Can You Clean a Mirror with Mineral Spirits?

Mineral spirits are petroleum-based solvents used in painting. They can be used to thin oil-based paint and clean stains or varnishes. While they are intended for cleaning and stain removal they can be too harsh for daily cleaning tasks around your home such as cleaning your mirrors.

No, you cannot clean a mirror with mineral spirits as they can get caught in the bevels and edges of your mirror, causing damage to any finishes and coatings around your mirror. This is especially true if your mirror is framed. Mineral spirits are also a toxic substance that can heavily irritate the skin upon exposure.

Mineral spirits can sometimes be used to spot clean glass however they should not be used to clean your mirrors.

Does Cleaning a Mirror with Mineral Spirits Leave Streaks?

It can be tempting to use mineral spirits to clean your mirrors because, in theory, they evaporate completely just like rubbing alcohol which can be used on mirrors, meaning they will not leave streaks behind. Mineral spirits however are not intended for use on mirrors. They can be used to spot clean glass on windows but should not be used over the whole surface.

Mineral spirits are a strong solvent solution that deteriorates finishes and coatings around the sides of your mirrors and on the frames of your mirrors.  It is better to use a cleaning solution that is intended for mirrors instead.

How to Clean a Mirror Using Mineral Spirits?

You should not use mineral spirits to clean mirrors. Mineral spirits can become trapped in the edges and bevels of your mirror, causing damage to any finishes and coatings around your mirrors. If your mirror is in a decorative frame, cleaning it with mineral spirits will cause damage to the finish of the frame.

Instead of mineral spirits, you should opt for other gentler cleaners that are oriented towards mirror cleaning such as chemical spray mirror cleaners, vinegar, plain water, toothpaste, lemon juice, or rubbing alcohol.

Is Cleaning a Mirror with Mineral Spirits Dangerous?

Mineral spirits are mildly dangerous and should not be used to clean your mirrors. According to its MSDS sheet, mineral spirits are mild irritants to the skin, eyes, and upon inhalation. If mineral spirits come into contact with your skin, you should immediately rinse the area with water and monitor for signs of irritation or dermatitis.

If you get mineral spirits in your eye, you should immediately flush the impacted eye with water for 15 minutes and seek medical attention. If inhalation occurs, mineral spirits can cause nausea and dizziness.

Mineral spirits should be stored away from anywhere with an open flame or potential for sparks as it is a highly flammable substance. Even in the absence of open flames or sparks, enough heat can cause it to ignite.

Be extra mindful of the safety of pets and children when using and storing mineral spirits.

What are some Alternative Ways to Clean a Mirror?

Some Alternative Ways to Clean a Mirror

Rather than using mineral spirits which can damage your mirror, you can and should use conventional chemical spray mirror cleaners, plain water, rubbing alcohol, microfiber cloths, vinegar, lemon juice, or even used newspapers. The method by which you clean your mirror comes down to personal preference and what you have available to use in your household.  Be sure to choose a cleaner that is safe and mirror-friendly.

Final Thoughts

Because mineral spirits make an effective cleaning solution on some glass surfaces and when painting, they should not be used to clean mirrors and other common household surfaces. Not only is it an irritant to the eyes, skin, and lungs if inhaled, it can damage the finishes on your surfaces. Even though mineral spirits evaporate completely, just like rubbing alcohol, it is better to protect yourself and your surfaces and use a cleaner that is intended for mirrors.

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