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The Simplest Cleaning Task You Shouldn't Skip—Here's How to Clean Your Mirrors

how to clean mirrors - clean mirrors in modern bathroom

Design: Emily Henderson Design; Photo: Sara Ligorria-Tramp

It's easy to forget your mirrors when you're deep cleaning your home, but this simple task can make all the difference. If your mirrors are smudged with fingerprints or dust, they might keep your rooms from ever achieving that perfectly spotless look.

Bathroom mirrors are especially important to focus on, as it's common for them to become a landing surface for stray bits of toothpaste and makeup. Since this functional piece of décor is an essential part of your daily routine and your home's style, budget a few extra minutes into your weekly cleaning schedule to keep each mirror looking its best—and discover the best ways to avoid those pesky streaks and specks of lint when wiping them down.

Say goodbye to half-clean mirrors that distract from your best selfies, and keep scrolling to learn how to clean your mirrors in under five minutes.

How Often Should You Clean Mirrors?

Clean your mirrors once a week to prevent dust, fingerprints, and other marks from building up on their surfaces over time. If your bathroom mirrors are more susceptible to smudges—like those in households with several family members—a quick wipe down each morning will keep them looking spotless. The good news about this chore is that it's probably one of the fastest on your list, so it's easy to incorporate into a regular cleaning routine.

Things You'll Need

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Glass cleaner of your choice
  • Vinegar (optional)
  • Spray bottle
  • Cotton balls
  • Rubbing alcohol
how to clean a mirror - large round mirror in modern entryway

Design: Cathie Hong Interiors

Step 1: Invest in a Microfiber Cloth

The most important step to achieving spotless mirrors is starting with the right supplies. Rather than reaching for the paper towels (or newspaper, if the age-old cleaning tip has been passed down in your family), invest in a high-quality flatweave microfiber cloth. Microfiber will attract and trap dust, while newspaper and paper towels can leave behind ink or lint fibers that lead to those unwanted streaks and smudges.

Step 2: Choose Your Glass Cleaner

Choose a glass window solution or natural cleaner to mist your mirrors. Most store-bought options are effective; just ensure that the cleaner of your choice has a spray head with a misting option rather than a single stream of liquid. You can also pour your solution into a fresh spray bottle if your favorite cleaner doesn't come with a mister.

Step 3: Remove Smudges

Your bathroom mirrors are the most likely to have built-up toothpaste marks, specks of makeup, and other hard-to-remove smudges. The secret to a streak-free clean is a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball to attack those spots. Before spraying your mirror with glass cleaner, soak a cotton ball in alcohol and wipe away any stubborn grime. Rubbing alcohol dries very quickly, so wipe down any problem areas as soon as you've finished soaking your cotton balls for the most effective smudge removal.

Step 4: Spray the Mirror

Lightly mist your mirror with the glass cleaner of your choice. Spray the cleaner evenly from top to bottom to ensure the misting covers each corner of the surface. You can also use the cleaning solution directly on your microfiber cloth, but you may need to reapply it a few times as it dries.

When it comes to spraying down your mirror, less is more. Overly soaking a mirror with glass cleaner can lead to drips that take more time to remove and cause unsightly streaks.

Step 5: Work From Left to Right

Starting at the top corner, gently wipe down your mirror from left to right. Use a zig-zag motion to clean horizontally across the surface in rows. When your microfiber cloth is saturated with cleaner, fold it in half to start with a fresh surface. Continue the pattern until you've reached the bottom of the mirror and all of the cleaning product is removed. Don't leave any liquid to dry on its own—excess glass cleaner can easily lead to scuffs and streaks.

Step 6: Check for Scuffs

This quick extra step leaves your mirrors spotless to make the entire room appear cleaner. Once you've wiped every inch of the glass, take a step back and observe your work. View the mirror from a 45-degree angle to catch any scuffs or leftover streaks. If you missed a spot, spray a light layer of mist onto a dry side of your microfiber cloth, then gently buff it out for a clean and clear reflection.

DIY Mirror Cleaning Solution

how to clean a mirror - clean round mirror in bright bathroom

Design: Emily Henderson; Photo: Sara Ligorria-Tramp

If you don't have glass cleaner on hand, you can also create a natural cleaning solution with vinegar, dish soap, and water. This homemade mix is not only an affordable option, but it can also be more effective than commercial cleaners. Combine one teaspoon of dish soap with three cups of water and 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar, then follow the standard steps for a streak-free clean.

Tips to Keep Mirrors Clean Longer

how to clean a mirror - clean geometric mirror in modern bathroom

Design: Home Consultant by Julian Porcino

The best way to keep your mirrors clean is to avoid smudges in the first place—so do your best to keep toothpaste in the sink (and makeup on your face). A separate makeup mirror can also be a great option for preventing specks of eyeshadow or blush from blowing onto your bathroom's main mirror.

Since dust is inevitable, you can also use commercial glass wipes to spot-treat any dirty areas between weekly cleanings. Choose an option that's specifically formulated for glass, like lint-free Invisible Glass Wipes or Windex Blue streak-free shine wipes.