How to clean headlight with wd-40

How to clean headlights with WD-40

Headlights have advanced from the 60’s stock sealed glass beam to modern halogen, HID, and LED polycarbonate plastic headlight lenses. This advancement is good and cost-effective, but there is a downside. The chemicals used in the production of these polycarbonate plastic lenses react to UV lights, moisture, sun rays, and heat. With time, these reactions will cause the car headlight to degrade and become foggy or yellowed in appearance.

Yellowish headlight discoloration can be frustrating, especially when you’ve just paid the auto detailing guy a $150 on your last car wash. This continuous expense is inconvenient to most car owners and has paved the way for other DIY methods to headlight restoration like WD-40. Before we dive in on how to clean headlights with WD-40, let’s take a close look at WD-40 and see why we should try the product and if it’s good for our headlamps. 


what can do with wd-40

The WD-40 brand is known for offering a very wide and diverse range of services that may help to clean foggy headlights. On the market, the product is popular and mostly purchased for its effective headlamp restoration and anti-rust properties.  

WD-40 stands for water displacement, 40th formula – signifying the 40th time the product was tried in the lab before success. It was originally developed to prevent space missiles from rusting or corroding. But recently, the product has been found useful on many other surfaces like metal, rubber, wood, and plastic. It can be applied to painted metal surfaces without harming the paint.

Although WD-40 is multi-purpose in its function, others believe it is best to use it alongside other real lubricants like silicone, grease, Teflon, or even graphite. It is said that these combinations can serve as a headlight lens restorer and effectively defog headlights.

Uses & features of WD-40

WD-40 is one of the most popular abrasive products for a quick fix that provides sparkling results on different surfaces. Hardy will visit a garage and not see a WD-40 product sitting in the corner.  Apart from using it to prevent rusting, it is also very useful for a variety of purposes and reasons. 

You can use it to lube almost any surface including farm implements like shovels, with an application of WD-40, it cleans all the stuck-on soil right off. It can also be used to clean tiles and give it that sparkling and shimmering look. 

The test of a good product is in its ability to deliver, and this product has proven to be effective on a variety of surfaces. 

Can WD-40 be used to clean foggy headlights?

first step to clean headlight with wd-40

In case you have an upcoming car test, and you are wondering if you can quickly defog your headlights for approval, the answer is yes! It can be used as a car headlight cleaner. However, you shouldn’t make WD-40 a habit for your headlight restoration as it could cause more harm than good in the long run. 

If used repeatedly, the oil can leak into your actual headlight bulb and cause them to blur or burnout. This is why it’s advisable to wash off the lubricant with mild automotive soap as soon as the fog is gone. 

How to apply the WD-40 for car headlight restoration

first step to clean headlights with wd-40

To defog your headlights using WD-40 as your headlight lens restorer, follow these easy steps: 

  1. Get a bowl of water and soap handy
  2. Wash the headlight lens thoroughly with the water and soap
  3. Shake up a can of WD-40 
  4. Spray into the headlight lens making sure to keep the lubricant away from the metals on the car, spray only on the lens
  5. Carefully wipe off the lubricant with a clean rag. 

However, like every other product ever on the market, the Wd-40 has several sides its coin:


  • Effective in removing dried stains on certain surfaces
  • Easily accessible 
  • Relatively affordable 
  • Can be used on more surfaces than just headlights
  • Easy to use. 


  • Not a real lubricant in a sense.
  • It can only be used on certain surfaces.
  • It can cause permanent damage if used wrongly.

As hinted earlier, irrespective of the fact that WD-40 appears to be a great headlight polisher, some critics think otherwise. 

Why is WD-40 not good for headlights?

Some would agree that using WD-40 as a car headlight cleaner is the most effective method. Some would object to the claim. However, after putting the WD-40 to the test, we found out that the major downside is on its durability. 

After using WD-40 to defog car headlights, the effect only lasts for about a day or two, and your car headlights go back to looking cloudy. This temporary fix only shows that the WD-40 is mainly a polishing tool rather than a headlight restoration product.

But when applied on other surfaces like tiles, metal, wood, ceramic, and aluminum, the WD-40 can be very effective and durable when used. This explains why the product is so easily accessible and popular in the market because it is more of a universal product and can be easily utilized for other purposes.


Although numerous articles and videos are out there explaining why WD-40 is a magnificent product for cleaning foggy headlights, you should use it carefully. 

If you are going to use the WD-40 for a quick fix and polish, you must spray only on the outer layer of your headlight lens. You mustn’t spray it inside the headlight to avoid permanent damage to your car light bulbs. 

For a more permanent solution, I would recommend using a headlight restoration kit . Although not all garages offer to defog headlights, you can buy a DIY car headlight restoration kit and do it yourself during the weekend. 

Most of these DIY car headlight restoration kits come with a simple step by step instruction. The tips will guide you from start to finish even if you haven’t done a headlight restoration before. 

Like this article? Share it with others!
More on our blog
How to test headlight relay
Car Headlights

How to test headlight relay

Automobile headlight systems are only marginally more sophisticated than your home’s light switches, despite how intricate they may seem. The electrical circuit between your home’s […]

Read More…

Read More »

Table of content

click on the flag to change language please.

Russian spanish German French Italian Arabic Japan Philippines Romanian Moldova Turkey Portuguese Portuguese netherlands swedish vietnamese Finnish Bulgarian Greek