Wondering why bathroom mirrors rust and how to stop it?
You’ve come to the right place.
The bathroom is a personal space in every home and that’s why most people will give it a personal touch.
However, rust can make the bathroom experience unpleasant, so below, I’ll answer why they rust, and how to prevent it.
Why Do Bathroom Mirrors Rust?
Bathroom mirrors rust because of exposure to moisture. That’s because mirrors are made of parts with metallic elements. Products in the cleaning products, such as ammonia, can also cause rust and mirror rot. 
The sight of rust in your mirror can be disappointing. I remember in my case how the rust made me feel bad every time I went to have a shower. My decor had not only been attacked but the mirror could also not reflect well and therefore I couldn’t have a clear view of myself.
It seemed like the rusting process had begun way long before its manifestation and since the damage was too much, I had to replace the mirror .
Before we look at how you can prevent the rust and save your mirror as well as the beauty it brings, let’s first learn the causes of rust in bathroom mirrors
You might realize that the mirror begins to rust and have some dark spots with time. This is caused by excess moisture which damages the silver backing resulting in black spots.
When water slips through the edges of the bathroom mirror, they begin to corrode after a chemical reaction of the silver nitrate which provides a coating to the unit .
Most bathrooms have chrome bathroom fixtures and naturally, when the powerful chemicals in them are exposed to water, air, or cold they shrink away due to rust which eats the layer of silver.
Sometimes, rust can also be caused by a cleaning product, and that’s why you should read the labels before purchasing any products more so commercial cleaning solutions.
This is because they contain ammonia which eats the sealing between the glass thus allowing moisture to penetrate, causing oxidation .
How To Prevent Bathroom Mirrors from Rust
To prevent mirrors from rusting, consider using stainless steel fixtures, cleaning the mirrors often, drying immediately after use, re-silvering, and investing in a high-quality mirror.
Now let’s look at how each of these steps helps protect your mirror.
Invest in stainless steel fixtures
Stainless steel is strong and tough on rust. Unfortunately, most people believe that real Chrome is the best for bathroom fixtures. You stand to gain much with stainless steel and rust will be a thing of the past.
Although stainless steel is highly-priced, its quality is unmatchable. Mirrors whose edges are made of this metal hardly allow moisture to penetrate thus causing your mirror to rust.
This is another great way of preventing rust in your bathroom mirror. Most mirrors are coated with silver and protected with backing paint.
This process is engaging but will go a long way in ensuring your mirror is safe from rust. Re-silvering starts with the removal of the old coat using a paint stripper.
However, you must be careful not to hurt yourself. This is followed by removing the original silver and this is best achieved by using nitric acid and being careful since it can cause skin irritation.
Once you are done with the above, it’s time to clean the surface so that the newly applied silver will sink in well. Use a cleaning cloth and purified water for the best results.
Now, that you have a clean surface, re-apply the silver to achieve an aesthetic look for your bathroom mirror. Ensure to place your glass mirror in a steady place to avoid breakage.
After the reapplication, add the copper coating which gives the mirror its first protection layer. The last step is the application of the final protection layer.
Check out this video for an actual demo:
Use Special Paint
Paint hardware has got different types of reflective paints that you can go for. If you go for the best quality, you will like the results.
The trickiest part of this idea is to separate the plate and glass. However, if you are successful at separating them, remove all the rust by cleaning the metal plate.
Be careful to get rid of all rust specks because leaving any residue behind could result in rust reinfection. Apply two layers of the paint on the metal plate but you have to give the first one time to dry.
Invest in modern mirrors
This is another way of forgetting the stress and disappointment that comes with rust. Technology has brought unique mirrors that are strong and tough to withstand the threat of rust in the bathroom.
They also boast defogging features and most of them are LED mirrors and they are built to not only last but add an aesthetic appeal to your bathroom.
Other Ways to Protect Your Mirrors from Rust
- Use a soft cloth rather than spraying the cleaner into the mirror.
- Avoid cleaners with ammonia and other strong chemicals.
- Always dry the mirror and the wall sections beside it after using the bathroom.
- Consider sealing the mirror edges with silicon caulking
- Make sure the bathroom has enough ventilation.
How To Clean Rust from Bathroom Mirror
The best way to clean rust from bathroom mirrors is by using vinegar and baking soda. This mixture is effective, safe, almost odorless, doesn’t contain any chemicals, and doesn’t leave any residue on your mirrors.
While there are many ways of cleaning rust from a bathroom mirror, this has been one of my greatest hacks over rust for the longest time.
This is after I learned the hard way after spending so much in buying a new fixture and I wouldn’t want you to go through the same.
Using these two products will come in handy in guarding your frameless mirror against rust. To achieve the best results, mix the two products in a spray bottle and dilute them with water.
As you wipe your mirror with the mixture and a microfiber cloth, it will not only get rid of soap scum, elbow grease but will also fight rust and keep the mirror shiny.
Check: How to Seal Bathroom Mirrors
What Causes Rust On Mirrors?
Moisture is one of the main causes of rust since mirrors have metal parts. Products in the cleaning products, such as ammonia, can also cause rust and mirror rot.
How Often Should I Clean A Bathroom Mirror?
As soon as you are done with showering to prevent water from being absorbed into the mirror.
Do I Need A Professional To Do Re-Silvering On My Mirror?
No. You can DIY.
How Should I Clean A Bathroom Mirror?
Clean on a circular motion using a dry cloth.
How Do You Keep A Bathroom Mirror From Rusting?
Consider re-silvering, using stainless steel products, sealing the mirror, making sure the bathroom has enough ventilation and avoiding cleaning products with Ammonia.
As much as there is little we can do about moisture in the bathroom, there are many ways to prevent the threat of rust. Using special paint and the right cleaning products will go a long way to keep your mirror safe from rust.
Also, re-silvering and investing in modern mirrors will also come in handy in ensuring that your bathroom mirrors remain clean, reflective, and last for long. Practice any of the above and you will be glad you did.
- 1. FMM. Black Edges on Mirrors: Why It Happens and What To Do – Frame My Mirror® [Internet]. Frame My Mirror®. 2013 [cited 2021 Dec 6]. Available from: https://www.framemymirror.com/black-edges-on-mirrors-why-it-happens-and-what-to-do/
- 2. How does rust work? [Internet]. HowStuffWorks. 2000 [cited 2021 Dec 6]. Available from: https://science.howstuffworks.com/question445.htm
- 3. Admin. Silver Nitrate | Reactions with Silver Nitrate and Uses to Human Health [Internet]. BYJUS. BYJU’S; 2020 [cited 2021 Dec 6]. Available from: https://byjus.com/jee/silver-nitrate/
- 4. Fedoruk MJ, Bronstein R, Kerger BD. Ammonia exposure and hazard assessment for selected household cleaning product uses. Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology [Internet]. 2005 [cited 2021 Dec 6];15:534–44. Available from: https://www.nature.com/articles/7500431
Why do bathroom mirrors rust? Do you have more tips on how to prevent them from rusting? Please let us know in the comments below!
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