How to remove glue and adhesive from a mirror? 2 DIY methods that work

Dried glue marks can be quite annoying, and frankly quite ugly to look at, especially if it’s stuck on a mirror.

Note: This sticky residue can become hard to remove if you leave it on for a long time, which is why I tend to advise people to do a quick check on their mirrors every week or so.

Check out our guide on how to care for mirrors.

You might have been playing around with a DIY project, trying to create your own mosaic mirror, or maybe trying to build yourself a shadowbox mirror when the glue gets left uncleaned. Your kids could have been playing around and stuck some stickers on your mirror and you never noticed it, leaving behind a sticky mess of adhesive.

Well, the good news is, taking care of this situation is super easy.

In this post, I will be showing you how to remove glue from a mirror in a few simple steps.

remove dried glue stains from mirrors

Things you need to remove glue or adhesive from a mirror

  • A removing agent such as acetone (or acetone-based nail polish remover), rubbing alcohol, vinegar, paint thinner, vegetable oil
  • Paper towels, sponge, or microfiber cloth (do not use a rag as they will leave scratches on your mirror!)
  • Razor blade
  • Gloves (optional)

Figure out the kind of glue that is stuck on your mirror

In most households, the type of glue that is often used is either water-based or cyanoacrylate glues.

Water-based glues are the ones that are typically used for arts and craft, or even for some woodworking projects. As they are water-based, you can quite easily remove them with minimal effort.

In such cases, you can use lubricants such as vegetable oil, baby oil, dish soap, or paint remover.

Apply a small amount on the affected area and let it sit for 5 minutes before giving the area a gentle rub with a paper towel or microfiber cloth.

Clean it in a circular motion and take care not to force the action as you want to avoid breaking the mirror or scratching it.

Make use of a vinegar solution (1 part vinegar, 2 parts water) to wipe down afterward to clean off any residue.

water based glue are easier to remove

However, if you realize that this does not work because of the presence of cyanoacrylate glue or epoxy glue, you will need another method.

This kind of glue is made of much stronger substances like acrylic resin, and you can identify them as the type that is super quick-dry, creating adhesiveness almost immediately. The bad news is, if super glue gets onto your mirror, it’s usually too late as it will dry out fast.

In such a situation, acetone will be your best friend. Alternatives you can consider are isopropyl and denatured alcohol.

Acetone will not dissolve the glue, but it will do very well to soften it enough so that you can either rub it off or use the blade to lift the deposit off the mirror surface.

To do this, soak a small towel or sponge with the acetone solution and press over the area in question for about 10-15 minutes. You need time to let the solution work. With the razor blade, carefully try to scrape the glue off, taking care not to scratch the mirror. Try your best to keep the blade parallel at all times.

Repeat this a couple of times if it doesn’t work the first time around. The longer the stain is there, the tougher it will be to remove.

Also be aware that if you are removing such glue, water will not work. In fact, you might make matters worse as water is an ingredient for super glue to work well!

Tips for removing glue from mirrors

Before you attempt the above steps, there are a few tips you can use:

Try to place the mirror horizontally to prevent the cleaning solution from dripping down into the frame. You do not want it to affect those areas or you might soon see your frames drop off too!

Perform the cleaning job in a well-ventilated room. Breathing in acetone fumes in a short period of time can cause headaches and irritation to your nose and throat.

If the above still does not work, you might have to use lacquer thinner instead. It contains more solvents and will have the best effect of removing glue from the mirror. Use a small amount and follow the steps above.

Do not use any ammonia or gasoline-based solvents/solutions to remove glue. They will damage the mirror!

Clean up the entire mirror with vinegar solution since you are already at it.

What to read next?

Mirrors are not difficult to maintain, but they do need constant attention. I personally clean my mirrors once a week to ensure longevity and to keep them sparkling bright.

Before you go, do check out our other posts about wall mirrors such as learning how to pack mirrors for moving, finding unique mirrors for your bathroom, as well as the best outdoor garden mirror ideas amongst many others!

Don’t forget to check out our wall mirrors collections too!

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