before & After Pics!

Not that you’ve learned how to clean headlights, why not snap some Before & After pics when you finish your project? Submit your pics to us below and we’ll feature them on our website!

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