A cheap and easy way to make your car shine brighter is hiding in your bathroom. Whether you want to improve your safety on the road or impress a date, cleaning the crud off your headlights will improve your car’s appearance and utility. Instead of spending $200-$300 on a chemical cleaner, dig up your favorite brand of toothpaste. Your headlights will look new-car fresh and you’ll be much safer to drive at night.

How to Use Toothpaste to Clean Headlights

Toothpaste is chemically engineered to buff the surface of our teeth and remove the tough stains that cling to our enamel. Because of its composition, toothpaste also has many of the same effects on the highly-polished surface of car headlights. For the best results, choose toothpaste without flavor crystals and with a consistently smooth texture to avoid damaging the surface of your headlights. It’s really a simple process once you’ve got your tools. You’ll need your toothpaste, a rag, and some water for rinsing.

  1. Apply Toothpaste to Headlight

Use the toothpaste to cover the area you wish to clean on your car’s headlight. You can apply directly to the surface or apply the toothpaste to your rag first. Cover as much as possible, but avoid rubbing toothpaste into your paint job.

  1. Rub in Circular Motion with Rag 

Gently rub the toothpaste in a circular motion with your rag. You should start to notice results almost immediately, but make sure to cover the entire area of your headlight before finishing. The toothpaste will fill some of the cracks and scrapes on your headlights, but it will not fully remove physical damage from weathering.

  1. Rinse 

Using a spray bottle or another damp rag, rinse the toothpaste off your car. It may take several rinses to remove all the residue, but it will be immediately clear that your homemade solution has provided the effects you want. The clarity of your headlights should be improved for up to four months, at which point you can repeat the process.