Most people have visited a Georgian or Victorian-era house only to see a stunning mirror hanging in the hallway or the sitting room.

As an item, antique mirrors are one of the most coveted items, and should you get your hands on one, you will likely need to know how to care for it correctly. So, here’s a quick guide to help you, and if you have any specific issues, it may be worth contacting a professional restorer for advice. Enjoy!

Top Tips For Caring For Antique Mirrors For Collectors

Cleaning Supplies To Use

When it comes to cleaning an antique mirror, as is the way with most antiques, you should avoid using anything harsh or abrasive. So, when cleaning or keeping antique mirrors for display, always use a mild cleaner and a soft cloth. Also, it goes without saying, but when you are cleaning anything that is an antique, be sure to take your time and use a soft touch.

Make sure the cleaner you use does not contain hydrogen peroxide, as this is bleach and can cause staining and even discolouration. Be sure you are 100% aware of what the mirror is made from and have the appropriate cleaning materials to remove dirt effectively.

How To Clean The Rim

The rim of a mirror that is an antique is typically made from 1 of 2 materials: metal and wood. It is highly unlikely that you will have an antique mirror that has a plastic frame, and if you do, you will need a new dealer for your antiques! If the rim is deeply ingrained with dirt and grease, take the cleaning process slowly.

Some collectors of antique mirrors use air compression cans to remove loose grit, dust, and grime, so it is worth investing in some of these if the rim of the mirror is very ornate. Make sure all of the clothes that you are using are clean, and then gently spray the rim with lukewarm water, wipe, and repeat. This will remove all surface dirt and will allow you to see which areas need to be focused on more in the cleaning process.

Then, using a different, clean, soft cloth, you can begin to apply the mild soap to the rim. Apply in circular motions, using a gentle touch and not rubbing, as this can damage the finish and even cause peeling.

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Cleaning The Glass

Now, for the glass!

The glass will need to be treated with even more TLC than the rim, as it is likely to be more breakable.

Many antique mirror cleaners and restorers swear by using a mixture of white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and water. Try to avoid store-bought glass cleaners, as these often contain abrasive materials. So, no window cleaner! Clean using a gentle touch and, again, a circular motion to remove grime, grit, and dirt.

Polishing Tips

Again, how you polish your mirror after it has been cleaned will depend on the material from which the rim of the mirror is made. You can use wood wax applied with a cotton cloth, polishing until the wood shines. For metal rims on mirrors, you can use straight white vinegar and a soft cloth to bring out the sheen of the metal.

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