How to Clean a Mirror (& Say Goodbye to Streaks)

You deserve to look at your beautiful self in a mirror with no streaks! Here's how to clean yours the easy way.

Published November 28, 2022
Woman cleaning bathroom mirror

Nothing brings your bathroom together like a sparkly clean mirror - it's a true thing of beauty. But sometimes, those streaks just refuse to go away. That's when it's time to throw the Windex out the window and follow tips for how to clean a mirror to a sparkling, streak-free shine.

How to Clean a Mirror Without Windex

Putting on your makeup while you're half asleep is hard enough without having to deal with smudges and spots on your mirror. Plus, you wouldn't want your guests to think mirror streaks are your thing. Out of Windex? No worries! Instead of wasting time running to the store, learn how to get your mirror streak-free with a few ingredients you're sure to have in your pantry.

White Vinegar Mixture

White vinegar is good for more than just adding to your salad or marinating your meat. It's one of the easiest and cheapest green household cleaners you can find. For cleaning mirrors, you need:

  • 1 cup of distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
  • Spray bottle
  • Microfiber cloth

You might be thinking cornstarch, really? But actually, cornstarch works effectively to help get rid of the grime.

  1. Mix your ingredients in the spray bottle. Shake well.
  2. Spray it on a microfiber cloth.
  3. Work your microfiber cloth from side to side in an S motion from the top to the bottom of the mirror.
  4. Take a clean cloth and give the mirror another good wipe.
  5. Move around the room, looking at the mirror from different angles.
  6. Hit any spots you might have missed again.

Some professionals might recommend using newspapers rather than a microfiber cloth. However, the ink can leave you with more of a mess than you want to deal with.

Water and Microfiber Cloth

Is your mirror pretty clean but a little streaky? Then, you don't need anything but water and a microfiber cloth to get it clean. It's all about buffing out your mirror to make sure no streaks remain.

  1. Wet down a microfiber cloth.
  2. Wring it out well.
  3. Use horizontal swipes moving from the top to the bottom of the mirror.
  4. Follow with a microfiber glass cloth.
  5. Test different angles to ensure all the streaks are gone.
Woman cleaning mirror with rag

Rubbing Alcohol

You're fresh out of white vinegar, and your mirror has a lot of hairspray residue on it - you had a little too much fun with the 80s fest! Reach for the rubbing alcohol to get rid of this mess. Rubbing alcohol is also great if your mascara application went astray and hit the mirror.

  1. Put some rubbing alcohol on a microfiber cloth.
  2. Wipe down the gunky areas.
  3. Add more and repeat as needed.
  4. Wet a cloth.
  5. Wipe the whole mirror using the side-to-side S motion from top to bottom.
  6. Buff dry with a dry microfiber cloth using the same motion.


Do you have a lot of fingerprints on your mirror? Maybe you have some nose prints too. Toothpaste can be a great hack to get rid of stubborn smudges your littles left behind on the mirror.

  1. Put a bit of white toothpaste on a cloth.
  2. Spread it evenly across the mirror.
  3. Let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes.
  4. Buff it away.

How to Clean an Old Cloudy Mirror

White vinegar or rubbing alcohol come in handy for your run-of-the-mill mirror in your bathroom. But, if you have an old or antique mirror, you might want to be careful putting white vinegar or other chemicals on it. Or, they might not work at all. In that case, pick up some jeweler's rouge (it's a buffing compound).

  1. Rub the rouge all over the mirror. Give it a nice even coat.
  2. Wipe the cleaner away with a microfiber cloth.
  3. Repeat until all the stains and grime are gone.

How to Prevent Fogging on a Bathroom Mirror

Mornings are hectic. You've got to shower, get the kids ready, take out the pets, etc. You don't have time to try to mess with your mirror so you can complete your morning routine. Because let's face it, a mirror never cooperates with that damp towel you're wiping it down with. Rather than start your morning frustrated, add some homemade defogger to your mirror. Bonus, it cleans it too.

White Vinegar & Dish Soap Defogger

Just grab a little bit of Dawn and white vinegar, and it's defogger time!

  • 1 teaspoon of dish soap (Dawn recommended)
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • Spray bottle
  • Microfiber cloth

Clean and prevent fogging in one swoop.

  1. Mix everything in the spray bottle and shake.
  2. Apply the defogger to the mirror.
  3. Wipe horizontally using a microfiber cloth.
  4. Repeat every few days to ensure maximum defogging.

Shaving Cream

The shaving cream method is so easy. Barbasol Original works best, but you can also find success with other brands. Other than that, you just need a microfiber cloth.

  1. Add a bit of shaving cream to your hand.
  2. Put a thin coat across the entire mirror.
  3. Wipe it away until all the shaving cream is removed.
  4. Enjoy your fog-free mirror.
  5. Apply every few days or so.

Tips to Avoid a Hazy Mirror and Streaks

Who wants a streaky mirror? No one. But mirrors can be kind of particular. So, it can be helpful to have a few tips under your belt when it comes to finding that mirror magic.

  • Avoid using paper towels to clean mirrors.
  • Spray your solution on the cloth rather than the mirror.
  • Clean any solution sprayed on the mirror quickly to avoid puddling or drying.
  • Be careful of cleaners that can damage the mirror's surface, especially for old mirrors.
  • Avoid wiping in circles when cleaning a mirror. You are just redistributing dirt.

Simple Ways to Clean a Mirror With Natural Ingredients

Let's face it. Commercial window cleaner can be pretty harsh on your mirrors. So rather than hurt the finish, make your own cleaner. With a little bit of white vinegar, toothpaste, or even plain ol' water, you can have that mirror sparkling and shining. Your mirrors are going to be the envy of the neighborhood!

How to Clean a Mirror (& Say Goodbye to Streaks)