How to Get a Clean, Streak-Free Mirror—Without Using Glass Cleaner

Get rid of haze and fog and return the glass to its former, crystal clear glory with these cleaning tips from the experts.

clean bathroom mirror
Photo: Getty Images

We often don't realize how dirty our mirrors are until we give them a good clean. Dust, fingerprints, and water spots speckle the reflective piece of décor, making it hard to see a crystal clear image gleaming back at you. While it's helpful to regularly clean the glass, doing so incorrectly can leave you with more streaks and imperfections than you started with. But it is possible to clean the mirrors in your home without making any additional marks, and you can do so using items you likely already have handy.

Materials Needed to Clean a Mirror

It doesn't take more than a DIY cleaning solution and a few other basic materials to get your mirror shining like new.

  • Microfiber cloth
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Cotton swabs
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Dish soap

How to Clean a Mirror

Once you've gathered the essential cleaning items, it's time to get started.

1. Prepare Your Mirror

It's likely that your mirror has some dust particles covering it. If that's the case, you'll want to wipe those off with a clean cloth before getting the glass wet. "You can then spot clean caked-on residue, water drops, or toothpaste spots with a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol," says Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid, a Neighborly company.

2. Clean the Frame

If your mirror has a frame, clean that too. The method you use will depend on what material your frame is made of, says Becky Rapinchuk, cleaning expert and owner of "If it's wood, I use a duster on it, if it's metal or composite material, I spray a little cleaner on a soft microfiber cleaning cloth and wipe it," she says.

3. Make a Cleaning Solution

While there are a lot of cleaning products out there, Peterson says making a DIY solution is a guaranteed way to get a streak-free clean. She says to mix one part white vinegar with four parts warm water in a bowl or bucket, noting that you should mix in a tiny drop of dish soap if your mirror is extra dirty. "Transfer the mixture into a spray bottle and spray the mirror with the mixture," Peterson says.

4. Avoid Streaks

After spraying the mixture onto your mirror, Peterson says to use a microfiber cloth, coffee filter, or newspaper and wipe across the glass in a broad 'S' pattern, working from edge to edge, top to bottom. "Try to lead with the same edge of the cloth to capture any dirt or debris without spreading it around. Don't use a circular motion to clean the mirror—this is a common mistake," she says.

How to Clean a Mirror That Is Hazy

Hazy mirrors are typically a result of built-up natural residue, according to Peterson. To remedy this, start by soaking a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and wiping the particularly hazy or cloudy areas. "Once you're done, use a spray mixture of one part white vinegar and four parts warm water," Peterson says. "Thoroughly spray the mirror with the mixture. If there's significant buildup, you can let it soak for up to 10 minutes." Wipe the mirror off using a microfiber cloth or wadded up newspaper.

How to Prevent a Foggy Mirror

It's happened to all of us—you get out of the shower to find your mirror is covered in steam. But did you know that this is preventable? To keep the glass from fogging up, combine 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, and a teaspoon of dish soap in a spray bottle. Gently shake the mixture then apply it directly to the mirror and let it sit for a few seconds. Wipe the spray away with either a microfiber cloth or newspaper. "After this, your mirror should not fog up for a couple days," Peterson says. "It will be necessary to repeat often if this is a common issue."

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