Mirrors are useful and stylish, proving a modern look to any room as well as everyday utility. Unfortunately, they are also magnets for dirt and grime, as they are often in close proximity to a myriad of different stain-producing agents, from toothpaste and fingerprints to lint and makeup.
While your first instinct might be to just grab a paper towel and a standard cleaner, don’t – you can easily cause scratches, streaks, and other damage that can ruin the usefulness and look of your mirror. Follow these easy cleaning tips for the best way to clean your mirrors, however, and you’ll have a mirror that shines like new without needing to buy expensive cleaners or pay for a costly replacement.
The first step to any effective cleaning is to assess what needs to be done. Take a close look at your mirror. See any white spots that are rough to the touch? These can be calcium deposits or limescale, which are common mirror stains if your mirror is located in your bathroom. You’ll need to pre-treat these before cleaning the whole mirror. Take some time to spray down the stains with pure lemon juice, lime juice, or white vinegar, and let it sit for about fifteen minutes before rinsing. These strong acids will dissolve the limescale or calcium deposits so they can be simply wiped away without harming the finish of your mirror.
Using the right tools is crucial to avoid doing damage to your mirrors while cleaning. Paper towels or sponges can be abrasive and cause scratches, so they should be avoided whenever possible. Use only a soft, clean cotton rag or a microfiber cloth when cleaning your mirror, as their soft surfaces will provide gentle strength to clean effectively without causing wear or damage. Paper coffee filters are also a surprisingly effective alternative if you don’t have any cotton rags or microfiber cloths available. With their extra absorbent weaves and soft fibers, coffee filters can do the job quickly and without any risk. As an added bonus, they are very cheap and probably something you already have around the house.
You don’t need to pay for a specialty cleaner to make your mirrors shine. White vinegar is an extremely effective mirror cleaning agent that does the job well and for a fraction of the cost of an expensive glass-only cleaner. For stains that are aged or resistant to your white vinegar solution, use limited amounts of rubbing alcohol directly on the stains one at a time. The rubbing alcohol will gently lift these troublesome stains away, so you can simply rinse them off. Be careful, as rubbing alcohol evaporates extremely quickly. Treat one stain, then quickly wipe it away, repeat if necessary, and then move on. Treating the stains one at a time will avoid leaving any unsightly streaks from the rubbing alcohol.
For most stains or to clean the mirror in general, simply spray down the mirror with white vinegar. Use your cloth or coffee filter to gently wipe away the cleaner from right to left, starting at the top of the mirror and work your way down. It may be helpful for you to fold your cloth in half, and then switch sides when you notice one side getting disproportionately dirty; if you are using coffee filters, feel free to toss the one you are using if it is getting too dirty and simply use a fresh one. Stick to the side to side motion and never wipe your mirror in a circular pattern: this is a surefire way to cause streaks and reduce the visibility of your mirror.
Once you’ve finished, take a moment to step back and review the mirror from different angles. Chances are you may have missed a spot, or there’s a stain that only appears if you view it from a certain angle. If this happens, you can spray down and wipe the area again. Once your mirror is dry, you can use your cloth or coffee filters to buff it, increasing its shine and making it reflect like new.
Don’t be afraid to clean your mirrors and keep them free from dust or any other kind of mess. These tips will help you maintain your mirrors, and keep them shiny and clean for years to come.