Why You May Want To Rethink Reaching For Baking Soda To Clean Your Mirror

Commercial glass cleaners like Windex are typical go-to items for cleaning mirrors, but you may have also considered more natural cleaning solutions. Baking soda (chemically known as sodium bicarbonate) is a common household ingredient used to clean kitchens, bathrooms, and other parts of your home. Part of its allure has to do with its abrasive qualities, which can help you clean without relying on scrubbing. Also, its whitening capabilities make it an effective stain remover on many surfaces. (You may even have baking soda-containing toothpaste!). 

The chemical makeup of baking soda is what makes this common pantry ingredient appropriate for some hard surfaces but not others. Mirrors are among the latter. The truth is that despite its effectiveness, safety, and unexpected uses of baking soda in your home on certain surfaces, this product should not be used on mirrors, windows, and other glass surfaces. If you do try to scrub a mirror clean with baking soda, you might be left with various types of permanent damage.

Why baking soda can damage your mirrors and what to use instead

Typically, when cleaning, baking soda may be sprinkled on stains with water or white vinegar, or it's sometimes created as a paste for cleaning. When used on glass surfaces such as mirrors, baking soda can cause permanent scratches when you rub the product on them. These scratches are usually so small you might miss them at first. However, they can become more pronounced over time as dirt and debris get stuck in the tiny gashes, essentially leaving your mirror looking unclean on a permanent basis. Also, mirrors are not the only surfaces that may be damaged by baking soda. It's also considered too harsh for use on wood, quartz, marble, and ceramic. 

If you're looking for alternatives to store-bought glass cleaners to clean mirrors, skip the baking soda. Instead, you may consider vinegar, a natural mirror-cleaning ingredient that will make them shine. Start with a simple combination of ½ cup white vinegar, ½ cup water, and 1 TBSP cornstarch in a spray bottle. After spraying your mirrors, use a clean paper towel or cloth to wipe them.