DIY: How to Polish Headlights with Toothpaste

Difficulty Level

Tools/Supplies Needed:

• toothpaste
• spray bottle with water
• lint free cloth
• wax and lint free cloth


• be sure the wash your vehicle or at least the front of your vehicle to ensure there will not be any debris contaminating during the polishing process
• using your choice of toothpaste, apply it to a lint free cloth
• spray the headlight with a mist of water if it dry, this is for lubrication and increase a finer polish
• rub the toothpaste using the lint free cloth into the light, ensuring you get the whole surface of the lens
• use vertical and horizontal directions, as well as circular patterns
• apply more toothpaste and water when needed
• when satisfied, rinse the front of your vehicle off with water
• make sure the lights and area around is dry, then apply wax to increase the shine and protect the lights over a longer period of time

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

How long will this method last for?

This will be dependant on how much driving you do per year as well as your climate. I have found this method to last about a year.

How often should I reaplly the wax?

The wax should be applied twice a year to help protect the surface and prevent hazing.

Video Tutorial on how to polish your headlights with toothpaste. This method does actually work, but it can be very work intensive compared to my other method of wet sanding. This works similar as to applying a polishing compound because toothpaste does contain an amount of grit/abrasive material. If you do have any stone chipping or heavier scratches in the headlight, toothpaste will not remove that as this method takes the contour of the light surface. Wet sanding on the other hand does remove more material and skins over the surface taking down any high spots. Your choice of wax can also be applied in the end to protect the lights over a longer period of time and give them a deep shine. Toothpastes that contain more of a grit/abrasive feel tend to work better than the types that don't. The outcome of the final product will depend on how much time you are willing to spend, what type of toothpaste you are using, and what the severity of the hazing on your headlights is. This will also work on other lights around the vehicle such as fog lights, parking lights, and tail lights. This process will last for almost a year until they need to be revisited again (when applying a protective layer of wax). This particular tutorial was done on a 1997 BMW 540i.