Defects and impurities in silicon limit carrier lifetimes and the performance of solar cells. This work explores the use of fluorine to passivate defects in silicon for solar cell applications. We present a simple method to incorporate fluorine atoms into the silicon bulk and interfaces by annealing the sample with a thin thermally evaporated fluoride overlayer. It is found that fluorine incorporation does not only improve surface interfaces, but can also passivate bulk defects in silicon. The effect of fluorination is observed to be comparable to hydrogenation, in passivating grain boundaries in mutlicrystalline silicon, improving the surface passivation quality of phosphorus-doped polycrystalline silicon based passivating contact structures, and recovering boron oxygen related light induced degradation in boron-doped Czochralski-grown silicon. Our results highlight the possibility to passivate defects in silicon without using hydrogen, and to combine fluorination and hydrogenation to further improve the overall passivation effect. The work provides new opportunities to improve solar cell performance, potentially applicable for a range of applications.