How To Clean Antique Mirror Frames?

  • Antique furniture has all that it takes: while giving a feel of luxury and extravagance into our living space, every piece also brings in fascinating, unique history. Get an antique mirror frame for your interiors, and you’ll never have to invite your guests twice! 
  • While antique furniture is widely admired, cleaning it requires some extra attention. Before discovering the main principles of old days cleaning mirror glass and mirror frames, consider: What material is the mirror made of? How old is it? Is it damaged in any way?
  • In this article, we share hacks on taking good care of antique mirrors. No matter how scary it seems, you can easily clean such a unique mirror with our assistance.

Cleaning antique mirrors

Antique mirrors call for more attentive care than new ones. 

When they were produced, the common elements of interiors were supposed to last for their owner’s lifetime. But, in fact, they often outlived their owners’ lives—that’s why we are still dealing with some gorgeous, historical pieces of furniture, doing our best in the maintenance department to keep them in their best shape. 

Handling antique mirrors (both glass and frames) requires various cleaning methods and routines, depending on the number of factors. 

We’ll go through them in the following paragraphs. 

Mirrors and frames

The cleaning process takes a different course depending on whether we work on an antique frame or glass of an antique mirror itself.

Cleaning a glass of antique mirrors

The cleaning process must be gentle with glass; forget rubbing or scrubbing, and don’t use strong chemicals. 

Older mirrors are covered with a silver or mercury layer. While foggy, smudged, or darkened areas can add to the aesthetics (read about the “antiqued mirrors glass” effect in the questions part), it can be an issue for those who love their surfaces to be spotless.

Cleaning an antique mirror is more time-consuming but not impossible or even difficult. 

Here’s what you need:

  • rubbing alcohol,
  • plain water,
  • newspaper,
  • white vinegar,
  • a spray bottle,
  • a shaving cream,
  • a microfiber cloth;

Important: Any harsh and abrasive homemade or store-bought cleaning agents, such as baking soda, bleach, salt, dry cleaning chemicals, dishwashing liquid, etc., are dangerous to antique mirrors. Harsh chemicals can ruin the paint coating and cause other damage. 

To get old smudges off the surface of the antique glass, create your own cleaning product appropriate for old mirrors.

Take:

  • one cup of your rubbing alcohol,
  • a teaspoon of white vinegar,
  • one cup of pure water;

Mix your ingredients well before popping them into your spray bottle and using it. 

Take a soft microfiber cloth to clean the surface.

Important: Under no circumstances should you come up with the idea of using baking soda—it will damage your mirror in an instant. 

Use another hack to get more resilient layers of dirt off of glass surfaces. 

Take a spray bottle and pop the white vinegar in. Spray the vinegar over the surface.

Tip: If the frame of the mirror you’re cleaning is wooden, avoid using vinegar—the acid in this cleaning solution could leave watermarks or eat certain kinds of finishes.

Take your newspaper and rub the tough dirt or film off the affected surface. 

Now, grab your shaving cream and spray it over the surface to eliminate fogginess and add an extra shine effect. Next, gently wipe it over the surface with a microfiber cloth.

Pour water on the microfiber cloth and give your mirror clean a final rub down.

Use a microfiber cloth and not a tea towel—the latter has proven ineffective and leaves marks. 

Before cleaning, always dust the mirror frame using a soft paintbrush or a feather duster. 

Cleaning antique mirror frame

Before cleaning antique mirror frames, let us remind you which virtues to refresh before we get a hands-on experience:

  • patience—prepare for a slow and gentle process. Don’t rush! Recognize the most sensitive parts of your item, and be sure to treat them accordingly. In treating antique mirror frames, patience is vital. 
  • acknowledgment—sometimes what we need most is honesty—an antique item, as its name says, is old. It means that it will not, and it’s not supposed to look new. So instead of seeking perfection, treasure its uniqueness and age.
  • go easy—it’s handy to clean the antique mirror periodically, but try not to overdo it. Remove the dust as often as needed, but don’t clean the antique mirror frames more than once a month. 

To clean an antique mirror frame, follow the steps below:

1. Dust the mirror frame. 

Use a soft paintbrush or a feather duster and be super gentle during the process.

2. Prepare your own cleaner 

To make your cleaning solution, mix one part of white vinegar or rubbing alcohol with two parts of distilled water.

3. Test on a small area. 

Don’t clean the whole frame with your DIY cleaning solution immediately. First, apply your homemade cleaning agent to a small area. It will help you minimize damage if the novel solution isn’t as friendly as expected to your frame. 

4. Clean the frames. 

Dampen a soft cloth (preferably microfiber) with the cleaning solution and wipe the frames in a circular motion. With a lint-free cloth, you’ll get rid of all the moisture in an instant. 

Important: If you noticed some uncommon things happening on your antique items when your clean an antique mirror, such as they started peeling off some paint coat—reach out to the professionals to ask about the issue.

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Frequently Asked Questions

One of the traditional ways to make a new mirror resemble an antique is by painting its frame with antique silver. To do so, first, tape craft paper over the entire surface of the mirror to protect it from paint stains, using low-adhesive painter's tape. Then, spray the frame with metallic silver paint, keeping the spray bottle about a foot from the frame. The best technique is to move a can constantly, applying a light, even coat—so the paint doesn't run or pool. Allow the first coat to dry for several minutes and move on to the second layer.
Antiqued mirror, also called distressed or smoky, refers to a kind of decoration applied to mirrors. It's a cloudy, abstract mirror material meant to mimic the process that a mirror naturally undergoes as it ages. The antiqued mirror effect is supposed to make a mirror look older; a mirror used for this process is typically new.
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