how to clean a mirror

Our most ancient ancestors never had to worry about how to clean a mirror, because it hadn't been invented. The first mirror experience for humankind was most likely when someone gazed into a still lake and saw the reflection of their face looking up at them from the water. Imagine what that moment would have been like.

Animals on the other hand gaze into the same water and see their reflection, but don't know that it's their face, because they're not self-aware.

This discovery of reflections, would no doubt have prompted ancient inventors to find ways of creating their own mirror.

how to clean a mirror

What is a mirror made of?

Way back in time, mirrors were slightly convex disks of either bronze, tin, or silver. They were highly polished and reflected light off their surfaces. Our guess was they were difficult to keep clean, especially when they began tarnishing.

In the first century AD, Roman Emperor Domitian used phengite stone as a mirror. He was so aware of assassins, that he lined the walls of the colonnades in which he used to walk with phengite stone, to be able to see in its brilliant surface the reflection of all that went on behind his back. You can imagine he had a staff of cleaners always keeping those stones polished.

Some 800 years ago, inventors thought of using glass with a metallic backing to create a mirror. They applied a thin sheet of reflecting metal behind the glass and presto, a lovely decorative object. The perfect accessory for the 12th century mantelpiece. Back then the metal they used was said to be a mix of tin and mercury. 

In Germany, in 1835 Justus von Liebig discovered a chemical process of coating a glass surface with metallic silver. This was the beginnings of the modern mirror. Today, mirrors are made with a thin layer of molten aluminum or silver, lining the back of a plate of glass.

The many different methods for cleaning mirrors

The issue of how to clean a mirror today, is far different to what our friends faced in antiquity. You're probably familiar with little oily fingerprint impressions, toothpaste splatter, streaks and other marks on your mirror.

To get a beautiful, clean mirror all you need are the right tools and the right cleaning products. Some people find a mixture of warm distilled water and vinegar is very helpful. Others use a commercial glass cleaning spray. Yet others use warm water with a dish washing liquid.

The tools include sponges, old rags, microfibre cloths, even newspaper. Each of these methods can work quite well. Newspapers can cover your hands in ink, so wear a glove. Some cloths on the market are oil based and make it impossible to clean mirrors or glass without leaving residue.

Tips on using chemical sprays to clean a mirror

There is a saying in the cleaning industry, "wet it, let it, get it". Firstly, you spray the mirror, and wet it thoroughly with cleaning fluid. Then you let it soak in. Finally, you get it off, and quite easily, by simply wiping it with an old clean rag or microfibre cloth.

The right chemicals make the job fast and effective, giving you a perfect clean. 

The one issue with using chemicals is, the toxic spray molecules float around in the air and you end up breathing them in. Using an organic cleaning spray can be a better choice, although you're still breathing in chemicals. The difference is, manufacturers say the chemicals are toxin free, but it's a decision you have to weigh up.

One solution is to wear a very tight fitting mask to protect yourself. A loose fitting mask is useless. If you don't want to go to all the trouble of wearing a mask, try using a solution of dish soap and warm water to clean the mirror. It's a lot milder to work with.

Tips on how to clean a mirror using warm water, vinegar and a clean cloth

how to clean a mirror

Another way to clean a mirror effectively is by using warm water and vinegar. By putting a splash of vinegar in a small bucket of warm water, you have a cost-effective cleaning solution. Then with a sponge you can wipe the mirror surface. To dry it, use an old clean cloth or microfibre cloth.

If the splatters of toothpaste and what have you have been there for some time, and are almost caked on, then the same technique we mentioned before is the easiest. Wet the scum that's on the mirror, let it soak in for a few minutes, and then it should come off easily.

The secret is giving the cleaning solution time to break up the scum particles for easy removal.

The Bathware Direct difference

Cleaning a mirror is one thing. Having a beautiful mirror that you want to keep clean is another. That’s where a designer Monaco Round Mirror 700mm Diameter from COB & PEN is a great choice. It's one of the delightful mirrors available at Bathware Direct.

When you need bathroom products including mirrors, Bathware Direct give you the best prices, best range and most enjoyable customer experience.

PLUS - there's the bonus of prompt delivery.

For quality bathroom products, the name to know is Bathware Direct.