Isn’t it really annoying? You spend so long trying to clean the surface of the mirror and it still ends up looking foggy in some parts.
This used to wind me up a lot and I tried all sorts of cleaning sprays hoping that one would finally deliver on its promise of a streak-free mirror. Even some of the home remedies like cornstarch and vinegar were epic failures!
I am happy to let you in on the products I tried that finally worked!
I will try my best in this post not to advocate for eco-friendly or natural products over commercial products. I’ll leave that choice entirely to you as you know what works best for your household.
What I will try my best to do, however, is show you the products that I have tried and tested that deliver that streak-free shine we all so desperately desire.
Shall we begin?
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My Tried And Tested Methods For Streak-Free Mirrors
Tip #1 E-Cloth
Move over paper towels, microfibre cloths are so much better. I rave a lot about E-Cloths on this blog because they clean mirrors SO well.
They aren’t just any kind of microfibre cloth. They are of excellent quality and come in a pair. One is a waffle texture and the other is smooth.
If you don’t have access to the E-Cloth where you live. Simply get two types of microfibre cloths. A waffle or terry cloth microfibre towel and a flat weave microfibre cloth/ microfibre glass cloth.
The combination of these two cloths will deliver the best streak-free shine on your mirror’s surface. Of all the methods I have tried, I find the microfibre cloth duo to be the best way to clean a cloudy mirror.
- Run the waffle microfibre cloth under warm water
- Wring the cloth as much as you can. You want it damp, not soaking wet
- Work in circular motions over your dirty mirror, concentrating on any dried-on stains (This is the only time it’s ok to use circular motions)
- Fold the glass cloth in two till it forms a large square. This gives you eight sides to work with.
- In an ‘S’ pattern, work your way from top to bottom
- If the surface of the cloth gets wet, simply switch to the other sides of the square
- Repeat the process if necessary
What do you think? Streak-free right? I told you! This is by far the best way to clean your mirror. No chemicals, no store-bought cleaner, just water, and some elbow grease.
Tip #2 Squeegee
My bathroom mirror surface is really large. Sometimes I am not in the mood to use the elbow grease that the E-Cloths require so I simply squeegee. Let me show you how I do this.
- Wet a microfibre cloth and go over any set stains or water spots on the mirror’s surface. You can also wet your cloth with a light soapy solution
- Fill a spray bottle with warm water and spray the mirror or glass surface in sections. Be careful not to spray too much as you don’t want water dripping into the corners of the mirror (I explain later why this is not good for your mirrors)
- Squeegee in a straight pattern, wiping it on a dry lint-free cloth or paper towel before going again. You’ll notice the warm water evaporate as you clean
- Use the dry cloth to clean any liquid off the edges of the mirror
- Spot-clean any dirty spots
- Repeat if necessary
Tip #3 Vinegar and Water
I’m pretty sure you were wondering when I was going to mention the best homemade glass cleaner. Of course, I wasn’t going to leave out the most popular cleaning solution- vinegar.
Vinegar is amazing for cleaning mirrors and it delivers better results than many store-bought cleaners.
- Fill a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and very warm water. I use warm water because it evaporates quickly
- Spray the vinegar solution lightly on the mirror. You don’t need too much. Excess water tends to leave streaks
- Grab a clean microfibre cloth and work in an S pattern on the mirror’s surface. Don’t wipe in circular motions here, you risk transferring the dirt from one area to the other.
- Repeat the process if necessary
Vinegar is such a great cleaning product but the smell can be rather strong. When it evaporates, it leaves in its wake the freshest smell.
Tip #4 Kärcher Window Vac
If you are looking for a store-bought product that leaves no streaks and requires next to no effort, the Kärcher Window Vac is the easy solution.
Similar to a squeegee this product makes the cleaning process so much easier and is not too expensive.
- Fill the spray bottle with a cleaning concentrate and some water
- Spray the foggy mirror and wipe it with the attached microfibre pad
- Similar to how you would use a squeegee, vacuum the mirror in long vertical strokes
- Repeat till you cover the entire mirror
- Clean any wet edges with a dry cleaning cloth
Tip #5 Hydrogen Peroxide
If you’ve tried a few different cleaning solutions and can’t get rid of the haze on your mirror, the best thing to get is hydrogen peroxide.
This simple first aid ingredient can remove the film and haze that form over your glass. Many times haze can form due to wrong cleaning practices and a build of some store-bought cleaners.
Hydrogen peroxide can be used for a myriad of household cleaning but it’s also excellent for window glass and mirrors. It is also great at removing germs and bacteria from surfaces. But that’s not why we are here, we are here to get these hazy mirrors shiny again.
- Get 3% hydrogen peroxide. If it’s only available in a higher concentration, dilute it with a cup of distilled water.
Side note: Distilled water is important to prevent a DIY mix from going bad too quickly when you store it. If not make only the amount you need.
- Pour the hydrogen peroxide into a dark spray bottle (light affects the solution) or just put a spray nozzle over the hydrogen peroxide bottle
- Spray directly on a microfibre cloth or spray lightly on the mirror’s surface
- For best results, wipe in an S pattern and your mirror glass will look shiny again
If you prefer to watch, here’s the video I learnt the Hydrogen peroxide trick from.
Tip #6 HG Glass and Mirror cleaner
Of all the commercial glass cleaners this is the only product that I have seen that doesn’t smear mirrors or glass. It gives the most incredible streak-free finish with minimal effort.
To be honest, the HG brand is particularly amazing. I have tried the mould remover and the results were incredible. The only reason I don’t buy a lot of products is that my E-Cloth does a pretty good job with just water and that saves me a lot of money.
- Spray the surface of your mirror moderately. You don’t want to drench it with cleaner. More liquid makes it harder to clean
- Wipe in an S pattern with a microfibre cloth
- You can finish off and dry with a squeegee using vertical strokes
Tip #7 Dish soap
My number seven solution is dish soap because this is a simple product that can be used alone or with some of the methods I mentioned above.
Adding a tiny drop of dish soap in warm water can be the only thing you actually need to clean your mirrors, but you need to do this carefully otherwise you end up with an even bigger haze on your mirror.
- In a spray bottle, add the tiniest drop of dish soap in very warm water. I mean the tiniest amount. You don’t want to make a solution that is too soapy because that can leave streaks
- Spray onto the mirror’s surface and wipe in an S pattern concentrating on areas that might be hazier or have dried water spots
- Quickly finish off with a flat weave microfibre cloth
- This simple soap solution can also be used with a Squeegee or the E-Cloth
What To Do When The Mirror Still Looks Hazy
If you have tried all the products and tips and your mirror still looks hazy, it could in fact be because the backing of the mirror has been damaged.
To fix this, you will need to re-silver the mirror. This begs the question, ‘How valuable is the mirror’? Depending on the size of the mirror, re-silvering can cost anywhere from £17- £142 excluding shipping costs and it might be much cheaper to simply replace it. https://www.orionoptics.co.uk/mirror-recoating/
You can save money by getting a silver/ mirror effect spray but bear in mind that you will not get professional results.
However, if the mirror in question is an heirloom or holds some type of value to you, it might be worth re-silvering.
Best Practices To Avoid Hazy Mirrors
What can we do to keep our mirrors shiny, clear, and in top shape so we don’t have to re-silver?
Don’t freak out. My husband tried this on our bathroom shower glass and I have been hooked ever since. His rationale was…. it works on our car windshield so why in our home?
If you use antifog for your bathroom mirrors, it will reduce the amount of fog you get during showers. Build up of fog on mirrors can make them look hazy quickly but antifog reduces that.
Remember to still follow some of the cleaning practices I mentioned above. A build-up of anti-fog on your mirror surface will make it look hazy eventually.
Silver (the coating on the back of your mirror) is highly prone to oxidation. Throughout this post, I have emphasised not drenching the mirror surface with liquid.
This is because when you clean your mirror over time and water touches the corners, it can seep into the silver coating and eventually cause it to degrade.
Bleach might be a great disinfectant but it’s pointless to use it on your mirrors. It will leave streaks and just like water, it will oxidise the silver if it seeps into the back of the mirror.
FAQs on Streaky Mirrors
Can you clean mirrors with newspaper?
There was a time when newspapers were the go-to cleaner for mirrors or glass. Whilst newspapers still work, not many people buy newspapers because everything is online.
You can’t depend on a product that isn’t readily available for your cleaning needs.
Why your mirror is cloudy after cleaning?
Many times this is a result of a build-up of store-bought cleaning products that have dried onto the surface of the mirror. Another reason could be the cleaning method.
Cleaning in a Z or S pattern gives you fewer streaks unlike cleaning in a circular pattern. A circular pattern transfers dirt from one spot to the other.
Other times, you are just dealing with an old mirror that needs replacing.
Can you re-silver a mirror and how much does it cost to re-silver?
Yes, you can re-silver your mirror. Depending on the size, it can cost between £17- £142 excluding shipping. You can also get resilvering spray but the results are of lower quality.
Can you clean your mirror with toothpaste?
Some people claim toothpaste works but I have never tried it out because I have never needed to. It seems rather unnecessary if you have the right products and methods I mentioned in this post.
There will always be a new trend for cleaning just about anything. Please remember that when you follow good cleaning practices and have the right tools and products, you don’t need to follow trends.