3 easy ways to clean a mirror

  • Clean any mirror streak-free with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water.
  • Starting at the top of the mirror, spray the solution onto the surface and wipe it in a zigzag pattern with a microfiber cloth.
  • Clean stubborn residue with rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball.
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A dirty mirror is one thing. But a mirror full of streaks is another.

Mirrors inevitably become dusty, dull and even dull. Yes, they are quite easy to wipe off. But it’s the streaks left behind that are the most annoying. The secret to a clean, shiny mirror is the right cleaning products, the right tools and the right technique. The best part is that you probably already have everything you need.

Below, we’ve spoken to a handful of cleaning pros for their top tips on how to properly clean your mirrors.

For quick cleaning: just use water

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly, budget-conscious approach that will work as well as any commercial cleaner, just use water and a lint-free cloth.

“Our ultimate tip for cleaning mirrors is to use a lint-free cloth – the kind you get in your glasses case,” says Adriana Aziz, cleaning expert and operations manager at MaidForYou. “These types of cleaning cloths are excellent for removing stains from your mirrors.”

Add water to a spray bottle and, starting at the top of the mirror, spray the water onto the surface and wipe in a zigzag pattern to avoid streaks. Use a clean, dry microfiber cloth to remove any remaining streaks.

For deep cleaning: Use water and white vinegar

Spray bottle on a counter.

Vinegar is an effective cleaning agent, just combine it with water in a spray bottle and then use it.

Carol Yepes/Getty Images

According to Karen Lee, cleaning pro at Smart Robotic HouseThe best mirror cleaner is equal parts distilled vinegar and water mixed in a spray bottle.

“This simple, non-toxic cleaner is amazing for removing streaks and making your mirror shine,” she says. “You want to make sure you saturate the mirror with this mixture and then use a microfiber cloth to wipe it down.”

To clean a mirror with water and white vinegar, mix equal parts water and distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Starting at the top of the mirror, spray the mixture onto the surface and wipe with a microfiber cloth in a zig-zag motion while working down the mirror.

To remove stubborn residue: use rubbing alcohol

For mirrors that regularly see dried or cloudy residue like toothpaste or dirty fingerprints, like a bathroom mirror, you’ll want to spot clean before cleaning the entire mirror. Luckily, there’s a simple solution lurking in your medicine cabinet: rubbing alcohol.

“To use rubbing alcohol to clean a mirror, simply wet a cotton ball with it and dab the problem areas before you start cleaning,” suggests Roman Peysakhovich, co-founder and cleaning expert at A desk. “Pre-treating the mirror before wiping it down prevents smudges from turning into streaks. The result is a sparkling surface on your clean mirror.

What to avoid

Overhead photo of colorful microfiber towels.

Instead of paper towels or newspaper, opt for a microfiber towel.

Roberto Pangiarella/EyeEm/Getty Images

  • Wipe with a paper towel: Avoid paper towels or toilet paper to clean a mirror as they can leave small bits of paper and lint.
  • Wipe with newspaper: Newsprint used to be a common trick for a streak-free mirror, but changing ink and paper quality has caused it to lose its effectiveness and can damage your mirror.
  • Abrasive scrub: Scrubbing a dirty mirror might seem like a logical way to remove stuck-on dirt, but it can easily lead to micro-scratches on the mirror’s surface. Instead, use mild cleansers and work in a light circular motion.

Insider’s Takeaways

You don’t need expensive cleaning products to achieve a streak-free mirror – plain water can work just as well with the right motion and technique. As long as you make sure to clean your mirrors using a zigzag hand motion and avoid rubbing or using abrasive materials, you should be able to achieve a sparkling reflection.

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