The Secret to a Streak-Free Mirror


A streaky mirror is not a clean mirror, despite the number of times you’ve tried cleaning it.

Streaks are frustrating, unsightly and off-putting.  We all think we know how to clean mirrors, but once you learn my secret product and technique you’ll have the shiniest mirrors on the block.

For starters, here’s what doesn’t work.  newspaper isn’t what it used to be.  The inks used today leave residues behind, making your mirrors generally streaky.  So if you try using newspaper and get unsavoury results, that’s why.  No more newspaper to clean mirrors.  Paper towel leaves small flecks of lint behind, which doesn’t look the greatest, plus it can get wasteful.  So what we need is an non-streaking, lint-free cloth to help us along the way. Further, there might be gunk on the mirror that requires cleaning prior to the actual mirror cleaning, so that we can easily tend to.  Another thing to remember is that it’s important to use a designated glass cleaner (either product or recipe), because they are designed to be non-sudsing meaning they won’t leave residue (streaks) behind.  If you use any old cleaning product, you’ll likely see a haze over the mirror and if that is the case, you need to clean that off with some glass cleaner.  See, no one tells you these things!

So to clean your mirror like a pro, here’s what you need:

  1. A flat-weave microfiber cloth – any other cloth will not give you the same results, and remember, it’s your time spent cleaning, so the right tools saves you a lot of that time. You want flat-weave so that no debris can cling to the cloth, and further, they promote fast drying and lint-free finishing.
  2. Rubbing alcohol – yes, that’s the secret.
  3. Cotton pad – for the rubbing alcohol, stay tuned.
  4. Glass cleaner – I use vinegar and water, but you can use your favourite brand or recipe.

Let’s get started!

  1. Place some rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad, and scan the mirror for any globs or goopy build up (think: hairspray, toothpaste splatters, etc.) and scanning from the top to the bottom, rub them off one by one.  Work quickly, because rubbing alcohol dries fast.  This is akin to spot treating stains on laundry before washing them.
  2. Then, spray the mirror down with your glass cleaner, making sure it is misted, not soaking (this makes more work for you).
  3. Fold your microfiber cloth into quarters, that way you’ll have 4 clean surfaces to work with and you can flip the cloth around as required to ensure you are working with a clean surface as required.
  4. Start at the top left corner and drag the cloth across to the top right corner, then swoop down and head back toward the left side of the mirror, continue this zig zag until you get to the bottom of the mirror.  This is what I call the ‘S Pattern’ and it ensures you never miss a square inch of any surface (it also helps eliminate streaks and saves you energy).
  5. Check for any scuff marks by checking the mirror at a 45 degree angle, this sheds extra light on the mirror and illuminates streaks you can’t see looking at the mirror straight on. Spot clean each stain by spraying your cloth and quickly wiping the streak and buffing dry.

And, you’re done!

The whole process should take you under 90 seconds per mirror.  I think this is the most efficient way to clean a mirror, and after years in the cleaning world, I can assure you, this works like a charm.


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Melissa Maker is the host of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube, editor-at-large of, and founder of Clean My Space (a well-known Toronto-based cleaning service). She's been knee-deep in the cleaning game since 2006. Follow Melissa: @MelissaMaker on Instagram, SnapChat & Twitter!


  1. Followed directions and my mirrors are crystal clear they are two bathroom vanity mirrors framed in dark wood with lighting shinning directly down on them every time i thougt i had them clean before i would walk in from a different angle and streaks with dust! Thank u 👍

  2. I clean my entire mirror and really any non-porous service with only rubbing alcohol. I find it doesn’t streak and it’s a killer of germs.

  3. Fantastic info for mirrors and here is some additional info. Use shaving cream to polish afterward and your bathroom mirror will not streak for quite awhile.

  4. I am having a hard time getting this to you and hope you can help. I need to know how to fold a fitted sheet without the time and pain of laying it down and “faking” the fold by stashing misfitted pieces under or inside another fold. I am raising my 2 grandchildren and have absolutely no time to get on the computer, so if you could email me or get my attention somehow I would greatly appreciated it. ‘thanks!

  5. Do you have any tips for mirrors that have a film on them from running a humidifier? I try cleaning my mirrors in all of our bedrooms but the film is so hard to get off and end up looking very streaky after trying all kinds of tricks. After about a week of running the humidifier- my kids like to write messages in the film- isn’t that fun? Please help!!

  6. Thank you for your tips. I have a touch of OCD and am very meticulous about my cleaning. I have mirrored double door closets. Getting dusky, wasn’t sure how to make them squeaky. I’m disabled too, and energy doesn’t last so I try to make the best of my time and clean so I’m satisfied.

    • Ive tried it and sometimes you can get away with it if your mirror is small and not very dusty. However if you are trying to cover a larger area that is prone to dust and dirt it will be hard to get the dust off without the tight knit weave of the mirror cloth. ( I work at a cleaning company and have tried cleaning mirrors without them and its not fun!)

  7. Amazing! Will this prevent bathroom mirrors from fogging up after hot showers, or at least reduce the extent to which they fog up if done every few days?

  8. I like to use two or three coffee filters (the round cup shaped ones – not the cone shaped ones) as my window cleaning cloth. They are lint free and they polish the glass to a beautiful shine, even if you use water alone.

  9. Hi Melissa – in Australia rubbing alcohol is not available except in tiny, expensive bottles and even then it’s not full strength due to a safety law. Very frustrating, but I was wondering whether there is a good substitute? Thanks 🙂

  10. I’m glad that I tried the vinegar/water cleaning solution to clean the mirror because it works! I will never buy glass cleaner again.

    • Lucille – you don’t even need to use vinegar. After cleaning mirrors for too many years with every newfangled product, I discovered using the hottest water from the tap on either a clean wash cloth or clean tee shirt will not only clean mirrors without scrubbing, there are no streaks. And they look better than new and take one tenth the time. They don’t fog up in bath and it is easy – just wipe the hot water end of your cloth over mirror once. It will be wet. Let it air dry. You will be shocked at the results.

      • I have floor-to-ceiling mirrors and the only streak-free shine was obtained with an old t-shirt and hot water. I did have to clean the residue of ‘cleaning” products i’d used previously (Windex and ammonia). Using those products 3x!! Ugh. A million thanks for your practical, immediate solution! Big hugs!

  11. I have a norwex microfiber cloth and window polisher cloth that works with water. LOVE IT!! Your mirror and windows will sparkle. (Nope I don’t sell it just love the product)

  12. Excellent! Will the same method work for cleaning the interior windows on my car? They are coated with a cloudy film and I cannot get them clean and streak free no matter how many times I clean them with Windex and a paper towel or a microfiber (terry-style). UGH!!!

  13. Years ago I discovered that the best mirror or glass cleaner is water, ammonia and a tablespoon of corn starch. Try it Melissa and let me know what you think!

  14. Tested the lint free cloth using a flour sack towel. Started first with microfiber cloth and a diluted mixture of water & Dawn, rinsed with water & dried…then used another flour sack cloth and alcohol as you suggested…PERFECTION! the reason I did so many steps was due to construction dust. I am passing on the link to your site…this has “cleared” a lot of the mystery of perfect windows & mirrors…THANK YOU!

  15. Speaking of streaks… I have laminate wood floors and everything I try to clean them with causes streak. Please tell me the best way to get a clean foor without streaks.

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