Headlight Restoration | Norton Abrasives

How to Clean Headlights

Yellowed headlights

Headlights are the most important thing to keep clean on a car. If a headlight is scratched or yellowed and alters the pattern of light passing through a headlight cover, this can result in a failed MOT. Not only can it affect the vehicle’s safety but it can put other road users at risk.

If you’re looking to undertake headlight restoration and renew a clear surface on worn headlights, we can guide you through 10 steps using products from the Norton automotive range.



  1. Before sanding the headlight, clean the area with car soap and water to remove dust and contaminants. It may be worth taping off the headlight to protect the rest of the car from accidently sanding the paint or trim.
  2. Start off by dry sanding the area with the most abrasive grit, such as Norton Pro A275 disc in grit P500 on a 75mm dual active sander. These discs contain a No-Fil coating to prevent the build-up of dust and premature clogging.
  3. Once you can see a difference, replace the disc with a Norton P800 disc with foam interface.
  4. For the next stage of sanding, wipe the headlight with the blue magnet cloth – to remove dust particles and contaminants from floor sanding.
  5. Dampen the surface and begin wet sanding with the Norton Ice 1500 grit disc. These discs use a superior grain coating on a super smooth film backing to provide an incredibly fast cut that simply doesn’t load so there are no “pigtails” that take extra time to polish out. The discs also contain Norton No-Fil technology with anti-loading properties to extend life and ensure a perfect finish.
  6. Liquid ice_webThe headlight will become clearer and will be ready to wet sand with the Norton Ice 3000 grit disc. These discs are ideal for polishing out even faster in spot repair applications, thanks to the uniform cut, smooth finish and lower scratch depth. The mesh foam is waterproof and moulds to the surface for even distribution of pressure for consistent finish.
  7. To reduce polishing time, use Norton Liquid Ice Quick Cut Step 1 polishing compound and blue foam polishing head on a 76mm mini polisher. The open structure of the foam retains the compound with little or no splattering.
  8. For best results, follow with Norton Liquid Ice OEM Step 2 polishing compound and begin sanding with the black foam polishing head.
  9. Wipe the headlight with blue magnet cloth to remove any final residue.
  10. To complete the process, use Norton Liquid Ice Detailer Spray to remove any excess polish residue and wipe clean with the blue magnet cloth.

As an optional final stage, you can protect the headlights from further UV damage, by applying a coat of UV resistant clear coat and allow to dry thoroughly.

This headlight restoration process is quick, easy and takes only 15 minutes (not including mounting and assembly).

Take a look at this process in action below:

Visit the DVLA website, for further information on driving and MOTs.

For further advice on car repair, get in touch with our Norton experts.