How to Remove Adhesive From Mirrors: Dos and Don'ts

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What You'll Need
Vegetable oil
Soft, lint-free cloth
Clean sponge
Nail polish remover (with acetone)
Cotton balls or swabs
Isopropyl alcohol
Denatured alcohol

Knowing how to remove adhesive properly from a mirror can be the difference in ruining the mirror or preserving its beauty. Some adhesives can be horribly difficult, and using the wrong products can affect the quality of the glass and the reflective properties of the mirror. Here's how you can remove the gooey mess without damaging your mirror.

Step 1 - Determine the Bond

If a child has simply placed some stickers on the mirror, these are easily removed. If you've used an epoxy or other glue like adhesive, the job will be more difficult and require different materials. Before you head to the store or start digging through your cabinets, figure out how tight the bond has formed.

Step 2 - Try to Peel Adhesive Off (Stickers, Paper, or Tape)

Use the cloth and dampen the adhesive. Let it sit for a few minutes, and try to peel it off by hand. If the adhesive doesn't give easily, stop. You don't want to damage the mirror by prying off something that won't budge. Don't be surprised if a sticker peels off partially, leaving some residue or paper behind. This will be removed in the next step.

Step 3 - Use Vegetable Oil (Stickers, Paper, or Tape)

Vegetable oil will remove sticky residue and excess paper from a mirror easily without damaging the glass. It's also a safe starting point for other types of adhesive that you might not be able to identify. Place a small drop or two on a clean, lint-free cloth, and rub the oil gently over the adhesive in a circular motion. The adhesive should start to ball up and can easily be picked off the mirror at that point.

Step 4 - Dealing With Epoxy

Epoxy can be difficult to remove. If you have hooks you have installed on your mirror, or a smaller makeup mirror with magnification, it is probably stuck on with epoxy. Don't try to pry these items off. You can chip the mirror easily if you do this. Instead, locate the point where the epoxy is placed. Soak a sponge in nail polish remover (it must have acetone to work). For this process you can also use Isopropyl or denatured alcohol. You then press the sponge over the epoxy point. If you are unable to reach it with a sponge, use cotton balls or swabs. Allow the nail polish remover to sit on the affected area for at least 15 minutes. Use a scraper to try to push the epoxy off. Be careful with the scraper to avoid chipping or scratching the mirror. If the epoxy won't budge, you may have to use this method several times to soften the adhesive enough to remove it.

Additional Tips:

Hairspray can be sprayed on stubborn stickers such as bumper stickers to eat away at the adhesive. If the area is large, or the vegetable oil isn't working, try using some standard hairspray. This will leave a film behind, so be sure to clean the mirror after the removal.

Don't use ammonia or gasoline to remove anything from a mirror. Gasoline and ammonia will indeed remove sticky residue but they can damage your mirror. Always use a soft clean cloth when cleaning your mirror, a brittle one may cause scratches.