We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

No, You Shouldn’t Use That DEET Headlight Cleaning Hack

A headlight on a car is foggy.

If you’ve got an older car, you’ve probably noticed that your headlights have become cloudy. This is totally normal and happens over time, and while you might think you’re just stuck with the discoloration, that’s not true. But there’s a hack floating around for it that you absolutely shouldn’t use.

You should not use DEET to fix cloudy headlights. Eventually, you’ll be doing more damage to them.

So, let’s talk about why your headlights turn colors. There are a few, but the most common is oxidation. Most headlights are acrylic, and when it’s exposed to UV lights (aka the sun when you’re driving or any time it’s not in a shaded area), it oxidizes. While headlights do come with a coating o help prevent this, over time, it wears off. That’s why you’ll see cloudiness more commonly on older models.

DEET can take off that oxidized layer, but the way it does so is problematic according to YouTuber Chris Fix. First, if you spray bug spray directly onto the light, you’ll damage the seals and your paint. But even if you put the bug spray on a cloth first, the DEET works by melting some of the lights’ plastic. Not great in the long term, right? Plus, according to Chris, the cleanliness only lasts for about a few days.

Rain-X 610153 Headlight Restoration

Get those headlights clean the right way.

So, what’s the alternative? Well, there are entire kits dedicated to cleaning your headlights that are safe and effective. If you don’t want to invest in them, though, you might want to grab your toothpaste.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is the Assignments Editor at LifeSavvy. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer with a focus on beauty and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Allure, and Hello Giggles. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on a single goal: helping you make the most informed purchases possible. Want to know more?