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How To Clean A Mirror

Cleaning a mirror is usually a quick and simple task, and it makes homes and bathrooms look so much brighter and better. Our handy guide even offers a few special tips that can help with tougher spots or cloudy glass.

No Cleaners? No Problem!

There's no magic to it: your mirrors can be sparkling clean and streak free with some basic household ingredients and a little know-how.

While most of our cupboards are filled with fancy commercial cleaners, sometimes it's the simple, old-fashioned solutions that work the best—not to mention are the safest and most economical. This is certainly the case when it comes to cleaning mirrors.

If you don't have a specialized mirror/glass cleaner, these homemade solutions should do the trick:

  • With a mildly dirty mirror, warm water on a soft, lint-free cloth is all you need.
  • When using plain water, the best cloth choice is a 100% cotton microfiber towel.
  • For a mirror with a little more build-up, make a solution of 2 parts water and 1 part white vinegar or rubbing alcohol.
  • If there's oily residue on the mirror frame from hair spray or other substances, add a drop or two of dish soap to your vinegar or rubbing alcohol mixture.
Tips & Tricks for Difficult Jobs

Spots or streaks still not coming out? Try these advanced mirror cleaning tricks:

  • Spray your homemade cleaner onto a soft cloth (an old cotton t-shirt works great) or on loosely crumpled newspaper, and clean with a circular motion.
  • If opting for newspaper, choose one that isn't printed with soy-based ink.
  • Spot treat problem areas with straight vinegar or rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball.
  • Dry with more newspaper or with a microfiber cloth for superior shine.
  • Another time-tested method for tougher cleans is covering the mirror with a thin layer of shaving cream (foam, not gel) and wiping off thoroughly. The added bonus? The mirror won't fog up during showers for the next few weeks.

Whatever cleaning solution you use, avoid getting mirror edges wet and make sure you dry the surface completely. This will help ensure a pristine reflection for years to come.

The Uncleanable Mirror?

When no amount of cleaning works, the issue is probably the mirror backing and not the glass itself. Over time, the silver nitrate and protective coating that back the glass may wear, causing the mirror to appear cloudy or spotted. You can test whether this is the case by shining a flashlight into the mirror over the affected area.

If the backing of a favorite mirror is damaged, you can have the mirror re-silvered by a professional, or buy a kit from a home improvement store and make it a DIY project.

Most of the time, it will be much easier and more cost effective to just buy a new mirror. You'll find plenty of stylish and on-trend options at Explore our great selection of wall mirrors, floor mirrors, and bathroom mirrors, and let us know if you have any questions.