How do you Clean Antique Mirror Frames?


One of the household items that collect dirt easily is the mirror and the mirror frame is the perfect hiding spot for this dirt. Cleaning your mirror frames is a little trickier than cleaning just the surface of the mirror. 

Having an antique mirror in your home will add a vintage charm to the home. However, antique mirror frames can become dusty and this dirt can damage the frames if not removed regularly. When cleaning your antique mirror frame, use gentle products to avoid damaging the mirror itself. Regular cleaning helps keep your antique mirror looking attractive, taking it from dusty relic to an eye-catchy masterpiece. Here, we’re going to look at how to clean metal antique mirror frames and wooden antique mirror frames. 

Here are the things you’d need:

  • Clean towels
  • Cotton buds
  • A bowl of water
  • Toothbrush
  • Glass cleaner
  • Orange oil
  • Microfiber cloths (for metal frames)
  • Protective gloves

Now it’s time to set up your working area;

  • Choose an area with enough light supply to help you get better visuals
  • Lay down a towel on the table or any flat surface. Make sure the towel is at least three times larger than the picture frame. Keep extra towels handy for later use.
  • Place the mirror frame on the flat surface carefully 
  • Carefully remove the mirror from the frame and place it in a safe place. Removing the mirror from the frame will help you clean the mirror frame better as you would have a better view of the frame.
  • When removing the mirror, handle it by the edges and wear protective gloves to protect your hands.
  • Using a clean chemical-free cloth, gently clean the mirror with glass cleaner. In doing so, be careful not to get any glass cleaner on the mirror frame.
  • Now it’s time to clean the frame itself.

How to clean a wooden framed antique mirror?

  • Gently wipe dirt and smudges off the frame with a soft cloth.
  • Gently scrub the mirror frame using a dry toothbrush.
  • Wipe the mirror frame again with a clean cloth to remove all the debris loosened by the scrubbing.
  • There are tiny angles that your toothbrush may not be able to reach, use cotton buds to clean such areas.
  • Do a patch test — using orange oil on an inconspicuous area. Apply the orange oil on a dry cloth and test its effect on the frame. Apply the oil sparingly on the cloth and scrub the entire frame surface.

How to clean a metal-framed antique mirror?

  • With a clean microfiber cloth, clean all the unwanted corrosion from the frame. You can use an anti-tarnish product or water for this. However, when using anti-tarnish products, ensure to test a small inconspicuous patch before touching the front of the frame. 
  • For particularly intricate frames, you might want to use a cotton bud to help you better remove all the corrosion, tarnish, or discoloration in the crevices. 
  • For silver-plated, solid pewter, or sterling silver mirror frames, ensure to use silver and follow the directions on the packaging so you don’t end up removing the original surface by doing it wrongly 

Metal frame cleaning is not as complicated as you might think; with simple scratches and gentle pressure, you can easily remove all unwanted particles from your metal picture frame.

Be sure to avoid the following when cleaning your antique mirror frame;

Ammonium hydroxide: 

Ammonium hydroxide is a harsh solution and can cause damages to the body of the frame. It sometimes changes the appearance of metal frames.

Commercial polishes:

Some of these polishes have chemical contents that can strip metals and woods. Check the packaging of any commercial polish before you buy to ensure it is free from all chemical components like ammonium. When buying cleaning products, select products that are labeled ‘’archival ‘’or ‘’conservation’’. These classifications are intended to protect frames and don’t contain any harmful elements. 

Too much water:

 When you use too much water, water is likely to get trapped in the frame and this can cause corrosion in metal frames and deterioration in wooden frames. Use water sparingly, just enough to make your cleaning cloth damp and not wet. Additionally, when you’re done cleaning your mirror frame, wait till it dries completely before putting back the mirror to prevent moisture from hiding in the frame.

Final thoughts

Antique mirrors are a great aesthetic addition to the home but when they are left dirty, they lose value and beauty. Ensure you clean your antique mirror often, not just the mirror surface sometimes cleaning the mirror frame is just what is needed to maintain the mirror spark and ensure it lasts longer. 

At Fab Glass and Mirror, we have top-quality antique mirrors of different sizes and shapes. It’ll be nice if you check out our collection, am sure you’d like a design or two for your home. 


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