How to clean mirrors without streaks - smart tips to make your mirrors sparkle

Transform your mirrors from grubby to gleaming with our expert tips

Dark grey chest of drawers with bar setup underneath mirror with industrial shutters beside oversized lamp
(Image credit: BHS)

Cleaning the mirrors can be one of the more frustrating tasks of the house, as often, they can still be a streaky mess after giving them what we think is a good clean. Sometimes they'll look even worse than they did before, which is nothing short of infuriating. The only way to avoid this is to learn how to clean mirrors without streaks. 

Like with learning how to clean windows, there are a few handy hacks that are guaranteed to leave your looking-glass sparkling and steak-free. It's no secret that glass is one of the harder materials to keep clean, but it's important that we adopt the best cleaning practices so the mirrors in our house can stay spotless all year long.

'Clever use of mirrors within your home can add elegance and even create an illusion of space - but they can also make your home look grimy if your mirrors are dirty or streaked,' says Emily Barron, Cleaning Expert, Property Rescue.

To avoid your mirrors hindering your home's aesthetic, we've asked the experts how to clean mirrors without streaks so that they can sparkle and shine, whatever room they're in.

White room with dressing table and mirror

(Image credit: Future PLC)

How to clean mirrors without streaks

Whether it's bedroom mirror ideas or your beloved mirror above the bathroom sink, the mirrors in your house will need regular cleaning to stay in pristine condition. To learn how to clean mirrors without streaks, you'll first need to make sure you have a few essentials to get the job done.

What you need to clean a mirror

  • Microfibre cloths
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Newspaper
  • Bucket
  • Toothbrush or cotton buds
  • Rubbing alcohol (optional)
  • Lemon juice (optional)

1. Assess the grime on your mirror

White bathroom with vanity unit

(Image credit: Future PLC / Colin Poole)

The varying levels of dirt, build-up and grime on your mirror will result in a few different cleaning methods. For example, calcium deposits can be identified by white, textured spots, while limescale, which can be difficult to remove, can be identified by its milky white deposit.

2. Choose your cleaning materials

Ever since Kim and Aggie started cleaning up people's houses, we've discovered the joy of the store cupboard essential - white vinegar - as a cheap and effective cleaning product. It seems that cleaning with vinegar knows no bounds, as the experts say it can make your mirrors sparkle too. 

'Grab yourself a spray bottle and fill it with equal parts of water and white vinegar,' says cleaning guru Emily. 'The vinegar should cut through any limescale or calcium deposits on the mirror.'

3. Clean mirrors so they sparkle

Desk nook under round mirror and beside statement wallpaper

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

If your mirrors aren't too dirty, you can clean them using just warm water, applied and rubbed dry (in even, circular motions to avoid smears) with a microfibre cloth. Warm water is sufficient for surface-level, daily cleans where you just want to give the mirror a quick refresh. 

The real secret to learning how to clean mirrors without streaks is to use newspaper. This is a fail safe tip that all hairdressers swear by, and if there is anyone who knows mirrors, it's hairdressers. Use a sheet of newspaper to buff the mirror and it will come out sparkling and streak free.

How to remove limescale from your mirror

Mirror bathroom cabinet above sink on wooden storage unit

(Image credit: Plumbing Superstore)

Mirrors carrying limescale will require something a little stronger than warm water. This is where the white vinegar comes in, as it will break down the limescale deposits naturally. Simply follow the step above using a diluted solution of white vinegar and warm water, using as much elbow grease as you can muster. 

If after a good wipe down with the vinegar you're still seeing limescale, try adding some lemon juice into the solution for an extra bit of cleaning power. You can also use cotton buds or a toothbrush to spot clean, and focus on the areas carrying stubborn bits of limescale. Dip the cotton bud or toothbrush in pure white vinegar, or rubbing alcohol if you have any.

How to keep steamed-up mirrors at bay

white bathroom with metallic rimmed mirror above grey cabinet

(Image credit: Future PLC/Adam Carter)

Steam is a sure way to spoil the look of your favourite bathroom mirror, but fortunately there's a hack that will keep the fogginess at bay and let your mirrors sparkle all day long.

'Shaving foam is a great way to prevent your bathroom mirror from steaming up,' reveals Sarah Dempsey, Cleaning Expert, MyJobQuote. 'Put a bit of shaving foam on your finger and then spread it over the surface of the mirror. Then, wipe the surface clean with a microfibre cloth. Use a side-to-side motion when wiping the surface to prevent streaks.'

According to Sarah, this simple trick will be enough to keep your mirrors steam-free for weeks. Say goodbye to foggy mirrors and hello to streak-free reflections!

What should you not clean mirrors with?

Mirror with black frame on grey wall above wooden unit

(Image credit: Real Stone, Tile & Bathroom)

'When cleaning your mirror, avoid using any soaps or additives as these do not evaporate - and it's these that are the culprits when it comes to those unsightly streaks,' says Emily, Property Rescue. 'Also, never use a scrubbing pad or abrasive brush to clean your mirror (no matter how dirty it is) as these can scratch the glass and ruin the mirror.'

Stick to microfibre cloths to do the majority of the cleaning. A toothbrush is OK to use for spot cleaning, as the bristles aren't abrasive enough to damage the glass. And in terms of cleaning solutions, avoid soapy products like washing-up liquid.

'You should avoid cleaning mirrors with washing-up liquid as this can cause streaks,' says cleaning expert Sarah. 'Also, avoid using paper towels for wiping your mirror as they can leave small amounts of lint on the mirror.'

What can I use to clean my mirror without streaks?

To achieve the desired streak-free finish, we recommend buffing the mirror with a sheet of newspaper after going in with white vinegar spray and a microfibre cloth.

'Spray a white vinegar solution directly onto the glass of your mirror and, using a damp cloth, immediately spread the solution across the glass; making sure that you include all edges and corners', says Emily. 'Rinse the cloth and then use it to remove the excess cleaning solution.' 

Then use the newspaper to pick up any remaining streaks. Just make sure you don't rub the newspaper around the glass, as the ink may come off and leave marks.

'Another great tool for preventing streaks on a mirror is a squeegee', suggests Sarah. 

'Simply use the squeegee from side to side to remove all of the water. Then, wipe the mirror with a cloth from side to side to ensure it is completely dry.'

Deputy Editor

Jennifer is the Deputy Editor (Digital) for Homes & Gardens online. Prior to her current position, she completed various short courses a KLC Design School, and wrote across sister brands Ideal Home, LivingEtc, 25 Beautiful Homes, Country Homes & Interiors, and Style at Home. 

With contributions from