Whether we’re talking about buying a car or cleaning the house, everyone is interested in being more green. You may not be able to afford a hybrid or electric car yet, but you can afford to clean your home in a more sustainable, greener way. In fact, not only is green cleaning better for the Earth and your health, but it can also be more cost effective for your budget.
Cleaning mirrors in your home, especially those beautiful decorative mirrors you’ve hung in the bathroom, hallways, and/or dining room, can be really difficult. You don’t want dust to build up on them, but every time you clean them, it seems like you just make a streaky mess. What can you do? Do you have to buy a bunch of harsh chemicals to get the job done? Absolutely not! Let’s look at some of the sustainable ways you can clean your decorative mirrors that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Some Surprising Household Items Make Great Cleaning Agents
First of all, there are a few household items you probably have around that make great cleansers. Rubbing alcohol isn’t just good for cleaning up abrasions when you skin your knees. Adding a few tablespoons to warm water creates a very effective cleaning solution that won’t leave your mirrors smudged, smeared, or covered in soap scum.
If you don’t have any rubbing alcohol around, the good folks over at Homesessive recommend using an antiseptic mouthwash. You can either add a few tablespoons to some warm water, or you can apply it directly to a damp, lint-free cloth. If you have old T-shirts that you don’t wear anymore, you can cut them up and make them into handy cleaning rags.
The smell of alcohol or mouthwash can be pretty harsh on sensitive noses, but there are other surprisingly effective cleaning agents you can use, too. You can mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar with a half-gallon of warm water and use this solution to clean the glass. It does smell strongly of vinegar until it dries, but when it dries, there’s no smell at all.
If you want a cleanser for your decorative mirrors that won’t bother your nose, even when it’s still wet, the experts at Homesessive recommend brewing a pot of herbal tea. Pour two cups – one for you and one for your mirror. While you sip on yours, the other cup will cool enough for you to use it as a cleaning agent without burning yourself.
Once the tea has cooled off some, dip a lint-free cloth or paper towel in it and begin wiping down the mirror in long, vertical strokes. You should only have to go over it once or twice, and you’ll have a beautifully clean mirror without any of the smells or toxicity of a harsh cleanser.
If you have stains on the glass that you’re having trouble lifting, the editors at How Stuff Works recommend that you add 4 tablespoons of lemon juice to a half-gallon of warm water for your cleanser. The acidity of the lemon juice will gently lift stains and debris from the glass without releasing any toxins or bad smells into the air.
If you need to do some gentle scrubbing, you can use baking soda and warm water. If you use this with a soft cloth, you won’t run the risk of scratching the glass of the mirror. Once you’ve wiped away the baking soda, there may be some streaks left, so you may want to use one of our other streak-free cleanser suggestions to finish the job.
What Should You Wipe Your Mirror With?
Using a lot of paper towels can be wasteful and expensive. Instead, as we mentioned before, try cutting old cotton T-shirts into cleaning rags. Another tried-and-true method is to use newspaper. The pulpy paper used for newsprint is absorbent and doesn’t leave behind streaks.
You can use water alone or any of the non-toxic cleaning agents we suggested earlier when you clean your decorative mirrors with newspaper. The best part about using newspaper, though, isn’t just that it’s streak-free. After you re-use your newspaper to clean your glass surfaces, you can still put it in your recycling bin. You’ll be reducing the amount of paper you’re using, re-using the newspaper, and then recycling, too. If that’s not living green, then we don’t know what is!
Not Sure Which to Choose? Start Simple!
We’ve made quite a few suggestions for cleaning your decorative mirrors in this article, and we understand that you might be feeling a little bit overwhelmed. Which should you choose? If one of these suggestions doesn’t stand out to you as the best right away, begin with the simplest and see if it works.
Start with some newspaper or a soft rag and dampen it with warm water. Gently wipe the mirror down, making sure that you catch all moisture and leave the mirror dry. If that doesn’t get rid of stains and streaks, move on to one of our other solutions and keep going until you find the right one for your mirror and your home! Good luck!
Content Provided By: Julia Ritzenthaler