3 Fixes for a Streaky Mirror

Mirror, mirror on the wall, whose is the streakiest of them all? Not yours, once you read our secrets for getting a streak-free shine every time.

By Jill Lawrence O'Hara | Updated Jul 3, 2020 11:25 AM

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How To Clean Mirrors Streak Free

Photo: istockphoto.com

Streaky mirrors are common problems for even the most conscientious housekeeper. Sometimes, no matter how carefully you clean, you’re still left with the impressions from where you last wiped. But don’t give up yet; a streak-free shine is well within reach when you follow these easy fixes for a flawless reflection.

Clean Mirrors With Rubbing Alcohol

Photo: istockphoto.com

How to Clean a Mirror with Rubbing Alcohol

Mirrors suffer a lot of unwanted attention from globs of toothpaste, coats of hairspray, and regularly smeared-on fingerprints. While you might think that a simple spray removes all, not properly treating these spots is the leading cause of streaks—when you go to wipe down the rest of the mirror with a clean or solution-sprayed cloth, the greasy or oily residue just spreads across the surface of the glass with each sweeping motion. Fortunately, an easy solution hides inside your medicine cabinet: rubbing alcohol. Wet a cotton pad with it, and dab away these problem areas before you get cleaning. Pretreating the mirror before you wipe prevents spots from turning into streaks, leaving you with a sparkling surface.

Clean Mirrors with Vinegar

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How to Clean a Mirror with Vinegar

Believe it or not, the best solution to mirror streaks is a solution—a vinegar and water one, that is. Sure, store-bought cleaners may offer an all-in-one answer, but good marketing is no match for the cleaning power and cost-efficiency of this simple mixture. Plus, these cleansers tend to include more soap than is necessary, and more soap equals more streaks.

To avoid a cloudy surface, simply mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 cup of distilled water in a spray bottle, give it a good shake, and you’ll have the perfect potion for tackling smears, streaks, and smudges. Apply your mirror-cleaning mixture directly to your microfiber cloth instead of the reflective surface—to prevent the liquid from accumulating in the corners, making its way underneath the mirror, and causing more damage—and zig-zag back and forth down the entire length of the glass.

Photo: istockphoto.com

How to Clean a Mirror with a Microfiber Cloth

Contrary to popular belief, paper towels and newspapers do not make effective glass cleaners. In fact, they could complicate your cleaning quandary by leaving behind lint, dust, or even newsprint residue (as many papers today have switched from petroleum-based ink to one starring soy). So save the paper products for spills, and stock your cleaning closet with a few high-quality microfiber cloths—perhaps the best weapons for eliminating stubborn streaks. But stick to the thin ones: A flat-weave microfiber cloth works more efficiently than its thicker terrycloth cousin because it won’t hold any lint or other particles that could transfer to the mirror and contribute to streaks.

Remember, your time is valuable. Don’t waste it wiping away every last piece of lint from your bathroom mirror. Instead, choose the best materials—and methods—to get the job done right the first time.