How to Get Rid of Old Marks on Mirrors

You've finally decided to clean that dirty, old mirror in the hallway, but you're not sure how should you approach the task. It has marks on it that you seem to never be able to remove. Forget about the old vinegar and water standby and don't waste money on chemical cleaners. These solutions are abrasive and can actually damage the mirror further. Water, elbow grease and a steel wool pad are actually the best tools man or nature can offer for cleaning old marks on mirrors.

Things You'll Need

  • Oil-free, chemical free steel wool pad
  • Bucket or other container
  • 2 microfiber cloths

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Removing Marks from the Mirror

Fill the bucket with warm water.

Wet the steel wool slightly.

Scrub just the trouble area (not the entire mirror) hard enough to begin wearing down the mark, but not so hard so as to scratch the mirror. Use this if you are dealing with a particularly stubborn mark or stain, such as dried paint or glue. (This method should work in either case.)

Soak one of the cloths in the water. Wring it out completely.

Wipe the mirror vigorously--to remove any remaining residue from the mark--in one of three motions: up-and-down, side-to-side or in a circular motion. Pick one of the three motions, but do NOT combine or alternate them. This can cause streaking.

Wipe the mirror immediately with the dry cloth using the same motion as before.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure the mark is not the result of damage to the mirror backing. If the reflective backing of a mirror is damaged, black spots will appear that cannot be cleaned. The only remedy for these spots is a clever cover-up.
  • If you have very hard water (water with a lot of impurities), you will want to boil the water first and allow it to cool or use distilled water.
  • If you feel that you must use a store-bought cleaner, use one that does not contain ammonia or vinegar.
  • A moisture leak behind the mirror's frame often causes the most damage, so be careful not to get the frame or edges of the mirror wet.
  • Never place any cleaner directly on the mirror. Always spray it on the cleaning cloth first.


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