How to clean mirrors for a streak-free shine

little girl and mirror

Toothpaste, makeup, fingerprints, and more. Mirror cleaning is a finishing touch to any room that you have just cleaned. Once a room is clean, the mirror needs to be shiny and streak-free to bring it all together. But what if you can’t seem to get the mirror streak-free? There is nothing more frustrating than trying repeatedly and not succeeding in getting that mirror streak-free. If you’ve been trying and failing to clean your mirrors, stress no more. Read on to find out how to clean mirrors for a streak-free shine. We also have a few tips to disguise those pesky black spots on mirrors.

Use rubbing alcohol to spot treat

Globs of toothpaste, a spritz of hairspray, and fingerprints all end up on your mirrors no matter how hard you try. If you soak a cotton pad in rubbing alcohol and dab away at the problem areas on your mirror before you attempt to wipe the whole mirror clean, you will prevent spots of gunk from turning into streaks. Think of this like spot-cleaning laundry before you put it in the washer. This first step is a huge time-saver when it comes time to wipe the whole surface of the mirror.

man cleaning mirror

Wipe with vinegar

Yes, you can use vinegar to clean mirrors. Store-bought cleaners are designed to be an all-in-one solution to your mirror streak problems, but nothing really beats the homemade mixture of equal parts distilled white vinegar and distilled water. Besides, pre-mixed cleaners contain too much soap, and soap equals streaks. Mix the two liquids in a spray bottle, give it a shake, and you’re ready to clean. Spray the mixture on a microfiber cloth rather than on the mirror and make your way down the length of the mirror. It is best to start in an upper corner and zig-zag your way down to the other corner, making large s-shaped motions so you don’t miss any spots. If you miss a few spots, start over in the top corner and repeat the process. Some really dirty mirrors will need more than one wipe.

Use the right cloth

Believe it or not, newspaper, coffee filters, and paper towels do not make good mirror cleaners anymore. Any of those applicators can leave lint, dust, or newsprint residue on your mirror and, thus, make your job much harder than it needs to be. Save your paper products for sopping up spills and invest in some high-quality microfiber cloths. The thin ones are the best for cleaning mirrors and glass because they won’t hold as much lint and particles as the thicker versions. Fold the cloth into quarters so you can unfold it and have four clean surfaces to work with as you go.

Final check and retouch

Once you have completed the steps above, check for streaks by standing back from the mirror and looking at it from a 45-degree angle. This will help you spot streaks and scuff marks that you can’t see by standing directly in front of the mirror. If you find streaks, spray your cloth, wipe away the spot, and then use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe dry. Do this quickly, though, since the surface will dry quickly and leave another streak if you don’t wipe it dry fast enough.

Black spots

Black spots appear on mirrors when the surface of the mirror is damaged. Usually, the damage is caused by a cleaner that has made its way behind the mirror and trapped moisture between the mirror and the frame or backing. Unfortunately, you can’t get rid of these black spots, but you can disguise them. If the marks are along the mirror’s edges, you can cover them up by decorating the frame of the mirror with tiles or decorative glass beads. If you have black spots in the middle of the mirror and you can get to the backside of the mirror, you can disguise the imperfections pretty easily. Using small pieces of aluminum foil and clear tape, you can cover the black spots so they aren’t noticeable. Make sure the foil’s shiny side is against the back of the mirror and that you smooth the foil as much as possible. Once you’ve covered them all, rehang the mirror, and it will look good as new.

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