DIY Cleaning & Organizing

How to Clean a Mirror: 4 Tips for a Streak-Free Finish

Mirror, mirror on the wall, whose is the streakiest of them all? Not yours, once you learn how to clean mirrors for a flawless reflection every time.
How To Clean Mirrors Streak Free
Photo: istockphoto.com

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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.

Don’t give up yet: A streak-free shine is within reach. It’s probably not your knowledge of how to clean a mirror that’s lacking; you may simply be missing one of these key cleaners and techniques for a flawless reflection.

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1. Start With a Microfiber Cloth

Clean mirrors with microfiber cloth
Photo: istockphoto.com

Paper towels and newspapers can technically be used for cleaning mirrors, but they’re poor choices. Paper products leave unsightly streaks, lint, dust, and newsprint residue on glass surfaces. Regardless of your preferred mirror cleaning agent, the best way to clean a mirror is with high-quality microfiber cloths. Thicker terry cloth microfibers work well, but thin flat-weave microfiber cloths, like the ones found in an E-Cloth Window Cleaning Kit, are even less prone to leaving behind streaks or lint on glass.

You don’t have to relearn how to clean a mirror without streaks when using microfiber cloths, either. The process is almost identical to cleaning mirrors with paper towels; it’s easier, more consistent, and less wasteful to boot. Simply apply glass cleaner directly to a clean microfiber cloth, wipe the entire mirror surface clean using S- or Z-shaped motions, and use the same zigzag motions with a clean, dry microfiber to wipe the glass dry.

RELATED: 13 Ways Decorating With Mirrors Can Transform Your Space

2. Make a DIY Mirror Cleaning Solution With Vinegar

Person dipping microfiber towel in vinegar
Photo: istockphoto.com

If you want to save a buck and reduce your home’s plastic waste, it’s easy to clean a mirror without Windex or other store-bought glass cleaners. In fact, the best mirror cleaning solution is a homemade one: a vinegar and water solution, that is. In addition to being cheaper and more natural, another plus of this DIY glass cleaner recipe is that it doesn’t contain soap like many premixed formulas, as excess soap can lead to streaky mirrors.

Just mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 cup of distilled water in a spray bottle, shake it vigorously, and you’ll have the perfect potion for tackling mirror smudges and streaks. Spray the mixture directly to a microfiber cloth rather than the mirror itself, wipe in a zigzag pattern down the entire length of the glass, and dry the mirror with a fresh microfiber cloth using similar motions. Finally, store your homemade glass cleaner responsibly and enjoy your sparkling handiwork.

RELATED: 19 Bathroom Mirror Ideas for Upgrading Your Vanity

3. Use Rubbing Alcohol to Remove Residue

Person spraying solution on cotton pad
Photo: istockphoto.com

If you continue to struggle with a streaky mirror, you can pretreat problem spots before cleaning the whole surface. Some leading causes of bathroom mirror streaks are the toothpaste, hair products, and fingerprints that glass situated in front of a sink inevitably attracts. Fortunately, an easy solution hides inside your medicine cabinet: rubbing alcohol.

Contrary to popular belief, glass cleaner alone can’t remove everything from a mirror. Streaks are often left when untreated spots are wiped with a paper towel or cloth, which only spreads oily residues with each swipe. To avoid this, wet a reusable bamboo round (or cotton pad) with rubbing alcohol and dab at visible problem spots to break up and remove gunk beforehand. Then, clean the mirror with a microfiber cloth and your favorite glass cleaner for an all-but-guaranteed streak-free finish.

4. Don’t Like Vinegar? Here’s How to Clean a Mirror With Windex

Cleaning mirror with windex
Photo: istockphoto.com

If you already have a ready-made glass cleaner like Windex on hand or can’t tolerate the odor of vinegar, your journey to a streak-free mirror is already half-complete! Before you get cleaning, take a moment to read the instructions on the glass cleaner’s label, which may differ from product to product.

Generally speaking, begin by spraying glass cleaner directly onto the mirror surface or a microfiber cloth. Wipe the glass either with circular or zigzag motions (according to the product label), taking care not to leave any cleaner that may collect on the trim of a framed mirror. If instructed, wipe the clean glass dry with a new microfiber, and repeat these steps as needed if stubborn residue or streaks remain.