How to Clean Mirrors Without Leaving Streaks and Lint Behind

(Last Updated On: October 30, 2023)

You may make some common mistakes when cleaning mirrors. Let’s reflect on solutions to make this chore more effective.

You may know how to clean a mirror and what products to use. But if you wipe a paper towel with Windex in circles, you’re making two big mistakes.

First, commercial cleaners work, but you can make an equally effective homemade solution. This avoids adding unnecessary (maybe harmful) chemicals at home and reduces plastic waste.

Second, using paper towels and wiping in circles needs to be corrected. So that’s three mistakes! Learn a sustainable mirror cleaning method and tricks to prevent streaks and lint.


  • Microfiber cloths
  • Rubbing alcohol (optional)
  • Bamboo rounds (optional)
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Distilled water
  • Spray bottle
  • Glass cleaner (optional)

Considerations How to Clean Mirrors?

Clean the Frame First

How to Clean Mirrors Without Leaving Streaks

If your mirror has a frame or stand, clean it first. This may seem obvious, but a dirty frame can make a sparkling mirror look bad. If you tend the structure after the mirror, you’ll likely have to reclean the mirror. Residue or smudges from the frame will get on it. And who wants extra work?

Which Cleaner to Use

We recommend a DIY cleaning solution with ingredients you likely have. But we know it’s not for everyone. If using a commercial mirror cleaner, choose one made specifically for glass.

Making a simple vinegar-water solution at home is easy, less toxic, cheaper, and Earth-friendly. It also prevents bathroom mirror fog for about a week. To increase defogging, spray it on and let it sit for 60 seconds before wiping it off.

Keep in mind vinegar is abrasive. Please don’t use it on porous surfaces like stone counters or deteriorating grout. It can damage finishes or seals with prolonged use.

What to Wipe With

How to Clean Mirrors Without Leaving Streaks

You may reach for a newspaper or paper towel to clean mirrors. But these single-use items could be more eco-friendly. They also leave lint, dust, paper bits, or ink on the mirror.

Instead, use a lint-free cloth or microfiber towel. These lift up dirt and grease without leaving lint behind. When done, toss the cloth in the wash instead of the trash. If using a newspaper, pick an older one. It will have less ink.

Consider Steam-Cleaning

If you have a steam cleaner with a squeegee attachment, you have a great way to clean mirrors. Steamers work well without harsh chemicals or extra products. Just attach the squeegee to the nozzle. Then, guide the steamer up and down the mirror. Watch the steam work its magic!

What You Need:

Vinegar Method

  • Microfiber cloth
  • Glass cleaner (like Windex) or distilled white vinegar and water
  • Spray bottle

Baking Soda Method

  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Microfiber cloth

How to Clean a Mirror With Vinegar

How to Clean Mirrors Without Leaving Streaks

Step 1: Mix a Solution

To make a DIY solution:

  1. Mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water in a spray bottle.
  2. Shake well to combine.
  3. Use distilled water if you have hard water at home.
  4. Skip this if using a commercial cleaner.

Step 2: Spray

Spray the vinegar mix or glass cleaner onto the cloth. Don’t spray it directly on the mirror. This prevents the cleaner from seeping behind the silver coating. It can cause black tarnish marks or rust.

Step 3: Wipe

How to Clean Mirrors Without Leaving Streaks

Mr. Miyagi’s “wax on, wax off” circular method doesn’t work well for mirrors. Rubbing in circles puts dust back on the surface. This leaves streaks.

For best results, wipe in a tight S-pattern from top to bottom. Cover the entire mirror in one swipe.

Use a microfiber cloth and wipe in an S-pattern starting at the top. Work your way down without going over wiped areas.

How to Clean Hard Water Stains off Mirrors

Most U.S. homes have hard water. This can leave ugly white mineral stains as droplets dry. Depending on the minerals, the stains may be brown or rust-colored.

These hard water spots are tough to remove from mirrors. Though mild stains can wait till cleaning day, the longer they sit, the harder they are to remove.

The best way is to make a paste that dries on the stain and lifts it off quickly. Here’s how:

Step 1: Create a Paste

In a small bowl, mix equal parts baking soda and vinegar. It should have a toothpaste-like consistency.

Step 2: Smear the Paste

Apply the paste to the hard water spots. Gently rub it into the stains with your fingers. Then let it dry.

Step 3: Wipe and Dry

Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe off the paste. If needed, dry with another clean cloth.

What to Do About a Hazy or Streaky Mirror

You cleaned your mirrors, but they are still hazy or streaky. Some common issues cause this. But don’t worry! We have tips to fix each one and get your mirrors sparkling clean again.

Avoid Hard Water

With hard water, your homemade cleaner may cause a hazy mirror. Hard water leaves tiny mineral particles when drying. This can make the mirror look hazy.

Without installing a whole-house water softener (a good idea), use distilled water for DIY cleaners. You can find it by the gallon at most grocery stores.

Avoid Harmful Chemicals

Some chemicals and cleaners are harmful to mirrors. They can cause haziness, streaks, and other issues:

  • Ammonia can make tinted mirrors chip, discolor, get cloudy, or peel.
  • Bleach leaves spots and dulls mirrors over time.
  • Multi-purpose cleaners often leave a toxic residue that creates a haze.
  • Soapy cleaners leave streaky residues, too.

For mirrors, stick to DIY solutions with vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or isopropyl alcohol. Or use commercial glass cleaners.

Clean Frequently

Frequently cleaning mirrors prevent the buildup of grime and chemicals. This keeps them looking their best. Clean them more often to make the job easier.