How to Clean a Mirror So It's Streak-Free and Fog-Free

Avoid common mirror-cleaning mistakes that leave dirt and streaks behind.

Keeping the mirrors in your home clean seems like a never-ending cleaning task, but no mirror gets dirtier than the bathroom mirror. Between toothpaste splatter stains, limescale, and makeup spots, the mirror in your bathroom is bound to get filthy. But if you simply Windex the mirror with a paper towel in a circular motion, you're making a critical mistake. There are actually a few tricks to make cleaning more effective and also help you prevent fog from building up after you take a shower. Best of all, you won't have any streaks or leftover lint when you're done.

What to Clean a Mirror With

Old habits die hard, and if you grew up being taught to use newspaper or paper towels to clean the mirror, you may still reach for those products today. But not only are these single-use items, making them less environmentally friendly, they can also leave behind lint, dust, paper debris, or ink residue. So, we recommend using a trusty lint-free cloth instead. Lint-free cloths will pull up dirt and grease without leaving a trail of lint behind. Better yet, you can throw them in the wash and use them again.

Below, find two methods for cleaning a mirror—one with a store-bought solution and one using a DIY solution using ingredients you probably already have on hand. If you opt for store-bought, avoid multi-purpose cleaners or any solutions that aren't specifically tailored for glass, as these can leave behind a film.

How to Clean a Mirror

It worked as a karate move, but Mr. Miyagi's "wax on, wax off" method isn't ideal for cleaning mirrors. That's because the circular motion actually re-deposits dust and debris from your cloth back onto the surface, leaving streaks. Here's what to do instead:

Windex Method

What You'll Need

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Glass cleaner like Windex

Instructions

  1. Spray glass cleaner or water directly on the cloth, not on the mirror directly—otherwise, liquid can seep behind the silver coating and create black tarnish marks.
  2. For the cleanest results, wipe with the microfiber cloth in a tight S-pattern from top to bottom, making sure to cover the entire surface area of the mirror on your first swipe.

Vinegar Solution Method

What You'll Need

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Vinegar
  • Water

Instructions

  1. Mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water in a spray bottle and shake well.
  2. Spray the cleaning mixture directly onto the microfiber cloth.
  3. Like the method above, wipe in an S-pattern starting at the top of the mirror and working your way down. Try not to go backward on an area you've already swiped.

NOTE: If you opt to use the vinegar and water mixture, the vinegar will prevent the mirror from steaming up for about a week. To increase the de-fogging ability, spray the mixture directly on the mirror and let it sit for a minute before cleaning it off. Be careful not to let the solution seep into the sides and underneath the surface.

Keep in mind that while it is an effective cleaning solution, there are several things you should never clean with vinegar. Surfaces like stone countertops and deteriorating bathroom grout are too porous, and an abrasive cleaner like vinegar could damage the finish or seal after prolonged use.

READ NEXT: How to Make Your Glass Shower Doors Sparkle

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles