How to Care For Your Antique Mirrors

antique wall mirrors

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We have mirrors at home for a variety of reasons. For most people, mirrors are an essential item when preparing to leave the house in the morning. You need a mirror to touch up your makeup, shave effectively, tie your tie and many more. Additionally, mirrors can help you improve the aesthetics of your home, thanks to their unique shapes, antique designs and beautiful frame decorations. A mirror in your living room will add more light to your living space and make it appear larger. However, you need to regularly clean your mirrors and frames to maintain their attractiveness.

Things to consider before cleaning the mirror

Antique mirrors come in varying designs, shapes and sizes and are made of different materials that require varying approaches when cleaning. For example, you can devalue some antique furniture if the cleaning process eliminates some history from it, like some stains with a story behind them. Some of the factors to consider when cleaning an antique mirror include:

  • The material the mirror is made of
  • How old the mirror is
  • If the mirror already has a damage

Best materials for cleaning antique mirror frames

Most antique mirrors share common problems:

  • They attract dust every time someone passes by them
  • They may have smudge and stripes on the surface due to moisture
  • greasy stains and fingerprints when touched

White vinegar, rubbing alcohol and pure water are best for cleaning antique mirrors if you prefer using homemade cleaning assistants. You should avoid using any store-bought or homemade abrasive and harsh cleaning agent as it can cause more harm than good to your old friend. Chemicals such as bleach, soda, dry cleaning chemicals, salt and dishwashing liquid can ruin the paint coating on the frame or damage the wood.

The benefit of the cleaner made of rubbing alcohol, vinegar and water is that it evaporates quickly than the cleaning products available in stores, leaving your frames clean and dry after a short time. This means that you don’t need to move your mirrors outside to dry.

How to clean old mirror frames

You can follow the steps below when cleaning your antique mirror frames for the best results.

  • Dust the mirror frame. You should use a soft paintbrush or a feather duster and ensure that you are super gentle during the whole process.
  • Mix the cleaning solution (can be homemade or bought from a store). It is advisable to use white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Mix one part of the vinegar or rubbing alcohol with two parts of distilled water.
  • Test with a small area. It is advisable to apply your homemade cleaning agent to a small area before applying it to the other parts of the frame. This process will help you minimise damage in case the solution is not friendly to your frame. You can proceed if the frame reacts well.
  • Clean the frames. Dampen a clean, soft cloth with the cleaning solution and gently wipe the frames in a circular motion. The best type of cloth to use is a microfiber cloth.

Main principles when cleaning your antique mirror frames

  • Patience. Due to the fragility of antique items, the cleaning process should always be gentle and slow. Patience when cleaning will help you identify the most sensitive parts of the frame, thus taking the necessary precautions. You should be on the lookout for parts that have started peeling and fragile areas.
  • Acknowledgment. Since an antique item is old, you should accept that it cannot look like a new piece. The best thing is to treasure its uniqueness instead of seeking perfection.
  • Minimise the frequency. While it is important to keep your mirror frames clean, you should avoid overdoing them for antique mirrors due to their fragility. The more you clean, the more the risk of causing damages. You can dust once every week since they always attract dust, but you should avoid cleaning the antique mirror frames more than once a month.

Final Thoughts

If you are lucky to have an antique mirror at home, you must know how fragile it can be. Cleaning these mirrors is challenging, meaning you should approach them with a lot of gentleness and care. It is advisable to never use harsh chemicals when cleaning your antique mirror frames as they can lead to damages like peeling off the paint. Use the above antique mirror frame cleaning process for the best results without any damage.

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