Sometimes us nerds have to go outside. To buy our comic books, cosplay material, or go see the latest superhero movie. Not to mention all those pesky jobs and classes. While some people can rely on public transportation to get them around other have personal vehicles. Now having a car can be awesome and give you a kind of independence nothing else in this world can, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. It’s certainly not cheap keeping a vehicle in good working order and the longer you keep a vehicle the less it’s valued but the more you need to work on it.
One problem every car owner eventually faces is the foggy headlight. This happens not because you hate going through the car wash, but because of wear and tear and oxidation. Your headlight is made out of a clear plastic and as time goes by it will get minute scratches and abrasions and the sun will take it’s toll on it too. This creates the foggy look and it can be a safety hazard when you’re coming back from a con and can’t see jack all of a sudden because your headlights are so dim.
Luckily, you can fix this. Now any auto store or mechanic can sell you a fancy kit or redo it themselves, but it’s going to cost you some money. Not a ton, but enough to make you think twice and probably put it off for awhile longer. I have found a home remedy though that works. What is it?
Yes, toothpaste. A cousin told me about this and I was dubious about it’s ability to actually work, but figured why not. The kind of toothpaste you get is important. You cannot use the gel kinds or even the ones that have a stripe of the gel in it. You cannot use tooth whitening ones or ones with the little ‘bursts of X’ in them. All of these will either render the product useless or actually scratch up your headlight more. You simply need to get the plain white toothpaste that is for cavity protection, any brand of that will do. I bought mine at a dollar store for you guessed it, a dollar. You will also need a rag or washcloth and a bottle of water. That’s it.
Before I show you the miracles of toothpaste I want to tell you WHY this will work. Toothpaste is a mild abrasive, meaning it’s formula is made to scrub something clean. Toothpaste is also made to be digestible, so it’s mild enough to not hurt your headlight. There are many things you could use on your headlights that are abrasive and will work, you need to make sure that it won’t harm it though. Bug spray also works, but it’s chemical compounds will actually microscopically melt the plastic, giving you that pretty shine but also weakening your headlight. Do that enough times and you’ll soon have to pay for an entire new headlight.
On to the cleaning now! First pour a bit of water on the headlight you’re working on and wipe away any surface grime. Then squeeze some toothpaste on your rag (I used a good bit, about 4-5 times what you would put on your toothbrush) and start rubbing a section of the headlight. I found a circular motion was best and immediately started quoting ‘The Karate Kid.’ Feel free to play that scene on your phone while you work.
I found I didn’t have to scrub that hard and it took only a couple minutes for each section to become clean. Once you have the entire headlight scrubbed, pour half of your water on it to rinse and wipe dry. This is what my rag looked like after finishing one headlight.
Repeat this process on the other headlight, using the rest of your water at the end. This entire process took me maybe ten minutes total. Afterwards you will have much brighter headlights! Don’t believe me? Look at mine I did just this morning.
Awesome right? Now this process isn’t perfect of course. The expensive treatment your mechanic can do/sell you will be better, but this is a much cheaper solution. Also the treatment will eventually need to be redone, depending on where you live, how much you drive and whether you keep your car in a garage or not will determine that. I drive pretty regularly and park outside so I have to redo mine every 3-4 months. Totally worth it to me, a poor nerdy girl, so I can spend my hard earned cash on more important things.
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