While cleaning is an activity that may not be your favorite thing to do, there’s something particularly frustrating about cleaning a mirror and seeing a bunch of streaks left behind. You may be wondering how to clean a mirror without leaving streaks. Thankfully, we have nine ways for you to accomplish this that don’t break the bank or your back!
In this article, we will discuss all of these ways in detail so that you can clean all of the mirrors and glass in your home with ease, as well as keeping them streak-free. We will also answer a variety of frequently asked questions when it comes to cleaning mirrors. Let’s get started and talk about some of these solutions now!
What Causes Streaks When Cleaning a Mirror?
There are a wide variety of things that cause streaks when cleaning a mirror. Sometimes streaks happen because of leftover residue from other cleaning products, as well as any lingering dirt or grime on the surface. You may also notice streaks if you happen to be using inexpensive paper towels or cleaning cloths, as the fibers can easily leave streaks on your mirror.
The season and time of day may also affect the amount of streaks on your mirror while cleaning it. A particularly warm and dry day will likely give you fewer streaks, given how quickly the cleaning product evaporates. However, this is not a guarantee and I highly recommend trying out some of our techniques as well as choosing an appropriate time of day to maximize your results!
How to Clean a Mirror Without Leaving Streaks?
Have you always wanted to be able to clean a mirror or window without leaving streaks? Here’s our list of some of the best ways you can accomplish this. Let’s get started and talk about them in detail now.
1. Use Glass Cleaner
If you haven’t already been cleaning your mirror or windows with glass cleaner, now is the time to start. Glass cleaner is specifically formulated to clean glass without leaving streaks or residue behind, though some products are better than others. Everyone has their favorite glass cleaner for their home and auto use purposes, so it may take some time for you to decide what one works best for you as well.
While multi-purpose cleaners can indeed clean glass, they aren’t considering how important it is to achieve a streak-free shine or thorough clean. That’s why purchasing a cleaner specifically made for glass can help you achieve the clean mirror that you are hoping for. However, the method in which you clean matters, and there are some things you can do to maximize the efficiency of your glass cleaner.
Choosing a proper cloth or cleaning device when using glass cleaner can help you achieve a streak-free look more often than simply using glass cleaner and a rough towel. Start off with high-quality paper towels or microfiber cleaning cloths when wiping down your mirrors or windows. You may also consider the time of day and the overall temperature of your home or exterior when cleaning, as the evaporation rate has a lot to do with your overall cleaning abilities.
2. Use a Microfiber Glass Cleaning Cloth
Let’s say you have purchased one of the best glass cleaning products on the market today. But it still ends up leaving your mirror with streaks and smears. What can you do to combat this in the future? I highly recommend purchasing a microfiber glass cleaning cloth to help you out next time you clean. Let’s talk more about why this matters now.
One of the main causes of streaks on glass or mirrors is the presence of lint or fibers. Many low quality paper towels or other cleaning cloths tend to leave residue and fibers behind on your mirrors, making it appear as if you had never cleaned it in the first place. That’s why microfiber glass cleaning cloths such as this one available on Amazon are ideal for all of your glass cleaning needs.
The specific cleaning techniques that you use may also help you achieve a streak-free shine, especially when used in tandem with a microfiber glass cleaning cloth and glass cleaner. I highly recommend cleaning your mirror from top to bottom so that any debris that happens to fall down onto the lower portion of your mirror gets cleaned in the process.
You should also consider spraying your glass cleaner onto your microfiber glass cleaning cloth rather than onto the mirror itself. This gives you more control over your overall product usage as well as prevents glass cleaner from dripping down your mirror and potentially leaving streaks. Having a proper cleaning technique can assist you with any one of these product solutions!
3. Disinfecting Wipes
You can use disinfecting wipes to clean your mirror or windows, but they likely won’t clean with a streak-free shine at first. You may need to follow up with a dry microfiber cloth in order to fully remove any product residue that could be lingering on your glass. However, disinfecting wipes do indeed work in a pinch to clean your mirrors, and they will also be disinfecting the glass in the process!
Check out our article “Can You Clean a Mirror with Disinfecting Wipes?”
4. Rubbing Alcohol
Another surprising product that you can use to clean your mirrors without leaving streaks is rubbing alcohol. You can use rubbing alcohol for difficult spot treatment of your glass or mirrors, as well as a full scale clean. Let’s talk more about some of the techniques you can use with rubbing alcohol now.
Apply standard rubbing alcohol onto a cotton swab or cotton ball for any caked on residue that you wish to remove from your mirror. You can also lightly soak a microfiber cleaning cloth and rubbing alcohol and wipe down the entirety of your mirror or glass with it. Rubbing alcohol is an effective cleaning solution all on its own, as it dries quickly without leaving streaks.
Check out our article “Can You Clean a Mirror with Rubbing Alcohol?”
5. Vinegar and Water Solution
White vinegar and water is an all-purpose solution used by many savvy homeowners. You can use white vinegar in a dilution for many different applications, including cleaning up pet urine, tackling different pest control issues, and you can even disinfect wood furniture using it. The good news is, you can also use white vinegar on your glass or mirrors.
Add distilled vinegar and water to a spray bottle in a 50/50 split solution, and spray the liquid onto a microfiber cleaning cloth or onto the mirror itself. You want to work quickly, as allowing the solution to dry on your mirror will indeed leave streaks. However, given the cost effectiveness of this particular solution, it may be a fantastic choice for those of you seeking an all-purpose home remedy.
Check out our article “Can You Clean a Mirror with Vinegar?”
Just like using a microfiber cleaning cloth can help you achieve a streak-free shine, you may be able to use any product to clean your mirrors so long as you have a window squeegee. Squeegees are designed to remove moisture and liquid from glass surfaces without leaving any residue behind, which is the main cause of streaks on a mirror.
I recommend using a window squeegee on your mirror and working from top to bottom so that any residue or product that falls is still cleaned up in the end. You may also want to keep a cloth or paper towel nearby to wipe up any cleaning products that drips onto your surfaces below the mirror, especially if your mirror is framed in wood. It is never recommended to leave moisture resting on wood for a long period of time, as you could warp it.
7. Dish Soap, Lemon Juice, Vinegar, and Water Solution
If you liked the idea of the vinegar and water mixture but want a bit more cleaning power in terms of removing scum and debris, check out this mixture that includes dish soap and lemon juice. Adding these to cleaning products to your vinegar and water solution and give you more cleaning power, especially if you are tackling a particularly dirty mirror or glass product.
Keeping your vinegar and water solution at a 50/50 split, you’ll then add a couple drops of dish soap and a tablespoon of lemon juice to your spray bottle. Spray the solution onto a microfiber cleaning cloth or rag before wiping down your mirror. You may also choose to apply dish soap and water to the mirror before using the full cleaning solution, but this is only necessary if you are dealing with a particularly dirty glass surface.
8. Dryer Sheet or Newspaper
Did you know that you can make good use of your used dryer sheets or old newspapers to help achieve a streak-free shine? While you may not have very many old newspapers lying around, you can use them or your old dryer sheets in order to remove residue, dust, and clean your mirror without scratching or leaving additional fibers on its surface.
I recommend cleaning with a cleaning solution that is already on this list in addition to using your dryer sheets or newspaper. You can either spray the mirror itself or spray the solution onto the dryer sheet, but I don’t recommend spraying your cleaning solutions onto your newspaper, given how absorbent it is. Your newspaper may not last very long for this particular cleaning task, but it can definitely help you get your glass looking streak free!
If you liked the idea of using disinfecting wipes on your mirrors or glass surfaces, did you know that they make glass cleaning wipes specifically designed for cleaning glass material? I recommend checking out this product available on Amazon by clicking here. While the design is essentially the same when compared to disinfecting wipes, the cleaning products used are very different.
These wipes can help you achieve more of a streak-free shine, especially when compared to disinfecting wipes. They are especially convenient, and are best used on mirrors regularly rather than during a deep clean. You may need something with a bit more power if you want to clean a very dirty mirror or glass surface!
Cleaning a Mirror FAQs
Still have questions regarding all of the ways to clean mirrors without leaving streaks? Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions so that you can get the answers that you need.
Should You Avoid Using Paper Towels When Cleaning a Mirror?
You don’t need to avoid using paper towels when cleaning a mirror, but there are many other more effective cleaning cloths to consider. Some of these include microfiber cloths as well as newspaper or used dryer sheets. You can even use a t-shirt or other fabric that doesn’t leave lint or fibers behind when cleaning.
This is the main issue when you consider whether or not to use paper towels on your mirror or glass surfaces. Paper towels, no matter the quality or price point, often leave dust and paper fibers behind while you clean. This is one of the main causes of streaking on a mirror or glass surface, so I recommend using other fabric options whenever possible.
Can You Wipe a Steamed-up Mirror?
Yes, you can wipe a steamed-up mirror, but you will need to consider a good way of doing it without leaving streaks behind once the steam clears. One of the best ways of accomplishing this is by using a microfiber cleaning cloth or t-shirts to completely remove any moisture and steam from the mirror. It is important to remove everything and leave the mirror well-ventilated after this to avoid streaks.
How Should You Clean a Hazy Mirror?
You can clean hazy mirrors effectively with alcohol or glass cleaner. You may need to clean the mirror multiple times, but even the dingiest of mirrors can be cleaned this way, especially spot treating with rubbing alcohol. However, you should keep your technique and cleaning cloths in mind before getting started. And know that you may need to clean the mirror a few times, depending on its wear and tear.
What Cloths Should You Avoid Using When Cleaning a Mirror?
There are a few different types of fabrics and cloths that you should avoid using when cleaning a mirror. Some of those fabrics include:
- Low quality paper towels
- Toilet paper or tissues
- Rough or scratchy fabrics, such as wool, denim, or polyester
- Regular towels used for bathing or dishes
- Any fabric with multiple weaves or textures
Any fabric with a rough or raised texture has the possibility of leaving lint and debris on your mirror, so it is best to avoid using these. You may also experience difficulties with low quality paper towels or other paper products, so try to find a cloth that doesn’t have many fibers or lint.
There are many different ways to clean mirrors without leaving streaks, so long as you have the right cleaning products and the proper technique to accomplish this. No matter what, you can clean your mirrors and glass with confidence knowing that multiple techniques found in this article can help you accomplish your cleaning goals!
Read our Related Mirror Cleaning Articles:
- Can You Clean a Mirror with Just Water?
- Can You Clean a Mirror with Toothpaste?
- Can You Clean a Mirror with Soda?
- Can You Clean a Mirror with Mineral Spirits?
- Can You Clean a Mirror with Bleach?
Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.