I remember, as a child walking into my mom intently running a crumpled-up newspaper that she dipped in water back and forth on her bedroom mirror. I asked her what she was doing, and she casually remarked that she was cleaning the mirror. Of course, you’d imagine how surprised I was.
It turns out the newspaper is a trick to prevent streaks, which can ruin the post-cleaning shine of your mirror. If you want to know how to clean mirror stains, follow this article for the right tools and cleaners to use!
Spoiler alert: newspapers aren’t the weirdest item you’ll use for cleaning here!
How to Clean a Mirror Without Streaks?
Consider it old school, but for a time, there was only one way to clean a mirror without streaks for me—newspapers! Now there are other options, which are all listed here.
Newspapers’ material is absorbent and dense, which is why they’re often used to clean mirrors and glass windows. Additionally, newspapers are made of soft, non-abrasive fibers, so they won’t scratch the mirror.
They are easily available and inexpensive, too!
The only drawback of using newspapers is that the print can sometimes run and leave dark stains. New modes of printing have since been developed to prevent this. Plus, the mirror surface is smooth and non-porous, so it won’t stain.
Using a microfiber cloth leaves your mirrors streak-free because the tiny fibers absorb moisture efficiently, leaving nothing behind. They also remove any dirt or dust with ease. It’s worth noting that you should be careful what you wash your microfiber cloth with. Detergents with fabric softeners stay on microfiber and can leave streaks on the mirror you’re cleaning.
After getting your mirror surface wet by spraying it with water or a cleaning solution, use a squeegee to clean the mirror as you would your glass windows. A squeegee is a great tool that can help you wipe down and quickly remove moisture from your mirror surface. Plus, it collects all falling water drops that may stay on the surface and cause streaks.
What Cleaners Should You Use?
Now that you have your choice of cleaning tools, what cleaners should you use? While scented cleaners are a nice option, they sometimes contain harmful chemicals. Also, soaps and additives don’t always evaporate, so they may leave streaks and ruin the spotless finish you’re aiming at.
Thankfully, many common natural products can be used as cleaners for your mirrors and other home surfaces.
Water And Vinegar
Vinegar, being acidic, is a powerful tool to dissolve dirt and grease. It also removes any bad odors. When diluting it with water, you’ll have a powerful natural cleaner at your fingertips.
Combine the two in a 1:1 ratio in a spray bottle. Shake well to mix the two liquids. Then, spray on the mirror surface and wipe down with a microfiber cloth. If you don’t like vinegar’s smell on your mirror, you can add a drop of any essential oil.
However, vinegar’s smell disappears quickly, so it shouldn’t bother you.
Lemon Juice, Dish Detergent, Vinegar, and Water
Like vinegar, lemon is acidic, naturally antiseptic, antibacterial, and another natural ingredient that is great for cleaning.
Combine 4 tablespoons of lemon juice with 1 or 2 teaspoons of dish detergent and ½ cup vinegar, and mix in one bucket of warm water. This combination gives you a powerful natural cleaner that is ready to use.
Mix well, dip the microfiber cloth in, and squeeze before cleaning your mirror. You can run a dry microfiber cloth on the mirror after you’re done to remove any remaining moisture.
DIY Glass Cleaner
We all likely have cornflour in our kitchen cupboards. It is abrasive, so it can be an efficient cleaner for your mirror. To make your cleaning solution, in a spray bottle, add 1 tbsp cornflour and mix in ¼ cup of white or apple cider vinegar, a quarter cup of alcohol, and 8 to 10 drops of essential oil.
Shake well, spray on your mirror surface, and wipe down with a microfiber cloth.
Do you know to clean a mirror with toothpaste? Yes, toothpaste can clean mirrors and other glass surfaces! Just make sure to use regular white toothpaste and not gel formulations or those that have microbeads.
Dyes in gel toothpaste can leave stains, and gels generally don’t clean well. Also, microbeads can scratch glass surfaces, so avoiding them altogether is better. Apply a small amount of toothpaste on a damp microfiber cloth and wipe the area you wish to clean. Just be careful not to press down too hard on the area you are wiping.
After cleaning, wipe with a wet cloth and use a squeegee to finish off and remove streaks.
If you only want to use water for cleaning, you can do it, but you’ll have to choose the right tool to remove all remaining moisture. This is often the cause of streaks. Stick to good old room-temperature water and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth or your trusty newspaper. Or, choose a lint-free cloth.
Don’t Use Vinegar to Clean Your Mirror too Often
As you can see in the examples above, many cleaners use some combination of vinegar, dish detergent, and water to clean mirrors. Some people caution against using it, though, as vinegar may eat away at the mirror’s backing and cause the shine to deteriorate.
To be extra cautious, it may be better to use diluted vinegar or use it in moderation. Cleaning the mirror with it once every few months will hardly do any harm. Using toothpaste or water, you now know how to clean a mirror without vinegar.
What About Tough Stains?
Soap, hairspray, greasy fingerprints, mouthwash, and dry shampoo can leave stains that are tough to remove, especially if they have been on your mirror for a while.
If you want to know how to clean a stained mirror, you can use one of the options below.
Use rubbing alcohol to spot-clean the stains first. Dab gently on the stained areas with a cotton pad or microfiber before cleaning the mirror. You may need to repeat this step several times, depending on how stained the area is.
Try not to press hard or scrub the stained areas. Instead, wipe them in circular motions repeatedly until the stains loosen up.
Other Glass Cleaners
If you’re too busy to make your glass/mirror cleaner or want to go for tried and tested cleaners, you can choose a regular commercial mirror cleaner. Remember to avoid cleaners with soaps and additives, as they may leave streaks.
You can also find natural cleaners with none to minimal toxic chemicals in their formulas.
No More Streaks!
Almost everyone has had to live with a streaky mirror at some point, but wouldn’t it be great to see yourself in a brand new light with a bright, streak-free mirror?
It’s not difficult to achieve. Change your cleaning tools, choose the right cleaners, and remember the abovementioned steps. The cleaning process will hopefully be a breeze if you do so!