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Can you use vinegar to clean your mirrors?

If you find your mirrors streaking no matter what you’ve tried cleaning them with, you are not alone. We’ve tried every cleaning product on the market that boasts a “streak-free shine” and “sparking results” only to be disappointed when done. Sometimes it can feel like you’ll never learn how to clean mirrors without streaking.

There are tons of products on the market specifically meant for glass, and there are also multipurpose cleaners that can be used to clean mirrors, but you might try making one with vinegar at home. They are cheap (about a third of the cost of most store-bought ones), easy to put together, and you can make them in large quantities so you never run out. They are also an eco-friendly alternative to chemical cleaning products so you know you’re doing yourself and the environment good.

Another quick note on saving more money. You can buy the vinegar in bulk since, once you use this formula, you’ll never use anything else. This saves money over buying standard-sized vinegar bottles. You can snag a huge gallon jug of distilled white vinegar like this one for just $13 on Amazon.

vinegar bottle cleaning
New Africa/Shutterstock

But does vinegar really work?

The answer is a resounding “yes.” The real consideration is, “How to use vinegar for cleaning mirrors.” There are a few recipes I’ve found that use vinegar for cleaning mirrors, and the results speak for themselves. Most do-it-yourself (DIY) glass cleaners use water as a base, but we recommend using distilled water instead of water from the tap because it prevents marks or streaks from appearing. You can also customize any of these with your favorite essential oil to leave the room smelling fresh.

Vinegar’s acidity also cuts through dirt and grease that come from fingerprints, which is ideal for removing streaks from mirrors.

The first recipe couldn’t be simpler and only calls for two ingredients (unless you add an essential oil).

  • Two cups distilled water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar

That’s it! Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle, give it a little shake, and you are on your way to cleaning your mirrors with ease.

The second recipe adds one ingredient — rubbing alcohol. The addition of rubbing alcohol to this recipe helps the liquid to evaporate quickly on glass surfaces like mirrors, so you lessen the chance of leaving water marks on the surface. You can also add essential oils to this recipe (two to three drops should do the trick for a small batch).

  • One cup distilled water
  • Two or three tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
man cleaning bathroom mirror
gpointstudio/Shutterstock

You can also use just rubbing alcohol to remove stubborn stains on mirrors that come from hair spray and other places. Dip a corner of a clean cloth in the alcohol, scrub the site of the debris, then use the cleaner to go over the entire mirror. As with any cleaning product, make sure you store away from kids and pets. This is especially the case with this one, as rubbing alcohol is highly flammable.

The recipes above work great on mirrored glass but avoid using anything containing vinegar on marble, granite, slate, tile, or solid surfacing, because it can damage the materials over time. For mirrors, always work from top to bottom so there are no drips or streaks.

A few other considerations

Make sure you have a clean microfiber cloth to clean your mirrors and that it hasn’t been used with other cleaning products. The microfiber will pick up dirt and lint and clear away any dust on your mirror. Once finished, go back over the surface with another clean cloth for a polished look. Never use a paper towel or a newspaper (yes, newspapers were once thought to be the best method) to clean mirrors. They tend to leave streaks and residue on a mirror’s surface so you end up chasing your tail going back over the same areas trying to get it clean.

If you have a large mirror like a wall mirror or one found in a bathroom, you can also use a squeegee to get your glass clean and streak-free in less time than it would take to clean with a cloth. The same top-to-bottom method applies with squeegees, too.

There is really no reason not to give a homemade all-purpose cleaner with vinegar a shot. It’s simple, easy to use, and is versatile enough to use on other surfaces like grout and tile. I promise you will not be disappointed.

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