DIY Headlight Polishing Grinder

4 ways to polish your car headlights to a shine with your own hands

By using a well-chosen headlight polish, the car owner removes microscopic damage and scratches from their surfaces that reduce the luminous flux. This procedure ensures a flawless appearance of the car and guarantees traffic safety.

Popular manufacturers

When selecting materials to return transparency to the car lanterns, one of the key criteria is the manufacturing company.

Convenient sets, including grinding and polishing discs, paste, and masking tape, are offered by 3M. If you have the necessary materials, you can easily restore damaged lights.

A good result can be obtained from the high quality Runway headlamp polishes. The paste is made without silicone. It is easy to apply and thoroughly removes minor scratches from plastic surfaces, and also removes yellowness.

Self-polishing of headlights with your own hands, performed with GOI Norma paste, which is offered by Archimedes, allows you to remove damage from plastic and glass. It is recommended to start work with the highly abrasive variety, marked under No. 4, and then gradually move on to paste under No. 1, which contains the smallest particles.

Willson kits, complete with an abrasive cloth, a headlamp polish cleaner recommended for plastic surfaces, and a sponge, help to get high-quality polished lights.

Effortlessly removes haze from automotive headlamp surfaces with Hamann’s WowPolisher.


Among the available and inexpensive options, the use of toothpaste for polishing headlights is distinguished.

In order not to damage the plastic, whitening types of paste are excluded, since abrasive particles are included in their structural formula. The method of application is simple: the mass is applied to a soft textile napkin and rubbed into the surface in a circular motion. The remaining traces of the paste are washed off with clean water.

How to polish

To polish the headlights with your own hands, the following materials and accessories should be prepared:

  • spray;
  • clean water;
  • microfiber wipes;
  • polish;
  • a set of sanding paper with various grain sizes (P600-P2500) for plastic or a glass sander;
  • masking tape.

To briefly highlight the preparation stage, it should be noted that it is important to first wash the lanterns with detergents in order to remove dust and accumulated dirt, and also degrease them.

Than to polish

The process of returning headlights to auto transparency includes two sequential operations. First, the surface is sanded to remove dirt and damage, and then polished.

It is after applying the headlight polish that they will acquire the necessary smoothness and shine. Therefore, you need to know how to polish the headlights of a car with your own hands. For this purpose, at home, they use pastes, polishes, as well as folk compositions in the form of, for example, toothpaste.


With fairly deep damage, the headlamp planes are polished with sandpaper. To ensure the desired degree of cleanliness and smoothness, you should select sanding paper with a grain size in the range of P600-P2500.

For the initial deep sanding, take the coarsest sandpaper, P600. Gradually, the grain size decreases and the last movements are carried out with the finest-grained paper. P2500.


Car headlight polish products on the automotive market are mainly divided into the following two groups:

  • With a matting effect. Polishes of this variety are used to restore transparency to glass that has received minor damage.
  • With varnished effect. These products are recommended when deep scratches or serious damage to the factory finish are found on surfaces.
  • Among the assortment of polishes, there are varieties focused on the restoration of old car lights and ensuring their protection during subsequent operation.

How to polish your headlights with your own hands

Before starting work, the driver determines which glass polishing technology he will use. Will it be cleaning by hand or using a grinder.

It is required to determine by yourself what material the automotive optics is made of. If the headlight is polycarbonate, use a plastic cleaner, if the headlight is glass, use glass.

Determine the degree of surface damage. In rare cases, you can polish the part with a special shampoo. But this is not even surface grinding, in the literal sense, but just washing. Shampoos remove dirt, can remove surface oxidation, but are powerless against deep scratches. Used for preventive cleaning once a month.

If you develop the habit of washing special headlights. shampoo every two weeks using a protective spray for polycarbonate headlights, you can never face the task of special polishing and grinding automotive optics.

Why you need to carry out systematic cleaning

It is recommended to polish car headlights at least once a year. After buying a new car, the light transmission capacity of the node decreases by 25-30% after 18 months, this reduces visibility when driving in the dark. In addition to the discomfort experienced by the driver, poor road illumination can lead to an emergency. In addition, the clouding of the optical device due to oxidation occurs unevenly, this leads to the fact that it is difficult for the driver to objectively assess the distance parameters on the night road.

Due to dirty and cloudy headlights, the appearance of the car suffers. And, conversely, the modest “Nine” looks quite presentable if all the lighting equipment is polished to a shine.

The headlights can be polished at almost any service station or you can carry out the assembly procedure yourself, choosing professional means of removing oxidation and scratches, or using the advice of professional auto mechanics. The procedure should be carried out if:

  • Diffuser is yellow or cloudy.
  • Small scratches are observed.
  • Deteriorated road lighting.

Types of polishing and what is needed for this

The scatterer is restored in three stages:

Before you start polishing the headlights with your own hands, you need to assess the degree of contamination of the lens surface. So you will choose the right products and will not spend money on unnecessary purchases.

No need to apply protective varnish or spray to glass diffusers. This procedure is only required for plastic parts, as polycarbonate headlights have a protective coating that can break down during the sanding process.

Features of self-polishing plastic

When polishing a plastic headlight with your own hands, it is important to remember that polycarbonate is a soft material that, unlike glass, is subject to high temperatures. If slightly overheated, the headlight may darken.

Therefore, even when cleaning in a workshop, you should insist only on manual polishing.

The use of coarse sandpaper quickly removes the protective layer of plastic, it is better to use fine sandpaper or auto chemicals.

Grinding with diamond paste

If you are grinding glass surfaces with your own hands, it is best to use diamond paste.

Cleaning the headlights with sandpaper is appropriate if the part has significant contamination and a dense oxidation layer. In this case, fine-grained skins are used.

Grinding machines with fine-grained abrasive nozzles are most often used in service stations, mechanical equipment grinds the surface in a few minutes. The glass part does not change color and transparency under the influence of high temperatures, you can not be afraid to set the tool at high speeds.

A feature of diamond pastes is that during operation, fine particles that make up the active substance remove microchips from the surface of the part that appear during processing.

Diamond pastes have a wide classification: liquid and solid, have different degrees of saturation with abrasive particles, and are removed from surfaces either by solvents or by water. To polish a glass headlight you need:

  • Use “X” grade diamond paste, which is washed off with warm water and does not lend itself, or “E” grade, which can be washed off only with a solvent.
  • Choose the optimal grain size of the paste (12 types in total).

Choosing three tubes of paste is considered a good option for grinding a glass headlight with your own hands:

  • For rough grinding. class “P” (high concentration of grains).
  • Pre and final polishing. class “H” (medium concentration).

Cleaning is carried out using felt or felt cloth, you can use skin flaps. A small amount of paste is evenly applied to the surface of the headlamp, and sanding and polishing is performed in a circular motion. Depending on the grade of the paste, wash off the waste solution with a solvent or water.

Polishing with toothpaste

Some drivers offer a fun way to polish the headlights yourself at home using toothpaste. This is a fairly effective method of cleaning polycarbonate lenses if there are no deep scratches or strong oxidation on the part.

This method does not require the purchase of expensive auto chemicals and takes up to ten minutes.

Toothpaste polishing takes place in several stages:

  • Apply toothpaste evenly to dry part.
  • Use a circular motion to clean the surface with a foam sponge or a thick cloth (better with a mat, burlap).
  • Wash the part with warm water, removing the remaining paste.
  • If the diffusers are polycarbonate, apply a layer of protective polish. This will add extra shine to the detail.

It is not recommended to use pastes with a whitening effect. In addition to small abrasive particles, which, in comparison with sandpaper, correspond to the parameter 3000 grit, the paste may contain larger components.

When polishing with toothpaste, you may not additionally protect the body.

How to protect your headlights after polishing

To protect the headlight, use a film, varnish or spray. All these products are used only for polycarbonate parts. An exception is film, it can also be glued to a glass surface.

The average life of the film is up to 12 months. A protective layer of acrylic clear varnish protects the headlight for up to a year. With secondary manual polishing, the protective layer of varnish will be removed, and the surface of the part will remain of high quality for longer.

Polishing with sandpaper

For polishing glass headlights, sandpaper of low abrasiveness is selected, at least 1500 grit. The glass has a hard, dense surface, using a tougher material for initial grinding will waste time, and new scratches will have to be polished.

Grinding a plastic headlight with your own hands is quite simple. If only sandpaper is used, you may not additionally protect the body with tape. The procedure takes place in several stages:

  • Optics are cleaned with car shampoo.
  • Sandpaper is taken with an abrasiveness of 400 grit, and grinding is performed in a circular motion on a wet surface.
  • Grind the headlights gradually, changing the emery, reaching the paper with an abrasiveness of 2500 grit.
  • The surface should be wetted all the time.
  • You can additionally soak the emery in water for 5-10 minutes before grinding.
  • After the procedure, you can use a protective spray or varnish.

If there are no deep scratches on the headlight, you can start polishing with 1000 grit abrasive emery.

Polishing glass headlights with diamond paste

Working with glass headlights is harder. A layer of polycarbonate is much easier to remove than one millimeter of glass. Conventional polishing agents cannot help in such cases. It is best to use diamond paste. Its name is due to the fact that it contains small grains of diamonds, no more than 2-3 microns.

Glass can be polished either by hand or with power tools. It is also necessary to monitor the surface overheating. Before using diamond paste, try sanding or regular toothpaste. They can also fix some glass defects, which is much easier and cheaper.

Work with diamond paste should be carried out after cleaning the surface from contamination. Apply the funds to the surface of the headlight and start rubbing it with a sponge. Gradually, you can notice an improvement in the appearance of this part of the car. Polishing should be done until the headlight shows no signs of any damage.

Features of headlight polishing

For everyone who is looking for an answer to the question of how to polish the headlights with their own hands, it will be useful information about what rules generally exist for performing this work and the features of the effect on certain types of headlights with certain substances and materials. Depending on this, one or another polishing effect will be achieved.

First of all, before grinding the headlights, you need to protect the surrounding parts of the car from this process. The hood, fenders or bumper can often be damaged if not secured. Grinding from them can remove both the top layer of varnish and chrome plating.

If it is impossible to remove the headlight from the car, it is best to stick masking tape around its perimeter. For greater reliability, you can use several layers of this material.

You can see how to protect the car before polishing on this

Various amounts of substances are used as a material for polishing, among which the following are the most popular:

  • abrasive pastes;
  • protective sprays;
  • microfibre napkins;
  • sandpaper of various fractions;
  • regular toothpaste;
  • diamond paste;
  • grinder, etc.

You should also assess the degree of damage to the headlight before work. The choice of the method of its elimination will directly depend on this. Scratches, haze, streaks and chips can be repaired in a variety of ways, each of which is most effective only in a specific case. The question of how to polish all types of headlights cannot be answered unequivocally, since, for example, plastic is significantly different from glass.

For glass headlights, it is best to use diamond paste, while plastic is well polished with sandpaper and alternative substances. You can also work on the glass with sandpaper, but this should be done as carefully as possible.

Headlight polishing with toothpaste

The most popular means of polishing car headlights, if funds are limited enough, is a regular toothpaste. You should not choose any special products. you can just use the one that is in the driver’s bathroom.

Despite the fact that the paste is intended for cleaning enamel, it works well for both plastic and headlight glass. Its regenerative function has been known for many years, so there is no need to argue with the effects it brings. At the same time, there are certain features of the use of this substance.

In case of serious damage in the form of deep scratches, toothpaste will not help. The effect of this oral hygiene product on glass is minimal, but it is also present. Since the paste is quite cheap, it can be applied beforehand before other polishing methods.

The most effective toothpaste is in the fight against clouding and yellowing of the plastic surfaces of car headlights. In this case, the way of working is quite simple:

  • Buy a paste and squeeze its contents onto the surface of the headlight, after wiping it.
  • Rub the substance over plastic or glass.
  • Rub with a napkin.
  • Wash off the paste after improving the appearance.
headlight, polishing, grinder

There is no easier and cheaper way to deal with minimal headlight damage.

For an example of polishing the headlight with toothpaste, see this

Polishing with purchased auto chemicals

The following list of actions is as follows:

  • Insulating the surrounding elements of the vehicle with masking tape.
  • Cleaning the surface of the headlamp from dust and dirt. Large specks can leave marks on glass or plastic.
  • Applying the purchased paste and lightly wiping the entire surface with it. This action is best done with a napkin. The substance in the paste has a revitalizing effect. As the work progresses, you can increase the onslaught slightly. Wipe the headlights in this way for 10 to 20 minutes.
  • After the plastic has become more transparent, clean it from the paste with a napkin or a stream of water.

After all the above steps, the headlights should become much newer in their appearance. It is best to then use a special protective spray and rub the surface with a microfibre. You should choose a cleaning agent with a weak effect so that its components cannot damage the headlight.

Grinding machine

Using a sander, you can polish your headlights at home in exactly the same way you would manually polish your headlights with sandpaper. All stages of work are similar to each other. Only the polishing speed differs.

The sander must be adjusted in a special way so that it does not damage the headlight. It is necessary to select the most minimum rotation speed. First, you need to use P1000 emery material, which has a larger fraction of grains, then go to P2000 and finish work P4000.

Each stage of work with a separate sandpaper should often not exceed 2-4 minutes. After that, be sure to use a paste and various protective sprays that clean and protect the surface of the headlights. After them, you can apply regular polishes and gloss products.

By hand

It is necessary to select several different types of it with different size of the fraction. You will need paper from P600 to P2500. The work must be carried out in the following order:

  • The top layer of polycarbonate of the headlight surface is best removed with the coarsest sandpaper. P600. It will be enough to remove just a few microns.
  • The surface of the headlamp or the sandpaper itself must be constantly treated with water. This is necessary so that microcracks from overheating do not form. If this happens, you will need to buy a new part.
  • Worn gruel-like material should be removed from the surface at all times. This will allow you to immediately evaluate the work performed, and also prevent the occurrence of new damage from the remnants of the headlight surface.
  • When the top layer is removed, you need to notice the sandpaper on the one with a smaller fraction of the grains. Continue changing the material as the headlight surface is cleaned until paper B2500 is the finest.
  • After sanding, be sure to go to polishing. To do this, it is best to use the highest quality commercially available paste, if it is not available, use toothpaste.

It is important to remember that sandpaper is a fairly rough polish and is used to repair damage. Therefore, after it, work should still be carried out with other substances. At the end of the polish, you can use various polishes, cleaning agents, etc.

Polishing with sandpaper

If the damage to the surface of the vehicle headlights is deep enough, then they should be polished with sandpaper.

How and what to polish the headlights with your own hands at home

Any car owner is quite careful and careful about his vehicle. That is why many motorists are trying to find a lot of ways to take care of their car. Most often they are interested in how to polish the headlights at home. For this, both cheap improvised and purchased rather expensive means can be used. The result of such actions is not only an aesthetic function, but also allows you to increase the degree of traffic safety, since headlights at night are an indispensable device.

General recommendations

Headlights are polished in several stages. Their number directly depends on the depth of damage to the material. Small scratches can be dealt with with a special paste, in the presence of medium damage, use sandpaper, and deep scratches must be processed with a grinder.

You need to prepare for polishing the headlights. For this you need:

  • Wash the headlights. Working with a clean surface is easier and more pleasant, but the main purpose of cleaning is different: all damage will be clearly visible on clean headlights. For cleaning, you can use detergents or a vinegar solution. After that be sure to wipe the headlights dry.
  • Use masking tape. They need to paste over the surfaces located around the headlight so as not to accidentally damage them during the polishing process. It is imperative to ensure the protection of the sealing gum, since the abrasive or polishing agent easily destroys them.
  • If necessary, the internal polishing of the headlights must be removed. In other cases, dismantling is not required. polishing is carried out on site.

Transparent acrylic copes well with protective purposes. It should be applied to a polished surface in 2 layers. This should be done from the bottom up. Acrylic is applied neatly, but at such a speed that it does not have time to dry.

When polishing your headlights yourself, you need to take into account several recommendations:

  • There are several types of polishing paste. It differs in the degree of abrasiveness and the material for which it is intended. When buying, you must consider both points.
  • You can purchase a special repair kit, which includes all the materials necessary for polishing.
  • If there are deep cracks and chips, you need to fill them with a special polymer. You can start grinding after it has completely solidified.
  • It is necessary to use masking tape to protect surfaces. If you replace it with regular tape, then removing the material can damage the paint. Sometimes it is advised to use electrical tape, but there may be clear traces of it that will have to be cleaned off.
  • Work with rubber or vinyl gloves.
  • Rags are used at various stages of work. You need to choose linen or cotton material.

DIY polishing is economically beneficial. It’s not only about saving on car service services, but also about the reusable use of purchased materials. This applies to both polishing compounds and attachments.

Polishing medium scratches with sandpaper

For medium scratches on the headlights, use sandpaper. You need to prepare material with different grain sizes. The roughest paper should be marked P800 and the least grit marked P2500. You should prepare at least four types of material.

For a high-quality result, polishing with sandpaper must be carried out in a certain way:

  • It is better to polish the surface with small square pieces of material.
  • You need to sand with horizontal movements.
  • Work begins with sandpaper with the greatest grain size, alternately replacing it with material with lower indicators.
  • Polishing with each new sheet should be done perpendicular to the direction chosen in the previous step. This technique is more effective.
  • When changing each sheet, it is necessary to clean the surface to be sanded, otherwise particles falling on it will leave new scratches.
  • It is necessary to constantly wet the surface to be treated with water in order to facilitate the work carried out and reduce the time spent on it.
  • Finished with sandpaper P2500, designed for the finest sanding and polishing.
  • The treated surface must be cleaned with plenty of water. This removes the smallest abrasive particles.
  • Finishing polishing is recommended to be done with a special machine. To obtain a perfect surface, a special paste of three degrees of abrasiveness is required. Each requires a separate polishing wheel to apply.

Watch the video tutorial on how to properly sand and polish your headlights with sandpaper:

Is it possible to polish car headlights yourself and how to do it?

Polishing deep scratches with a sander

If there is deep damage to the headlights, a sander will help to correct the situation. Instead, you can use a drill with the appropriate attachment, but the number of revolutions must be adjusted for the tool, otherwise the headlight can simply be completely damaged.

A special set of attachments is available for the sander. They are circles with Velcro fasteners. All nozzles differ in grain size, usually from 600 to 4000. This kit should contain instructions. Depending on the manufacturer, there may be differences in the information provided.

When using a sander to polish the headlights, proceed according to the following algorithm:

  • Primary processing. It is performed with the coarsest nozzle, usually with an abrasiveness of 600. It is at this stage that all irregularities are removed, so the movements should be smooth. Do not press hard on the surface to be treated, otherwise it may crack or burst.
  • The working side of the circle must be periodically cleaned of abrasive particles, as well as the surface of the headlight.
  • You can avoid an abundance of dust by regularly wetting the circle with water.
  • Processing with each nozzle should be carried out within no more than 3 minutes. While the abrasive particles are washed off the headlight, it will have time to cool down. If you need to work with one nozzle longer, then you need to periodically take breaks so that the surface to be treated does not get too hot.
  • After processing the headlight around with the smallest grain size, the surface must be rinsed with water. This is necessary not only to remove abrasive particles, but also to check the quality of work. If the surface is polished with high quality, then the water will drain along it, as if it were greased.
  • Final polishing can be done without using a sander. A lint-free cloth or special napkin is enough.
  • Apply varnish.

Features of polishing glass and plastic headlights

Working with plastic is easier. It is easier for him to pick up materials, and if you need to clean only from plaque, you can use improvised means, for example, toothpaste.

The disadvantage of plastic lies in the possibility of damage at high temperatures, which occurs at high speeds of the grinding machine. This must be taken into account when choosing an abrasive paste, since some compounds must be applied at a high speed of the device.

Headlights made of plastic need to be polished more often, as this material fades faster and is more susceptible to external influences.

Glass polishing requires the use of special materials. It can be GOI paste or a special abrasive composition based on diamond dust or ceramics.

Glass headlights should be polished on their own only in case of minor damage, when it is necessary to work only with the top layer of material. For more serious problems, it is better to contact a specialist in a car service.

Polishing small scratches with a special paste

If there are small scratches, use a special paste for polishing. It differs in the degree of abrasiveness. It is best to use a variable speed sander to apply the paste. Apply polishing material with wheel attachments of different hardness.

They act according to the following algorithm:

  • The first treatment is carried out with a paste of the highest abrasiveness. To apply it, they resort to a hard polishing wheel.
  • At any stage, the paste must be applied to the surface of the headlight. Applying compound to a polishing wheel is a common mistake.
  • Before surface treatment, the polishing wheel should be slightly moistened with water. This technique is necessary to prevent the paste from drying out and maximize the adhesion of the circle to the surface to be treated.
  • Polishing should be carried out at low speed so that the surface to be treated does not heat up. If this condition is not met, then small cracks may form. In this case, all the work will have to start over.
  • After finishing polishing with the most abrasive paste, rinse the treated surface thoroughly with water. The product must be completely removed from the headlight. After rinsing, wipe the surface with a soft microfiber cloth.
  • For polishing with a medium-grit paste, use a medium-hard polishing wheel.
  • At the end of this stage, the surface must also be thoroughly rinsed and wiped dry.
  • Finishing polishing should be done with great care. The quality of the paste used, the moistening of the polishing wheel and the low rotation speed of the machine (up to 1000 rpm) are important. For final polishing, take a minimum amount of paste.
  • The last step is to apply polish.

If there is no damage and you only need to return the headlights to their original transparency, then you can do all the work by hand. For this, use a fine-abrasive paste. After surface preparation, it is applied in a circular motion with a rag. Then the surface is washed, wiped and treated with polish.

You can polish the headlights yourself, following a certain algorithm and rules. It is important to prepare all the necessary materials, taking into account the material from which the headlights are made. If such work is carried out for the first time, then you should check the polishing technique on a similar unnecessary part or surface.


First, you need to glue with masking tape all the parts adjacent to the headlights so as not to damage them during the cleaning process. Sandpaper is selected with a grain size from 600 to 1000. It is better not to use any more, otherwise the processing will turn out to be rough, and there is a possibility of damage to the surface.

Next, we carry out stripping, constantly wetting the paper and headlights with water. Start with maximum grit and work down to minimum grit to smooth the surface. After that, treat the headlights with shine using a soft sponge.

DIY headlight polishing. how and how to properly polish the headlights at home (100 photos)

Any car owner sooner or later faces the problem that the lanterns began to illuminate the road less brightly. A simple rag will not help here, you need to polish the headlights. How and why we will figure it out in this article.

  • Why polish
  • What you need for polishing
  • House polishing
  • Sandpaper
  • Toothpaste
  • Abrasive paste
  • Grinder
  • Glass
  • Cleaning from the inside
  • DIY headlight polishing photo
  • Grinder

    Car headlights can also be polished using a sander.

    The first step is to degrease the surface and glue the surface with masking tape to avoid unnecessary damage. Sandpaper is applied first coarse, gradually reducing the grain.

    Each type of paper takes approximately three minutes. Remember to constantly wet the sandpaper with water. The next step is to use a sander using a foam rubber wheel.


    House polishing

    Do-it-yourself headlight polishing at home can be done in several ways.

    Why is it necessary to polish

    First of all, polishing improves the appearance of your car. It also helps to improve the quality of lighting and restore the original brightness. Good polishing ceases to blind the drivers of oncoming cars and removes small chips and scratches.


    Glass headlights are quite rare nowadays. Almost all cars are now equipped with cheaper plastic headlights. There are several important features when polishing glass.

    Be sure to use a transparent polymer that can be cured with an ultraviolet lamp. It will help fix small chips and scratches. For the polishing itself, you can use abrasive or toothpaste, but toothpaste will not give a good result.

    Abrasive paste

    Read the instructions for use on the packaging. Grinding will take about an hour. Apply the paste to the surface, brush and wipe off any residue.

    As you can see from the above examples, there are three ways to polish headlights without a typewriter.