How to keep an Antique Mirror the “Fairest of Them All”.

Friday 11th June 2021 - Belle Gait


How to keep an Antique Mirror the “Fairest of Them All”.

Learn some tips about caring for your antique mirrors


Whether your home is full of mirrors or you have a select few, they play a vital role in homes. For most of us, looking in the mirror is a critical part of a morning routine, whether grooming your brows or beard, touching up makeup or just making sure your outfit looks good! People also love to use mirrors to improve the aesthetics of their home. A gorgeous mirror doesn’t just give you something to look in but also to look at!


Mirrors are often used to reflect light and give the illusion of space. With a plethora of unique shapes and frames, antique mirrors are becoming increasingly popular. They add a beautiful focal point to a room thanks to their interesting and ornate frame decorations. However, if you want to keep that mirror the fairest of them all, you will need to clean the mirror and frame regularly. Let’s see how!


What should I consider before cleaning the mirror?


Antique mirrors come in different shapes and designs and, of course, depending on the era, will be made from various materials. You might need to clean some mirrors differently. Consider these factors when preparing to clean the mirror:


The age of the mirror

What is the mirror frame made of?

Is the mirror already damaged?


If your mirror has blurry spots that look like trails of fingers, you may need to speak to an antique repairer. Most mirrors are hung on the wall, and this makes them vulnerable to moisture collecting at the back. Over time, this moisture exposure causes the silver layer to deteriorate and peel away at the back of the mirror. If that is the case with your antique mirror, then you may need to get a professional to repair it.


What should I use to clean the mirror?


Mirrors seem to attract smudges every time someone breathes in the same room as them, and they certainly attract dust with every passer-by.


As alluring as it may be to grab a bottle of glass cleaner and go to town, this could be a fatal error for antique-looking glasses. Instead of harsh and abrasive store-bought cleaning agents, try a homemade solution of rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, and distilled water. Chemicals such as bleach, soda, dry cleaning chemicals, salt and dishwashing liquid can ruin the paint coating on the frame or damage the wood.


A cleaner made of rubbing alcohol, vinegar and water will evaporate far more quickly than the cleaning products available in stores which means they are less likely to seep into your frame and cause damage.  


Using a microfibre cloth, spray the solution onto the fabric, not directly onto the mirror and then clean the glass carefully. Try to avoid getting too close to or too rough with the frames.



What if there is a film on the mirror?


Maybe you just discovered your long-lost looking glass in the loft, and it’s got a layer of dirt or film on it. You can still use your vinegar solution, but grab an old newspaper instead of a microfibre cloth. Again, take care to avoid the frame being sprayed with any solution. Use the newspaper to rub the film off; you’re aiming for a gleaming exterior. After this, grab some shaving cream, spray the surface carefully and use a microfibre cloth to wipe it off.



What about the frame?



As we mentioned above, you should avoid any vinegar or rubbing alcohol making contact with the frame, especially if it’s wooden! First, dust the frame of your mirror. You should be really gentle and use a feather duster or a soft paintbrush. You could also use a microfibre cloth and plain water if needed. Of course, if the frame is a protected wood, grab some polish.



Some additional points to remember  


Be Patient: antique items can be more fragile, and the cleaning process should be gentle and slow. Rushing the job might cause a chip or even break in a mirror that is irreplaceable. Taking your time when cleaning your antique mirror will also allow you to identify if any repairs are needed.


Remember, it’s an antique: Antiques are old; they cannot look or behave like a new modern piece. Treasuring the uniqueness of your antique mirror is very important.


If you need an antique mirror in your house, why not look at this antique French gilded mirror – it’s consigned to the Stamford Auction Rooms sale on 26th June. Bowler & Binnie Ltd have consigned this mahogany framed mirror to their sale on 12th June if you fancy full length.


Our sellers have a vast range of antique mirrors available – Create your account and get hunting here.