Clean Headlights With WD40: Does It Really Work?

Rumors say you can clean headlights with WD40. A lot of information out there makes you feel vague about the actual function of WD40 for your headlights and some drivers consider WD40 as a magic fix to a foggy headlight. What is the truth about WD40? Is it really effective? Let’s find the answer in our article:

Somethings You Need To Know About WD40

Let’s find some myths and fun facts about WD40. This is a product of the famous brand Rocket from America. WD40 (WD stands for water displacement)  has been on the market since 1953 and is now selling very well around the world. The formula of WD40 is composed of hydrocarbons along with low-volatile lubricant molecules. When sprayed onto surfaces, these hydrocarbons evaporate and leave behind an oily layer. The main function of WD 40 is anti-rust for all surfaces, especially metal. In addition to anti-corrosion, this fluid also has the effect of lubricating, cleaning, and moisture-proofing all surfaces. Some main features of WD40:

  • Water dispersant: Dehumidification, quickly dries electrical circuits, and prevents short circuits. Used for switches, control circuits, machines, starters…
  • Cleaning agent: Clean and remove dirt. Dissolves adhesives, making it easy to remove stuck materials such as bolts and screws.
  • Penetrate: WD-40 penetrates strongly through the smallest gaps, breaking down the rusting structure.
  • Rust Inhibitor: Apply a virtual layer to protect the metal surface from rust. Applicable to all metals, aluminum, tools, electrodes, etc.
  • Lubricant: Lubricates and restores smooth transmission, limiting friction noise. Applicable to flywheels, shafts, gears, bearings…
diy headlight restoration
The main function of WD 40 is anti-rust for all surfaces, especially metal (Photo:

Does It Really Work To Clean Headlights With WD40?

Car headlights have the important task of illuminating and enhancing visibility. Over time, car headlights will gradually be hazy and be scratched due to not being cleaned for a long time. In addition, headlights are also considered one of the most easily oxidized parts in a car. This leads to yellowing and reduced lighting, affecting the driver’s vision as well as endangering life. Therefore, to optimize lighting and ensure safety, we need to clean the headlights periodically.

There are many methods and cleaning solutions you can choose to make the cleaning process like toothpaste, soap, or baking soda…However, many drivers assume that spraying WD 40 can take your car’s headlight lenses from dirty to clean so “Does WD40 clean headlights?” The WD 40 can clean your headlights but it’s just a temporary fix and this product doesn’t have the effectiveness to restore the headlights.

Although WD40 has the key responsibility of preventing rust, this product is still used for cleaning. WD40 is quite effective when used to remove old stains, dirt, residues, and adhesives… That’s why this product is also used to clean and refresh all surfaces in industry and agriculture. But we want to make it clear that the last result of using WD 40 for your headlights will depend on what you expect this product to do.

If you want to remove the rust on the bolts or screws holding the headlights, WD40 may work well because WD40 is the type of water dispersant and a solvent, it will remove the rust quickly. However, when the headlight lenses are foggy or hazy, using WD 40 can make your headlights shiny for a start but its effectiveness won’t last too long because the main ingredient of WD 40 is kerosene. It will quickly evaporate and at that time your headlights will become as they were. And the better method in this situation is you should restore the headlights with the DIY headlight restoration kit or replace the headlight lens with a new one. 

>> Read more: A Guide to Installing Automatic Headlights in Older Cars

How To Clean Headlights With WD40: Right Steps To Do

In some situations, the other methods are not available but you want to have a refreshed look or brighter temporarily for your headlight so you can use WD40. And we will make a step-by-step to give you simple process to help you apply the WD40 in some emergency circumstances. 

cleaning headlight lens
Cleaning headlight lens with WD-40: Is it really work? (Photo:

Step 1: First, you should cover the tape of other parts around your headlights to protect them from contact with the cleaning solutions.  Clean the headlight surface thoroughly with water and a soft towel, especially in the corner to remove any dirt that accumulates on the headlight cover. After that, don’t forget to let your headlight completely dry before starting with the next steps

Step 2: In this step, you need to wear gloves and glasses to avoid your skin from touching the chemical compound from WD40 because it can have some potential risks. 

Step 3: Before using WD40 for the headlight cover, you should shake the spray to make sure the compound of WD40 is mixed well. 

Step 4: Spray gradually the WD40 on all the surfaces of your headlight. You should be careful to not apply this solution to other areas that are wrapped up in plastic or rubber because the hydrocarbons in WD 40 can break down the chemical structure of the plastic. 

Step 5: Wait about 5 to 10 minutes, after that use the microfiber cloth to wipe off the WD40 and now the process is finished. Of course, your headlight will be much better but as we said the result will not last long.

>> Related post: Why Are Headlights Flickering While Driving

Final Thoughts

There are many debates about the benefit of using WD40 for your headlights however if you want to use this cleaning product, you should be careful and should consult trusted mechanics. If you decide to apply WD40 for quick polish, you only should wipe it on the headlight’s surface and don’t let them leak inside your headlights because it can cause damage to the light bulbs.

Don’t be mistaken! WD 40 can be a good product when applied to other things like aluminum, or metal on the car part due to its anti-corrosion and lubricant but it doesn’t recommend when to use it for headlights.

Using this product too much to clean can probably make your headlights turn yellow and haze. To wrap up this topic we want to share with you that don’t just wait for your car’s headlights to get dirty before you start cleaning. You should clean your car’s headlights at least once a month. That way, you don’t let stains build up and get worse over time. Without regular cleaning, it will be harder for you to remove dirt if the lamp has been neglected for a long time.