The Best Easy Tips For How To Clean A Cloudy Mirror Or Glass

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Cloudy Mirrors Are Frustrating

So you cleaned your bathroom mirror and now it is cloudy, hazy, streaked or foggy looking. Look no further. This is the fastest, and easiest way to get a dirty mirror clean…without the streaks. In this article find out how to clean a cloudy mirror or glass in a few easy step.

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One of the most frustrating things is to put the time and energy in to getting clean mirrors just to have them look even worse when you are finished.  

You are left with something that is cloudy, hazy, streaked, or foggy, when all you wanted was a bright and shiny reflective surface that looked, well…clean.

So let me let you in on a little secret. 

how to clean a cloudy mirror with dish soap, microfiber cloths and a spray bottle

How To Clean A Cloudy Mirror With Only 4 Products

  • Water

Yup! It is that easy. Just follow the instructions to a clean mirror below.

cloudy mirror with brown wooden frame

How To Clean A Cloudy Mirror

Whether you are starting with a mirror that is cloudy, streaky, hazy, foggy, or just down right dirty, this method will work…the FIRST time. And I make my own cleaner, so it is cheap too.

Here is the Step by Step Cleaning Process for the Surface of Your Mirror (This works on glass as well)

1// Put 1 tsp of Dawn Dish Soap into a 750 ml spray bottle

2// Add about 24 ounces (3 cups) of hot water to the spray bottle.

3// Give the bottle a good shake. 

4// Do a quick wipe of the entire mirror with a dry cloth (preferably microfiber) to remove all of the dust.

5// Spray one section of the surface of the mirror with the hot soapy solution in your spray bottle. 

***(If there is sticky grime on the mirror from ordinary shaving cream, foam shaving cream, flossing, red rouge makeup, water spots etc, then you may need to spray those sections first and let them soak for a minute or two before spraying the rest of the mirror.)

6// Wipe the mirror in a circular motion, an S pattern, or a zig-zag pattern with the second clean microfiber cloth.  This is the only cloth that should ever be damp or wet from the cleaning solution.

7// Use the a third dry microfiber cloth and go over the section of mirror to dry it before it dries on its own. If you start to notice streaks, then refold the dry microfiber to a different dry side or switch to a 4th cloth that is dry. The trick here is that you do not want to dry the mirror with a damp cloth.

how to clean a cloudy mirror bathroom with gold framed mirrors with no cloudiness
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Voila! Your once streaky mirror is now a streak-free mirror.

You will find that diluted dish soap and water is the only cleaning solution you need.

Whether you have a hazy mirror, a foggy mirror, a streaky mirror, or a just plain dirty mirror, the above methods will work.

And just so you know, this diluted soap solution is not just a diy mirror cleaner. It is an all purpose cleaner you can use on any surface but wood and upholstery.

how to clean a cloudy mirror in a makeup compact

How To Clean A Small Cloudy Mirror On A Makeup Compact

I am sure you are not going to carry around spray bottles full of diluted dish soap water in your purse, so here is a different quick fix for a small compact mirror in your purse or makeup drawer.

Just use a clean cotton ball, cotton pad, or facial tissue (one without lotion) and run it over the mirror’s surface. Make sure you get around the edges really well. 

If that doesn’t work, you can add a little drop of clear hand sanitizer (which contains alcohol), or just a drop of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). Then wipe off with a clean lint free cloth, cotton ball, cotton pad, or lotion free facial tissue.

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Common Problems People Have When Cleaning A Mirror

One major common problem when you are cleaning a mirror is winding up with fog or streaks. This happens if you are not using the right product as a cleaner. 

Another common problem I see is using the wrong material to wipe the mirror down. Using the wrong cloth to wipe down the mirror will not give you good results. You will wind up with streaking and fogginess.

streaked window

What Not To Use To Clean A Cloudy Mirror


I see the tip to clean mirrors and glass with vinegar all over the internet. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love putting a cup of white vinegar in my laundry and I clean much of my home with vinegar. But sometimes, it is just not the right product for the job.

Whenever I have used vinegar on mirrors, glass, or other reflective surfaces (like my glossy hardwood floors) it just makes it all streaky and gross looking.

That is why I started to use soapy spray instead. It cuts grease and cleans your surfaces, resulting in a clear reflection.

Paper Towels

Paper towels are great for many things, but cleaning a mirror is not one of them. Most paper towels leave lint when they get wet. So instead of your reflective surface looking clean, it looks like it has dust particles all over it.

Terry Cloth Bath Towels or Wash Cloths

Bath towels and wash cloths are very lint-filled. So using them on a glass surface or mirror will again just lead to lint on the surface.

Abrasive Cleaners

An abrasive cleaner like Soft Scrub or a cleaning mixture with baking soda can cause irreparable damage to your mirrors and other reflective surfaces.

Make sure you never use a cleaner with tiny scrubbing granules on a mirror’s surface or surface of the glass.

Damp Cloth

Trying to dry a surface with a damp cloth will make your surface look smudgy. Use the method above instead for streak-free surfaces.

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Other surfaces you can clean this way

You can use this easy method on many other things as well. Try it on a full-length mirror, table glass surface, window glass, mirrored glass, your stainless steel appliances, and even your glossy hardwood floors.

Surfaces My Method May Not Work On

If you have an antique mirror, be careful using this method. I do not know how the soap will react with something vintage. And this method will not remove black spots from an old mirror. For best results, do separate research specific to your item.

If You Have Remaining Marks

If you find that you have remaining marks on your mirror after cleaning with the soapy water method above, then you can try one of these tips to remove them.

Dried on gunk from flossing teeth

Spray the pieces of gunk with more hot soapy water and allow the pieces to soak a little longer. You can also try a microfiber cloth and your fingernails to help dislodge the pieces. Then follow steps 6 and 7 above to make sure you don’t get any streaks or fogginess.

Lipstick stain

Most lipstick should come of with the soapy water method above because the soap breaks down the oil in lipstick. But if not, rubbing alcohol will help cut through the oiliness of the lipstick.

If the lipstick is more waxy in substance, you can break down the wax with a little bit of vegetable oil rubbed on the spot. When you have removed the lipstick, follow the steps above and the soapy water will remove the oil.

Dried Lotion

Dried lotion should come off with the soapy water solution from above, but you can also try alcohol if it does not.

Marker or pen ink

Permanent marker, dried on dry erase marker, or ink will come off a mirror with rubbing alcohol. Ethanol, will also work, and so will hand sanitizer though you may have to do several treatments since hand sanitizer is weaker.

Wax Pencil or Wax Spot

If you find that a price was written on your mirror with wax pencil or you spill some wax on your mirror or glass table, vegetable oil will help you dissolve the wax. If there is an oily residue left behind, try rubbing alcohol to remove the oil. Then follow the soapy water method under the section “How To Clean A Cloudy Mirror” above.

Sticky Residue from Tape

Did a sticker or tape leave behind some sticky residue on your glass surface or mirror? Then try vegetable oil to help remove the adhesive.

WD40 can also work if you need something a little more heavy duty.

You will need to work the oil into the adhesive with your fingers and scrape at it with your fingernails. And if the oils don’t work, then try rubbing alcohol and a little bit of scraping with your fingernails. When it is removed, clean your mirror with steps 1-7 at the beginning of this post.

Tougher stains

Tougher stains are normally not present on mirrors since their surfaces are slick, and somewhat easy to clean. But you can always try hydrogen peroxide for discoloration. Hydrogen peroxide does not actually remove staining, but it can help take the color out of stains. There is no guarantee that this will work, it just depends on the type of staining.

Black spots

Many old mirrors also have black spots. According to on website, these spots can be caused by varying temperatures, harsh chemicals, excessive moisture, or poor ventilation around your mirror. [source]

You cannot clean these spots since they are from oxidation. The only solution is to paint over them with a reflective paint or take it to a custom glass place for repair.

When You Are Finished Cleaning Your Mirror

If you use the diluted soap method you will no longer have to look at yourself through streaky mirrors. This is the by far the best way I know to get a mirror surface clean (or any reflective surface) with simple items like soap water and a clean cloth. This just goes to show that cleaning mirrors doesn’t have to be hard and if you follow these simple steps, you will have streak-free shine on any mirror, glass or reflective surface in no time.

Happy Cleaning!

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