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Can You Use Clay Bar on Headlights?


Whether you are doing commercial car detailing or you want to do it yourself (DIY), a clay bar is something that perhaps you have been wondering whether is effective or not.

You can use a clay bar on headlights whether they are made of plastic or glass. Clay bar is effective when it comes to cleaning foggy car headlights. It is also a simple task to use a clay bar and you do not need to be an expert in it to achieve the clarity that you want for your headlights.

I have been doing car detailing in my garage long enough to understand this. It is the simplest way among the methods of restoring foggy or oxidized headlights that I can recommend.

However, when using a clay bar on headlights, it is not enough to say whether you can use it or not. There are so many best practices that you need to take note of to avoid damaging your headlights in the process.

In this article, I will unearth all the tips and tricks to help you do it yourself.

What Makes Car Headlights Foggy or Yellowish?


With time, you will notice your car headlights turning foggy and yellowish. When this happens, it reduces the clarity of your headlights and you need to deal with it if you want to restore the original and clear headlights. Or to make them as if they were new again.

Oxidation is the cause of all this. If you are a student of science, you will understand that the polycarbonate lens when it gets exposed to the UV rays from the sun gets oxidized hence causing the cloudiness of the headlights.

Using Clay Bar to Restore Foggy Headlights

Among the many methods of restoring headlights, a clay bar is the simplest and most effective solution. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Get the Best Clay Bar

Not every clay bar is good for the headlights. You need a fine-grade clay bar that would not cause scratches to your headlights. This is especially if your car uses plastic headlights.

Step 2: Apply Soapy Water or Lubricants on the Headlights

This is the most important step before rubbing the clay bar on the headlights. Soapy water or lubricants help prevent scratching as you rub the clay bar on the headlights.

Tip: You should always remember that headlights are delicate and a clay bar without lubrication may cause scratches.

Therefore, to be on the safe side, you should apply more lubrication or soapy water.

Step 3: Rub the Clay Bar on the Headlights

After you have applied the soapy water or lubricants, now rub the clay bar to and fro along the length of the headlights.

You should rub the clay bar progressively back and forth until there is no more cloudiness on the headlights.

Tip: You can focus on one specific area at a time to ensure all the foggy matter is perfectly clean. Also, since you have enough lubrication, there is no need to worry about applying some decent amount of pressure when rubbing.

Step 4: Final Polishing

At this point, wash away all the contaminants with clean water and check if there is still a foggy area on the headlights. Apply soapy water again and clean the areas that are still cloudy.

Step 5: Wash with Clean Water or a Microfiber Towel

After the final polishing, wash the headlights with clean water. At this point, you should have achieved clear headlights without any cloudiness, as if they are new.

You can also use a microfiber towel to clean or wipe any residue that is left after cleaning.

An extra step

If you want to go the extra mile and prevent further oxidation of your headlights, you can apply the UV protector. This is because, if you leave it at that point, it will get oxidized again within no time.

Therefore, it is important to prevent oxidation and enjoy the clarity of your headlights that will last for years after restoration.

Some extra tips

  • I would recommend that while cleaning the headlights, it is important to keep your movements when rubbing in a straight line rather than moving in circles. Moving in circles may create some swirl marks on the headlights.
  • Also, it is advisable to clean the headlights or any other part of the car you are detailing before using a clay bar.

Will Clay Bar Remove Headlight Scratches?


The clay bar does not remove scratches on your car headlights. It is only used to restore foggy headlights but not to fix the scratches.

It is also important to note, even in the other areas of the car such as the paintwork, the clay bar still won’t remove the scratches but rather the contaminants and residues.

To remove scratches, you will need to apply a different method such as using an abrasive polish among other ways.

Clay bar and Plastic

As I have mentioned, you can use a clay bar on plastic or glass headlights. I have interacted with a lot of car owners who are afraid of applying clay bar to restore plastic headlights. Some of them are comfortable and even prefer using clay bar to other methods.

The fact here is that the clay bar works fine on plastic so long as you apply enough lubrication before scrubbing.

However, you should always check on the manufacturer’s recommendations on the clay bar that you want to use, whether it is fine for plastic headlights or not.

And of course, the clay bar works fine on all other exterior parts of the car as well.

Final thoughts

At this point, you should now be able to have known the safe side of using a clay bar on your car headlights, and how to do it the right way.

For emphasis, it is okay to use a clay bar on the headlights of your car but you need enough lubrication or soapy water before. Then after successful restoration, don’t leave it at that, you can go an extra mile and get a UV protector for your headlights.

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