Friday, March 21, 2014

"Crunchy" headlight defogging

We drive a completely paid off Mazda Protege that I bought brand in 2003.  My baby.  We have taken good care of it and it is a great car!  But... it is starting to show its age.  I have been thinking that my night vision is getting really bad because I have a hard time seeing while driving at night, but, after further consideration, I think it may just be time to de-fog the headlights.  They have gotten pretty cloudy, indeed.

After our last road trip we decided it might be time to do something about this.  The car wash place where we go offers this service for $45.  My hubby did some research and found out he could buy the supplies on e-bay for around $20.  We live on a budget (see my post on Nerd vs Free Spirit) so I didn't really like the idea of spending all this money to restore our headlights, even though it now seems to be a safety issue.  Hubs and I were talking and he offered that maybe toothpaste and baking soda would accomplish the same goal (I love my crunchy guy!).  I did a little research and found a lot of "home remedy" articles agreeing with him!  I took my research and his idea and we set to work (which means he did all the work and I got out the camera- thank you, honey!)

First, I went around the house and collected some toothpaste samples.  We use "crunchy, hippie" toothpaste, and I didn't want to "waste" it on this project.  Plus, all the recipes call for a white paste, and not a gel or anything else.  We (my husband and 4 year old son)  squeezed out all the paste into a bowl and mixed with baking soda and water to form a thick paste.  We then filled a separate bowl with water for the rinse and collected some old rags, a sponge and a toothbrush.  Ready to rock!

The basic process is, apply paste in circles like a wax, then rinse with damp cloth.  Repeat until you are happy with the results.

This first step took a whopping 5 minutes for one light and definitely made a difference (though I'm not sure you can tell it in the picture.)  But, I had also read that you could follow up with a vegetable oil polish for extra shine, and our 4 year old volunteered to apply the oil, in circles with a cloth.  Definitely improved things even more!  (Side note: we do NOT cook with vegetable oil, very bad for you, and I did not buy this oil, inherited it and it has come in handy for a few projects around the house...)

End result: shinier, more clear headlights ready to light our path!  We still need to take off the light covers and do the same process on the inside to get the full effect, but for a 15 minute 2 cent fix, I'd say job well done!  Yay for crunchy home remedies that work!  (And yay for hubby who gets as excited about this as I do!)  Let me know if you try this out, and if you have a crunchy home remedy that I should know about.  = )  Happy crunching!


  1. My wife is so cool! We love doing things the "Crunchy" way. I tend to think of it as just old school. I was raised by farmers in the South.