How to get smears off mirrors?

Aleda Fraser
by Aleda Fraser

What will clean a mirror with smears on them?

I have two mirrors in my house that have a smudgy film on them. I clean them and come back half an hour later and all the smudges are back.

  29 answers
  • Debi53 Debi53 on Jun 17, 2016
    I am not sure what is causing your smudges, but if you have them near a source of natural gas, the fumes will cause this. We have a mirror above our gas fireplace and as long as the pilot light is on, I always have a film on my mirror. If that is not the issue, maybe it is what you are using to clean. Try a drop of blue Dawn, and small amount of vinegar and a few cups of water. Spray your cloth--not the mirror--or soak and wring out your cloth and clean your mirror. Dry immediately with a lint free cloth. If this doesn't work, are you sure the smudges on the surface of the mirror or are they behind the glass?
  • Janet Allen Janet Allen on Jun 17, 2016
    I found Armorall automotive glass cleaner does a great job on not only on cars. It's wonderful on mirrors and house windows.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jun 17, 2016
    Try white vinegar mixed with water.
  • Jenny Campbell Jenny Campbell on Jun 18, 2016
    Do you have lights right above your mirror? Some people do and put 60w bulbs in that bakes the glass, so you need to go with a lower watt, I turn off the lights when doing mirrors, with a smudge you can first wash with a ammonia and warm water and dry with newspaper, Hope that helps!
  • B B on Jun 18, 2016
    1/2 cup ammonia a dash of regular blue Dawn and 12 oz of water in spray bottle. Spray on, wip off and you will have a streak free shine. GL
  • Karen Angiocchi Karen Angiocchi on Jun 18, 2016
    After cleaning with vinegar & water dry it with newspaper. No lint & no streaks!
  • Margaret Margaret on Jun 18, 2016

    Vinegar and some water. And if you have it, a chamois leather. If not use a microfiber cloth. Dry with newspaper. No film, no leftover lint etc. sometimes the old ways are the best.

  • Vickiebabbitt Vickiebabbitt on Jun 18, 2016

    I have done 1/4 rubbing alcohol and the rest water. It took off the smudges , it dries fast, and no streaking. It is the best thing I have done and cut time polishing those mirrors.

  • Judi Judi on Jun 19, 2016
    Diluted Dawn dish detergent works great on mirrors and windows also.
  • Pete Sakes Pete Sakes on Jun 26, 2016
    Add to a gallon of hot water 1 teaspoon blue dawn dish detergent, 1/2 Cup vinegar and 1/4 Cup ammonia. Don your gloves (ammonia will burn) then wash your mirror with this solution until smudgy film is gone, then clean with Windex.
  • Sandy Bronson Sandy Bronson on Jul 18, 2016

    Sprayway window cleaner is the best. It's gentle on your hands and smells great. It works well on back and stainless steel appliances as well. Be sure to use clean cloths or lint less paper towels.

  • Paul M Paul M on Jul 28, 2012
    Have you tried window cleaner? If the silver in the back is failing that is another issue entirely and it will need to be resilvered or replaced, as the case may be.
  • Anna M Anna M on Aug 08, 2012
    Rubbing alcohol. It's AMAZING for cleaning filmy mirrors!
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Aug 09, 2012
    If it is a old mirror the silver might need to be re-silvered. No amount of cleaning will work. If it is a fairly new mirror then it could be the products you have used on it before that have left a film. Including window cleaners. Alcohol and vinegar do work great on this. A glass cloth which is a smooth lint free cloth. Spray the cleaner onto the cloth never on the mirror. Clean and dry. While this works great on cleaning build up I wouldn't use it all the time. Because most people spray cleaners on mirrors directly and they get into the corners of frames and it etches or the mirrors because you can't get into the tiny owners of the frame and you can't dry it. If this is a old mirror re-silvering costs a lot so I would figure if it was valuable enough to warrent spending that kind of money.
  • Maria Maria on Sep 29, 2012
    I finally ended up using nail polish remover and it worked!
  • Anna M Anna M on Sep 29, 2012
    If you ever have film on your mirror you can use rubbing alcohol to get it off. It's a great window and mirror cleaner!
  • Janice Janice on Jul 01, 2021

    Here's the recipe I use: 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup white vinegar, and 1 Tbsp. cornstarch. Shake it all together in a spray bottle and then spray the mirror liberally and wipe from side to side using a micro cleaning cloth. Here's a video you might enjoy. showing why the side to side motion rather than the usual circular motion.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jul 01, 2021

    1/2 cup ammonia a dash of regular blue Dawn and 12 oz of water in spray bottle. Spray on, wip off and you will have a streak free shine.

  • Deb K Deb K on Jul 01, 2021

    Use only paper towels or cloths that have NOT been washed with fabric softener. Pour white vinegar into a spray bottle, then spray directly onto the mirror. You can wipe up the vinegar solution immediately with a clean paper towel to view the results.

    For tougher grime that won’t come away, try cleaning with a microfiber cloth, which adds a slight abrasion and is better for tougher stains. You can also try a jeweler’s rouge or cleaner for haze that won’t come off using other methods, and then buff with a dry cloth. The process can be labor-intensive and time-consuming, but it can work when nothing else has.

  • Dee Dee on Jul 01, 2021

    You can try a magic eraser to get the film off. But do not press hard. Then spray with ammonia and wipe with a microfiber cloth.

  • You use and spray glass cleaner on it's surface, start at the top corner of the mirror and wipe in a zig-zag pattern. If the cloth becomes too wet, flip it over to the dry side and finish.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Jul 01, 2021

    This is a no fail way to clean mirrors or windows: a bowl with warm soapy water with dish soap in it ,a squeegee, and a micro fiber cloth. Wash part of the window with the cloth. Wring out. It’s ok if there are suds. Then squeegee the water off from top to bottom. The water on the bottom clean with cloth. And keep doing that

  • Try white vinegar in a spray bottle. The vinegar should cut through the film.

  • Jj Jj on Jul 04, 2021

    I use Kleer-O-Fog lens cleaner on all my mirrors and computer screens. Works great. Put it on a small piece of flannel and rub on your mirror. Hope it works for you.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Jul 05, 2021

    The best thing I have every used is called SuperCloth. They are a bit pricey but I bought mine over 8 years ago from QVC. All you do is dampen and wipe.

    You can also try this product I found at the dollar tree:

    I haven't used on mirrors but they work great on stainless steel.

  • Lindsay Aratari Lindsay Aratari on Jul 15, 2021

    Try lemon essential oil

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Jul 07, 2021

    Have you tried just cleaning it with windex and used newspaper to polish it with the windex?

  • Ar Sayre Ar Sayre on Mar 03, 2018

    Try a half of lemon or coffee and a sponge. Use strong coffee. Just scrub it with the cut side of the lemon and then rinse. If it's still streaky, use newspaper to dry.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Feb 21, 2023

    Wipe over with Surgical Spirit!