How to Remove Streaks on a Mirror

oval mirror with gold frame
  • 0.5-1
  • Beginner
  • 5-10
What You'll Need
(2) Clean, lint-free cloths
Cleaning solution
What You'll Need
(2) Clean, lint-free cloths
Cleaning solution

It is frustrating to spend time cleaning a mirror and then realize it is still streaked, dirty, or covered with lint. Sometimes streaking on mirrors is impossible to prevent if they have become old and have lost the silver backing. If this is the case, perhaps it is time to get a new mirror. Otherwise, by following the four steps below, you can make your mirrors clean and shiny.

Step 1 - Understand Why Mirrors Streak

Understanding why your mirror is streaking after being cleaned is important. Usually it is because you have used a cleaning solution or cloth that is leaving behind some kind of residue. Therefore, it is important to use clean, lint-free materials. Materials that are more absorbent and those that have not been dried in a clothes dryer with commercial anti-static products are typically better at absorbing wet cleaning solutions.

Step 2 - Use the Right Products

newspaper, rag, and glass cleaner

You may choose to purchase a commercial product or make your own. Whatever you choose, it is important to use a product that is designated for glass only and doesn’t contain ingredients that will be too harsh or acidic. All-purposes cleaners or cleaners that contain ammonia should not be used for this reason. Unless the cleaner you have purchased states it can be used on glass, do not use it.

If you have an aversion to chemicals and choose to make your own glass cleaner, equal parts of water and white vinegar work well. If you use water, be sure it is clean.

Step 3 - Use the Right Cloth

Crumpled newspapers, paper towels, or microfiber cloths work well for shining mirrors. But whatever you use, make certain it is lint free and most importantly, be sure it is clean. The slightest amount of oil or grease on your cloth will continue to make streaks.

Step 4 - Clean Your Mirror Properly

Rather than spraying the surface of the mirror with your cleaner, spray the cleaner onto your cloth. The reason for this is so that you don’t build up excess cleaner or inadvertently allow the cleaner to run onto wood frames of a dresser or mirror. If you choose to use warm water to clean your mirror, be sure to wring your cloth out carefully before using it.

Step 5 - Wipe the Mirror Carefully

man cleaning a mirror

Once you have added the cleaning solution to your mirror, use a clean cloth (or crumpled newspaper) to shine it and to wipe away any residue, spots, etc. It doesn’t matter which direction you choose to wipe, the important thing is that you eliminate all the moisture from the mirror. Continue wiping until the surface is dried completely and thoroughly.

Tip: If you have to do some quick, last-minute mirror cleaning, the following works great. Create a pad out of paper towels and then moisten the pad with isopropyl alcohol. Quickly wipe the mirror and you will have a streak-free mirror (can also be used for porcelain, tile and metal fixtures).