5 Simple Steps to a Sparkling Clean Mirror

The cleaner your mirror, the better you look. Seriously.

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall… why are you so dang gross?” It’s true. Mirrors get messy. They get gunky, cloudy, streaky, and covered with a fine mist of spittle and spray.

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Magical powers or no, a clean mirror is essential. Without it, how would you know if your bangs are even, or if your French tuck is flawless? You’re going to want that reflective glass working at its full potential. Setting that aside, if your bathroom is otherwise clean, but the mirror is dirty… the whole bathroom will feel dirty. Someone had to say it. Sometimes a quick wipedown of the mirror will just make the entire space feel better. Now that’s some good payoff for a 5-minute task. Not exactly sure how to clean a mirror? Not to worry, we’ve got your ticket to a streak-free shine in five easy steps. And they said fairy tales weren’t real.

How to clean a mirror in 5 easy steps

  1. Pretreat tough spots first

Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol, then carefully dab away mascara smudges, lipstick smears, toothpaste splatters, hairspray streaks, and gummy fingerprints. If you’ve got limescale deposits on your mirror (likely if it’s located near the sink or shower and you’ve got hard water that may splash on it) you can use lemon juice to remove them. You’ll know limescale spots from their milky white appearance (often seen on faucets). Alternatively, calcium deposits, which look like little white spots, come off easily with vinegar. Vinegar is naturally acidic and fantastic for removing all sorts of stains.

  1. Spray with your window cleaner of choice

Sure, you can buy a window cleaner at the store. But you don’t need to — you can make your own at home with items you probably have on hand. In a spray bottle, combine either ¼ cup vinegar with 2 cups water OR ½ teaspoon of Dawn Dish Soap with 2 cups water. Shake the mixture thoroughly. (If you’ve got hard water, consider using distilled water to clean your mirror so that it won’t leave residue.) Spray the mixture onto a microfiber cloth and apply to the reflective surface.

Pro-level cleaning hack: Spraying the vinegar-water solution directly onto the mirror can be messy and cause the liquid to sometimes get beneath the mirror or pool in the corners. You don’t want this, always spray directly on the cloth instead.

  1. Go for a thin, flat-weave microfiber cloth for best results

Your cleaning rag matters just as much as your solution. Avoid paper towels, and thick terry cloth, as they can leave behind particles on your mirror… thereby defeating the purpose of this exercise. A thin, flat-weave microfiber cloth is best. If you origami it properly into quarters, you can do a whole mirror with just one cloth. When one quarter gets dirty, use the other to finish the job. Keep one side of the towel dry, and you can use it to buff your mirror to perfection. (Or, you know, you could always use two towels. We’re just trying to prevent you from having to do more laundry down the road.)

  1. Forget the circles—clean from side to side, then top to bottom

Despite what you see in the commercials, you don’t really want to clean your mirror in giant circular movements. Use your cloth to wipe the surface clean, moving from side to side, then top to bottom.

  1. Here’s a hack: shaving cream can be used to prevent your mirror from fogging up after your shower. (Oh, and we’ve got lots more bathroom cleaning hacks up our sleeve, if you’re into that sort of thing.)

You can apply it after cleaning and its glycerin will create a protective coating on the surface of your mirror. Just spray it on then wipe it off with your microfiber towel. Shaving cream also works well for polishing chrome fixtures, so maybe hit the faucet and handles while you’re at it.

Deep clean tip: If you’ve got some really serious stains on your mirror, such as paint, you can try a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover. (Also, maybe consider being more mindful next time you use paint near your mirror, dude.) And if you’ve got a fancy mirror with angled cuts or embellishments, you can use a cotton ball or a toothbrush to really get in there.

Once you’ve finished cleaning your mirror, move around a bit to peek at your reflection from various angles. No, not to find your best selfie lighting (well, sure, that too) but to make sure you schmeared all the dirt and grime into oblivion. Hit any remaining problem areas with your clean, dry microfiber rag to buff them out.

Take a good look in that sparkling clean glass—not only do you look like a million bucks, you know how to properly clean a mirror now too. We call that a win-win.

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