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VIDEO: How to REALLY Defog your Plastic Headlamps

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A month or so ago, John Goreham posted a story on using bug spray to defog your headlamps, and mentioned a few alternate methods of getting it done. We’ve heard of people using all kinds of stuff to try and get rid of they haze on their plastic headlights, and it either doesn’t work, or only works until the next time it rains. In this video, we’ll show you a method that not only works, but stays working, and that you can repeat whenever you need to.

We used a foggy headlight off of a 2002 Nissan Altima. It’s got some haze to it, but its not completely white like some headlamps we’ve seen. This process will clean up headlights like that, too, but it’s going to take a few more steps with more aggressive — say 600 grit — sandpaper.


From there, it’s just a matter of working your way up through progressively higher grades of sandpaper. We sanded up to about 1500 grit, but you can go well beyond that to get your headlamps as scratch ¬†and fog-free as possible.

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Don’t get hung up on what kind of polish you’re using either. Any kind of polishing compound, aluminum wheel polish, or cleaner wax will work.

We didn’t use any exotic materials, and ended up with a much clearer headlamp than we started with ten minutes earlier.

A few things to keep in mind:

This only works with PLASTIC headlamps. If your headlamps are glass, like the ones used in 1980s-era Mercedes-Benz cars, you won’t have success with this process.

You don’t have to remove the headlamp. Just mask off the area around it to protect the paint. We didn’t have a foggy headlamp handy, so we grabbed this Altima lamp at the junkyard.

You can’t really go wrong. As long as you step up through grades of sandpaper, you really can’t mess this process up, and if your headlamps are foggy and scratched, you can’t really make them worse.

Let us know how you make out.

Craig Fitzgerald

Craig Fitzgerald

Writer, editor, lousy guitar player, dad. Content Marketing and Publication Manager at

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