How to Get Paint Off a Mirror
  • June 30, 2024
  • decoreloquent
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Getting paint on a mirror is frustrating, but learning how to get paint off a mirror with the right techniques means it can be removed safely. This guide covers all aspects of paint removal from both glass and acrylic mirrors using common household products.

Whether it’s latex paint from a sloppy painting job or layers of thick spray paint, you can get your mirror’s reflective surface cleared without causing cracks or other damage.

How to Get Paint Off a Mirror

Identifying the Type of Mirror and Paint

The first step is determining what kind of mirror you need to clean and what type of paint needs to be removed

  • Glass – Most older mirrors are made of glass which can withstand aggressive paint removal materials. Newer decorative mirrors feature a lightweight acrylic that requires gentler cleaning.
  • Paint Types – Water-based latex paints allow for simpler cleaning compared to oil-based enamels or thick spray paint that adhere tightly.
  • Test Spot – Try a small, inconspicuous spot with your planned cleaning solution to ensure it’s effective and won’t damage the mirror.
Mirror TypePropertiesCleaning Considerations
GlassHeavy, thick reflective silver backing          Withstands aggressive cleaners like solvents
AcrylicLightweight Plastic-like          Requires mild cleaners safe for delicate material

Once you’ve identified the type of mirror and paint, you can select the proper removal method.

Removing Latex Paint from Glass Mirrors

Latex paint splatters or smudges come off glass with some warm water, gentle scraping, and a vinegar-based cleaner

Supplies Needed

  • Small razor blade/putty knife
  • Glass cleaner like Windex
  • White vinegar
  • Microfiber cloths

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. Carefully scrape thicker globs of paint off the mirror using the razor blade held at a 45 degree angle or the edge of a plastic putty knife. Wipe blade frequently so paint doesn’t re-deposit.
  2. In a spray bottle, mix equal parts glass cleaner like Windex and white vinegar. The acidic vinegar helps dissolve dried latex paint.
  3. Lightly spray the paint remnants on the mirror and let sit for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Dip a soft microfiber cloth in the cleaner and gently wipe the paint away with light pressure. Avoid scrubbing vigorously which could scratch the glass.
  5. Rinse the surface with warm water and use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe off any solution, using straight single wipe strokes instead of circular rubbing.

With some warm water and the glass cleaner/vinegar solution, you should be able to safely remove latex paint handprints, drips, and spills from a glass mirror without damaging it.

Removing Latex Paint from Acrylic Mirrors

Acrylic mirrors require more delicate paint removal. Soak the paint to loosen it gently:

What You’ll Need

  • Small container of warm water
  • Cotton rag or microfiber cloth
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Mild all-purpose cleaner rated safe for acrylic


  1. Soak a cotton cloth in the warm water until thoroughly wet but not dripping. Loosely place it directly on top of the paint on the mirror’s surface. Let it sit for 20+ minutes to allow the moisture to soften the paint.
  2. After letting it sit, try gently lifting an edge of the paint blob with the putty knife. Apply more soak time if needed.
  3. Once adequately softened, carefully use the putty knife to fully scrape the paint off the mirror. Reapply the soak cloth and let sit again if any remnants still adhere.
  4. Clean the entire surface using an acrylic-safe mild cleaner and lint-free microfiber cloths, wiping gently until all cleaner residue is removed.

Take your time and allow for plenty of soaking when removing paint from acrylic mirrors. Avoid scrubbing forcefully or using harsh chemicals which could permanently damage the delicate surface.

Removing Oil-Based Paint from Glass Mirrors

Eliminating oil-based paint like enamel or varnish requires solvent-based removers to dissolve the tough, bonded layers

Materials You’ll Need

  • Paint remover like Zip Strip
  • Plastic razor blade scraper
  • Fine grade steel wool
  • Acetone
  • Microfiber cloths


  1. Apply a thick coating of a methylene chloride based solvent paint remover evenly on the painted area. Ensure adequate ventilation.
  2. Let the remover sit for at least 10+ minutes. The paint should bubble, blister, and appear loosened from the surface.
  3. Use the plastic scraper to gently peel off the softened paint flakes, wiping scraper frequently on rag to remove paint buildup.
  4. Rub the entire surface lightly with fine grade steel wool dipped in acetone to remove any remaining residue. Wipe frequently with a clean area of the steel wool.
  5. Once paint appears fully removed, wipe down the entire mirror using a dry microfiber cloth to eliminate any leftover cleaner residue. Check closely for any leftover flecks. Apply additional remover and scrape again if needed.

Safely discard all solvent-soaked steel wool and rags immediately after completing the process. Rinse surfaces thoroughly. With the right heavy duty removal products, oil-based paint can be eliminated from glass mirrors without damage.

Removing Spray Paint from Mirrors

Removing layers of spray paint requires aggressively dissolving the paint layers:

You’ll Need

  • Goo Gone spray
  • New, sharp razor blades
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Low-tack painter’s tape

Steps to Remove Spray Paint

  1. Carefully apply painter’s tape completely around the mirror’s outer frame and edges to protect from splatter and scratches.
  2. Use the fresh razor blades to scrape off thicker areas of paint residue. Keep blades at 45 degree angles as you scrape.
  3. Apply Goo Gone liberally to the paint on the surface of the mirror and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Wipe in small circular motions with microfiber cloths to remove the bulk of the paint and cleaner. Reapply Goo Gone to stubborn areas as needed.
  5. Once paint appears gone, wipe entire surface down using dry microfiber cloths with light pressure and single direction strokes. Polish mirror for clarity.

The Goo Gone helps dissolve layers of spray paint. Take all necessary precautions protect yourself and surrounding surfaces when using razor blades. Work slowly to prevent damaging the mirror.

Preventing Future Paint Damage

Avoid this cleaning hassle in the future by taking protective steps when painting

  • Completely cover mirrors with plastic drop cloths before starting any painting work nearby. Tape plastic tightly around entire frame perimeter.
  • Store mirrors covered in soft, breathable material if doing renovations generating dust and debris. Avoid using plastic which could trap moisture.
  • When moving mirrors around, carry vertically and avoid tilting which can lead to slipping. Recruit help moving extra large leaning mirrors.

You may also read: How to Fix a Broken Mirror: The Complete DIY Guide


Removing paint from mirrors without inflicting damage takes patience and the proper techniques. Always start by identifying the mirror and paint types. Test clean a small spot first before tackling the entire surface. Provide adequate soak time for softened paint removal on delicate acrylic mirrors, and follow safety precautions when using solvents and razor scrapers. Avoid pressing too hard or scrubbing aggressively which risks cracking the glass or acrylic. With the right methods and household cleaning products, you can safely restore a paint-splattered mirror to its original beautiful brilliance.

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