Can You Clean a Mirror With Just Water?

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Mirrors inevitably become dusty, grimy, and even dull. However, expensive cleaning products aren’t a prerequisite to getting a streak-free, clean mirror. Instead, the secret to a shiny, clean mirror is the proper motion, technique, and cleaning products. And the best part—you’re most likely to find everything you need in your home.    

Water is a quick and cost-effective solution to clean your mirror. Make sure you spot clean stains with rubbing alcohol before cleaning your mirror. For deep cleaning, mix vinegar or natural soap with water. The correct cleaning technique for mirrors is moving from left to right and top to bottom.

Whether you want to uplift your bathroom mirrors or maintain the statement mirror in your hallway, proper cleaning will keep them gleaming for longer. Let’s look at how you can clean your mirror by using water. We’ll also look at other cleaning methods and essential tips to make this household chore easier.   

Will Water Effectively Clean a Mirror?

Young woman cleaning mirror at home

Water is a budget-conscious and eco-friendly approach to cleaning your mirrors. It works just as well as any commercial cleaner to remove dirt and smudges. You can achieve a spotless finish using just a lint-free cloth and a few drops of water.  

Here’s how you can do this: 

  1. First, add water to a spray bottle.
  1. Start from the top of the mirror and spritz some water on the mirror’s surface.
  1. Be sure to wipe in a zig-zag motion. This will prevent streaking.
  1. Buff out the remaining streaks with a clean, dry microfiber cloth (on Amazon).   

What are the Best Natural Cleaning Methods?

Several natural cleaning methods can help you clean your mirror without damaging it. These include:

Vinegar and Water

One of the best homemade and non-toxic solutions for cleaning mirrors is a mixture of water and vinegar. Here’s what you need to do: 

  1. Mix equal parts water and distilled vinegar in a spray bottle.
  1. Starting at the top, spray the mixture on the mirror’s surface.
  1. Use a microfiber cloth to clean in a zig-zag motion moving down the mirror. 

Rubbing Alcohol

For bathroom mirrors where you regularly see cloudy or dried-on residues such as grubby fingerprints, hairspray, or toothpaste, it’s best to spot clean before cleaning the whole mirror. This will not only help to avoid streaking but also save you time and effort. 

The best option for spot cleaning can be easily found in your medicine cabinet—rubbing alcohol. Here’s how you can use rubbing alcohol to clean your mirrors:

  1. First, wet a cotton pad with rubbing alcohol.
  1. Dab the problem areas with this cotton pad before cleaning your mirror. Then, keep scrubbing until the stains are completely removed.
  1. Remove any remaining grime or alcohol from the mirror with a clean cotton pad. Remember that rubbing alcohol dries quickly, so you’ll need to work efficiently.
  1. To get rid of grime or dirt accumulated in the corners of the mirror, moisten a toothbrush with rubbing alcohol.

Note: Pretreating your mirror will help prevent spots from turning into streaks and result in a sparkling mirror surface.  

Natural Soap and Water

A mixture of natural soap and warm water works best for deep cleaning. Follow the steps below to get your greasy, grimy mirror restored to its original sparkling form: 

  1. Mix 2 tablespoons of washing-up liquid with warm water in a bowl.
  1. Dip a sponge in this bowl to wipe the surface.
  1. Use a clean microfiber cloth to buff away the remaining marks. 

How to Avoid Streaks When Cleaning Mirrors

Housekeeper cleaning a wall mirror

To avoid streaks when cleaning mirrors, make sure you:

  • Spot clean stubborn stains first.
  • Wipe in a zig-zag motion, moving from top to bottom.
  • Use cleaning products that don’t contain scents, dyes, or soaps.

Cleaning a Cloudy Mirror with Lemon

Your mirror can become hazy and cloudy due to marks left by limescale. However, these can be easily removed with lime or lemon juice. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Mix warm water and lemon juice in a bowl.
  1. Dip a clean cotton cloth in this water.
  1. Use circular motions to wipe away the limescale.

Cleaning your mirror with lemon not only gives them an exceptional sparkle and a lovely fresh scent, but it’s also antibacterial.   

What to Avoid

When cleaning your mirrors, make sure to avoid the following:

  • Paper towels: Avoid using toilet paper or paper towels to clean mirrors as they may leave behind bits of paper and lint.
  • Newspapers: Originally, newspapers were considered best to achieve a streak-free mirror, but due to the depreciation in the quality of paper and ink, newspapers have lost their effectiveness. Now they can damage your mirror.
  • Abrasive scrubbing: Although scrubbing may seem the best way to remove stuck-on grime, it can easily cause scratches on the mirror’s surface. Be sure to work in a gentle circular motion and only use soft cleaning materials. 

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