How to wet sand headlights


If you’re like most people, your car’s headlights are one of the first things you notice when you look at it. And if they’re not in tip-top shape, they can really take away from the overall look of your vehicle.

Fortunately, wet sanding headlights is a relatively easy process that anyone can do with just a few supplies and a little bit of time. Here’s everything you need to know about how to wet sand headlights.

Wet sand

What grit sandpaper do I use for headlight restoration?

Here is a guide on how to use different levels of sandpaper grit. That is the prime material which you have to know before sanding headlights on your vehicle.

1,000 Grit Sandpaper: To be used after sanding with 800 grit paper, or as the first step if headlight lenses have mild oxidation. 1,500 Grit Sandpaper: Use after sanding with 1,000 grit paper; second to last step. 2,000 Grit Sandpaper: Final step in headlight restoration process; use after 1500-grit sanding.

For headlights that are severely oxidized and murky, use 400-grit sandpaper to begin (this is classified as super fine sandpaper). If your headlights aren’t too cloudy, then you can opt for 600-grit sandpaper. Remember to wet both the headlight and the sandpaper with water before you start scrubbing.

Once you’ve chosen the appropriate grit sandpaper, it’s time to start wet sanding!

What is needed to wet sand headlights?

The issue with wet sanding is that it requires constant lubrication between the sandpaper and the headlight, otherwise you risk damaging the headlight. For this reason, you’ll need a few things before getting started:

  • A spray bottle filled with water
  • A clean microfiber cloth
  • 4,00-, 6,00-, or 8,00-grit sandpaper (depending on the severity of the oxidation)
  • A headlight cleaning solution (optional)

All these materials are easily found at any local hardware store. And in case you want to learn more – watch the following video.

Can you wet sand glass headlights?

In case you want to wet sand the headlights of your car, here is a comprehensive guide on how to do it properly.

To begin, fill a bowl with water and soak a piece of 1000-grit sandpaper for ten minutes. Next, lightly sand the headlights in one direction only. Make sure to keep the surface wet as you work.

After you’ve gone over the entire headlight, rinse it off with water and inspect your work. If there are still some cloudy areas, repeat the process with 1500-grit sandpaper. Finally, use 2000-grit sandpaper to buff out any scratches.

Once you’re finished wet sanding, clean the headlights with a headlight cleaning solution and dry them with a microfiber cloth. And that’s it! Your headlights should now be clear and bright.

Wet sanding is a simple and effective way to restore your car’s headlights. Just make sure to use the appropriate grit sandpaper and keep the surface wet while you work. With a little bit of time and effort, you’ll have clear headlights that look good as new.

Can you wet sand on plastic?

When compared with glass, plastic is a bit more difficult to wet sand. The best way to wet sand on plastic is by using very fine grit sandpaper, such as 2000-grit. You’ll also need to be extra careful not to apply too much pressure while you’re sanding.

To begin, soak the 2000-grit sandpaper in water for ten minutes. Next, lightly sand the plastic surface in one direction only. Make sure to keep the surface wet as you work.

Wet sand

After you’ve gone over the entire surface, rinse it off with water and inspect your work. If there are still some cloudy areas, repeat the process with 3000-grit sandpaper. Finally, use 4000-grit sandpaper to buff out any scratches.

Once you’re finished wet sanding, clean the surface with mild soap and dry it with a microfiber cloth. And that’s it! Your plastic surface should now be smooth and clear.

Can I use an orbital sander to sand my car?

There are different types of sanders for different tasks, and an orbital sander is not meant for use on a car. It’s possible that you could damage your paint job if you use one. Stick to hand sanding or take your car to a professional detailer or body shop.

In case you’re a novice and want to use an electric orbital sander to polish or sand your automobile, it’s an excellent choice. It only takes a few minutes to set up and you’re ready to go. Electric sanders may produce unpleasant vibrations, so keep that in mind.

Wet sanding is usually done with 2000-grit or higher sandpaper. So, if you’re starting with a rougher surface, use a lower grit. If the surface is smooth, use a higher grit. The idea is to work your way up gradually.

Wet sanding will remove any previous wax or polish build-up on the surface. It’s also effective for removing scratches, scuffs, and other imperfections.

Can you use 120 grit sandpaper on headlights?

In order to restore your headlight, you will need the following items: safety glasses, gloves, 80 grit sandpaper sheet, 120 grit sandpaper sheet, glass cleaner, and car wax/polish. For polishing and cleaning purposes you’ll also need four microfiber cloths as well as a small bucket and water.

The fact is that 120-grit sandpaper is slightly too rough for headlights. It’s likely to scratch and damage the headlight lens. If you want to use sandpaper, stick to a lower grit such as 80.

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Is wet sanding better than dry sanding?

There are pros and cons to both wet and dry sanding. Wet sanding is less likely to damage the paint surface and it also eliminates dust. However, it can be more difficult to control the sander and it’s easy to accidentally sand too much. Dry sanding is easier to control and you can see what you’re doing more easily. However, it’s more likely to damage the paint surface and create dust.

You should better use only dry sanding when it comes to car surfaces. It is more difficult to control the sander when wet sanding and you may end up taking off too much paint. Dry sanding is also more likely to create dust. As for wet sanding, it is better to use this method when working on other surfaces like wood or metal. But still, your headlights are not an exception.

When wet sanding, you will need to use a lower grit such as 400 in order to avoid damaging the headlight lens.


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