Headlight Lens Cleaning

Our most popular forum is for Citroën problems, discussions and chat.
Specialising in AX, BX, ZX, Xantia,C5, Xsara, Saxo and XM. CX, 2cv & Berlingo, all are welcome.NOT for selling cars/parts!

Moderator: RichardW

Posts: 68
Joined: 24 Nov 2010, 22:35
Location: In the garage!
My Cars: Xsara 2.0HDi 90
x 2

Headlight Lens Cleaning

Post by dave_xsara » 03 Jan 2018, 14:21

As I'm tidying the Xsara up, the headlights need to get some attention.

I've done a search on here for headlight cleaning, but nothing has come up - so if this has been discussed before, please point me to the thread.

The lens for the headlights are what I would consider cloudy. The front of the bonnet is peppered with road debris, so I the lens would not have escaped abuse.

I've been looking into the methods shown online for cleaning the lens. Some recommend a kit which has a head attachment (i.e. 3M) and other recommend using various decreasing coarseness of sandpaper by hand to achieve the same outcome. The main thing to take from the things is that it is wasted effort if the UV film/protector is not applied immediately afterwards.
I suspect that the drill attachment would not be overly useful on the curved Xsara lens.

Has anyone done this previously on a Xsara and what method did they use?

User avatar
Donor 2016
Posts: 230
Joined: 14 Sep 2008, 11:05
Location: South Yorks
My Cars:
x 8

Re: Headlight Lens Cleaning

Post by hirsty » 03 Jan 2018, 16:24

:) Depending on severity, I have always used Brasso. Several applications may be required.. :)

98 Xantia Mk2 2.0 16v Auto Exclusive 160k + Now gone to Citroen Heaven
2004 C5 Mk 1 2.0 8V VTR Estate - current. Now with leather.

User avatar
Donor 2016
Posts: 9500
Joined: 28 Mar 2013, 22:05
Location: Somset my lovleee
My Cars: Citroen C5x7 Exclusive Tourer
Xantia V6 ACTIVA 3ltr 24v Manual p1
Daffodil the AX
ZX Volcane 2ltr petrol
V6.Activa donor car
x 543

Re: Headlight Lens Cleaning

Post by Stickyfinger » 03 Jan 2018, 16:42

Curved lens/covers and not a problem as you can move your wrists.............
The ACTIVA, as logical as cubed tumble-weed


User avatar
Posts: 340
Joined: 07 Aug 2010, 11:15
Location: Berkshire
My Cars: Peugeot 406 GLX
Mercedes C270
Mercedes SL320
(In the past,just about every Peugeot you can think of.)
x 14

Re: Headlight Lens Cleaning

Post by Oldpug » 03 Jan 2018, 18:03

I`ve used normal cutting paste(like T cut) and an electric polishing mop. It worked a treat on various models that have failed an MOT on poor beams.

User avatar
Posts: 1010
Joined: 29 May 2017, 13:50
Location: Reading
My Cars: 2008 C4 Grand Picasso 1.8 16v VTR
2008 Peugeot 107 5-door
2006 Yamaha YBR 125 - for sale! Ideal learner bike
2002 Suzuki SV650S in bright yellow
x 188

Re: Headlight Lens Cleaning

Post by Michel » 03 Jan 2018, 18:07

I used a 3M kit on a C1, a 207 and a C5 MK1, All of which have curved and odd shaped lights. Worked really well.
May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.

User avatar
Donor 2016
Posts: 2563
Joined: 17 Nov 2014, 00:36
Location: Milton Keynes
My Cars: 1989 Saab 900i Auto
1996 Citroen Xantia Activa
1975 AC Model-70
1985 Sinclair C5
1993 Lada Riva 1.5E Estate
x 170

Re: Headlight Lens Cleaning

Post by Zelandeth » 03 Jan 2018, 18:09

T-Cut or Brasso worked wonders on the Cappuccino (only car I've had so far with the issue), think Brasso was slightly more aggressive.

Be very careful if using a power polisher to make sure you don't end up causing localised melting of the lens.

I tried one of the 3M kits on a friend's Ford...Can't remember if it was a Focus or Mondeo...My only memory was it being soul-destroyingly boring. Kit worked well enough, but I really didn't see any difference between that and Brasso really.

Just make sure to give it a really good coat of wax afterwards to help muck slide off when the roads are wet.
Current fleet:
89 Saab 900i Auto. 1996 Citroen Xantia 2.0T Activa. 85 Sinclair C5. 93 Lada Riva 1.5EFi Estate, 75 AC Model 70.

User avatar
white exec
Moderating Team
Posts: 2365
Joined: 21 Dec 2015, 13:46
Location: Sayalonga, Malaga, Spain
My Cars: 1996 XM 2.5TD hatch, 2003 RAV4.2 D4D
previously 1989 BX19RD, ZX 1.9D auto, Xantia 1.8i auto
x 273

Re: Headlight Lens Cleaning

Post by white exec » 03 Jan 2018, 18:22

Turtle Wax Headlight Restorer (kit) works. Just use the cream cleaner if the cloudiness isn't too severe. Kit also contains abrasives and other bits and good instructions.

Mer car polish will also work, or T-cut. Use plenty of it, and lots of elbow grease (or a polisher).

Any yellowing will be at the surface, and should also polish out, more-or-less.

Hell Razor5543
NOT Alistair or Simon
Posts: 7955
Joined: 01 Apr 2012, 09:47
Location: Reading
My Cars: C5 Mk1 VTR estate, Icelandic Grey (I think she is called "Bluebird")
x 425

Re: Headlight Lens Cleaning

Post by Hell Razor5543 » 03 Jan 2018, 21:10

A simple, low cost, and surprisingly effective method is to use a clean face cloth and a mildly abrasive toothpaste. It will need a lot of elbow grease, and a few applications (with tap water to rinse away the residue). OK, Michel did then use his own 3M kit (which works well), but the toothpaste made a reasonable go of cleaning the headlight lenses.
ex BX 1.9
ex Xantia 2.0HDi SX
ex Xantia 2.0HDi LX

C5 VTR HDi estate, 76518762
Out amongst the stars, looking for a world of my own!

Posts: 1371
Joined: 30 Oct 2012, 23:37
Location: Chelmsford, Essex
My Cars: Lots of CXs...
A couple of Xantia...
Lots of Prelude's...
And a Sunny.
x 44

Re: Headlight Lens Cleaning

Post by wurlycorner » 04 Jan 2018, 21:13

Yep, the 3M and Meguiars kits can be used on curved headlights, no problem

Alternatively you can just use different grades of sandpaper (yes really!) finishing with a very very fine grade (like they use for finish sanding paint lacquer) and then polish over with a standard car polish.

2x '85 CX GTi Turbo s1 (metallic blue and green)
2x '85 CX GTi Turbo s2 t1 (metallic silver and grey)
'88 CX GTi Turbo s2 T2 (metallic light blue)
CX DTR T2 Safari (silver)
2x '96 Xantia Activa (Black and Metallic Green)
'01 C5 2.0 HDi LX Estate (Blue)

User avatar
white exec
Moderating Team
Posts: 2365
Joined: 21 Dec 2015, 13:46
Location: Sayalonga, Malaga, Spain
My Cars: 1996 XM 2.5TD hatch, 2003 RAV4.2 D4D
previously 1989 BX19RD, ZX 1.9D auto, Xantia 1.8i auto
x 273

Re: Headlight Lens Cleaning

Post by white exec » 04 Jan 2018, 22:21

Just a word of caution: don't use any sand/other paper with a coarse or medium-course grit. It could put scratches into the polycarbonate lens which you will struggle to remove. Stick with fine or very-fine abrasive, if liquid won't do the job. :!:

Posts: 33
Joined: 02 Jan 2013, 15:03
Location: Greater Manchester (Formerly of Ireland)
My Cars: Well missed Xantia Activa
Another missed Xantia 2.0hdi
Current C5 Estate HDi
x 2

Re: Headlight Lens Cleaning

Post by Spurious » 06 Jan 2018, 00:02

I did a good job on a Primera perspex light housing.

I used some 2500 grit wet sandpaper, then 3000 grit. Make sure it's well lubricated. Then plenty of T-Cut. Wax to finish off.

It took the best part of an afternoon and my fingers were aching afterwards. Headlights were shiny clean however...
Phase 2 Xantia HDi
Phase 1 Xantia Activia
Sold :(
Phase 2 Citroen C5

And a current semi-working MK1 C5 Hdi 110.

User avatar
van ordinaire
donor 2017
Posts: 1456
Joined: 23 Jun 2015, 14:45
Location: Live & work in London but weekend in Devon (or do I now live in Torbay & work in London?)
My Cars: Citroens:-
'81 2CV Club (quietly sleeping in a parallel universe)
'05 (yes, really) C15
'96 Jeep Cherokee Limited - the "donor"
'99 Jeep Cherokee Orvis - the green one
'97 Jeep Cherokee Limited - the red one
'99 Cadillac Seville STS
'96 Cadillac Eldorado ETC
& numerous what might be described as abandoned projects!
x 126

Re: Headlight Lens Cleaning

Post by van ordinaire » 08 Jan 2018, 22:54

I thought I knew something about this, as it's a real problem most '90's Cadillacs & Sevilles in particular have such poor headlights (even the later HID equpped ones) they need all the help they can get.

A friend who did show standard polishing had limited success but got to the stage he was concerned about how much material was left but I'd had no success with any product, even marine plastic polish. Not been brave enough to try wet'n'dry though!
'81 2CV Club :cry:
'05 C15 :!:
'96 Jeep Cherokee - the "donor" :(
'99 Cherokee - the green one [-o<
'97 Cherokee - the red one :?
'96 Cadillac Eldorado
'99 Cadillac STS :|
& the numerous "abandoned projects" #-o

User avatar
Posts: 303
Joined: 23 Apr 2013, 11:35
My Cars:
x 4

Re: Headlight Lens Cleaning

Post by Bandit12 » 14 Jan 2018, 11:09

T cut worked for me
2002 Citroen C5 2.2Hdi exclusive estate (sadly gone) :(
2009 Citroën C5 X7 2.0 hdi (136bhp) exclusive estate (Oh wow what an upgrade) 8-)