How to Clean a Mirror Without Leaving Any Streaks
For a streak-free shine, these expert-approved tips will teach you how to clean a mirror and leave dirt and dust behind
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Beyond the most practical use of mirrors—to see your own reflection—they serve many purposes in the home. Mirrors can maximize a room’s lighting, double as statement-making art and even help a small space look bigger. But they’re also one of the first places in your home to gather handprints, dust, watermarks, toothpaste splashes, makeup smudges and more. And if you don’t learn how to clean a mirror regularly and properly, you’ll wind up with a dirty-looking focal point and potential damage.
“Mirrors are prone to several things, including stains, discoloration, fogging and warping,” says Alicia Sokolowski, president and co-CEO of Aspen Clean. They’re also difficult to clean for several reasons, she says. First, scratch-prone mirrors often show streaks and smudges after cleaning, which can be frustrating to remove, whether you’re cleaning a bathroom or an entryway mirror. Second, dirt, dust and other debris can leave residue on mirrors. And third, if not dried properly, water droplets can leave spots that are also difficult to deal with (you’ve likely encountered these when cleaning your glass shower doors).
Luckily, once you learn how to clean mirrors, you can easily incorporate the chore into your regular cleaning schedule. From the best cleaning supplies to at-home DIY tips, here’s everything you need to know for a streak-free finish.
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How to clean a mirror
Whether you’re looking for spring cleaning tips or housecleaning secrets, we’ve got a number of methods and products you can use to clean mirrors. Most of them involve cleaning products you either already own or homemade cleaning solutions you can make with common household items. Here’s how to clean a mirror.
How to clean a mirror with glass cleaner
When choosing a glass cleaner, Sokolowski says that the more natural the better. “Natural glass cleaners are typically made from plant-based ingredients and are free of harsh chemicals,” she says. “They are designed to clean glass surfaces without leaving streaks or residue. Many natural glass cleaners also have a pleasant scent.”
- Spray your choice of glass cleaner directly onto a microfiber cloth.
- Using an S pattern, wipe down the mirror with the damp microfiber cloth.
Pro tip: If you prefer to use a natural glass cleaner, look for one specifically designed for cleaning mirrors and other glass surfaces. And remember: While glass cleaners are in most homeowners’ cleaning arsenals, there are still a number of things you should never clean with Windex.
How to clean a mirror with vinegar
Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent and a universal cleaner with surprising household uses, including cleaning stainless steel, cleaning shower heads, doing laundry, removing stains and more. It can also be an effective solution for cleaning mirrors. “[Vinegar] contains acetic acid, which can dissolve dirt and grime on glass surfaces,” Sokolowski says.
- Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
- Spray the solution directly onto a microfiber cloth.
- Using an S pattern, wipe down the mirror.
Pro tip: Vinegar has a strong odor that some people find unpleasant. If you don’t like the smell, you can always purchase a scented cleaning vinegar. And remember: Less is better. Never spray vinegar directly on the mirror because you might over saturate it.
How to clean a mirror with dish soap
There are a few things you shouldn’t clean with dish soap, but a water and dish soap solution is perfectly fine to clean your mirrors—it’s also a great homemade solution to clean electric glass stovetops.
- In a spray bottle, make a solution of warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap.
- Spray the solution onto the microfiber cloth. Make sure it’s just damp.
- Using an S pattern, wipe down the mirror.
Pro tip: Unless you want your mirror sudsy, avoid using too much soap.
The best mirror cleaners
How to keep mirrors clean
Now that you’ve learned how to clean a mirror without leaving any streaks, there are a few things you can do to help keep your home’s mirrors dirt and dust-free. Here’s how.
- Dust often. Know how to dust properly? If so, you know that the key to keeping dust and debris from building up is to do it regularly.
- Use the proper cloth. Because mirrors are prone to scratches, you should always use a microfiber cloth to prevent any damage to the surface. That means no SOS pads or abrasive paper towels. (After using your microfiber cloth, here’s how to properly wash it to preserve its cleaning power.)
- Keep mirrors dry. “After showering or using the sink, use a cloth to wipe down the mirror and prevent water spots and streaks from forming,” Sokolowski says.
- Avoid touching the mirror. Fingerprints and smudges can be challenging to remove, so try to avoid touching the mirror as much as possible.
- No harsh chemicals. Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals on the mirror, which can damage the surface.
How often should you clean mirrors?
The frequency with which you clean mirrors can vary, depending on several factors, such as the mirror’s location, how often it’s used and the environment in which it’s located. “In general, it’s a good idea to clean mirrors at least once a month, but you may need to clean them more frequently if they are used often or are in a high-traffic area,” Sokolowski says.
Some people prefer to clean their mirrors more frequently, especially if they’re located above a sink or in a bathroom, where fog can build up. Ultimately though, the frequency with which you clean your mirrors is up to you. “If you notice streaks or smudges on the mirror, it’s a sign that it needs to be cleaned,” she says. “Otherwise, you can clean your mirrors on a schedule that works for you.”
- Alicia Sokolowski, president and co-CEO of Aspen Clean