Over time mirrors can develop black areas. This guide is about fixing black spots on mirrors.
My shower door, which is also a mirror, has a black stain that is growing. It started out about 1 inch X 4 inches, and in about 6 months, spread to about 12 X 12 inches.
I realize it can't be fixed, but is there some way it could be stopped from spreading any more? I am very near sighted and need to stand close to the mirror to do my makeup. The mirror over the sink is too far away for me to use without glasses.
I'd like to stop the spreading if it is possible. Would just resealing it all around do any good?
By Ilsa T
Mirrors are "silvered" on the back to make them reflective. In time the silvering deteriorates. I cant tell you how to repair it, but if you google re-silvering my mirror I bet you find someone who can. Good luck!
I think it would be less expensive to replace the mirror than have someone resilver the mirror.
Hi, Everyone! I came across this forum while I was surfing re mirrors. Ironically, only yesterday I placed an order with Amazon.com for a spray product by Krylon (Krylon #9033 Looking Glass Mirror-Like Paint) which is supposed to enable an ordinary piece of glass to be turned into a mirror by simply spraying the glass after proper cleaning. Apparently, this product is not simply a shiny or chrome paint. Reviews were consistently marvelous.
I do not believe this product will solve the root problem of a mirror being continuously subjected to moisture. However, I think it might help in other situations. I hope to incorporate Krylon's product into my art.
Here is the direct page via the Krylon URL
I also loved the projects pages for their products.
Will update you after I give Krylon Looking Glass a try!
http://www.krylon.com/products/looking-glass-paint/ Link moved to new page. Even if this improves the look of the areas that are fading off the back of my bathroom medicine cabinet doors it will be worth it, I think.
What causes a black rust like stain to appear on my bathroom mirror? It seems to permeate right through the glass.
By JoAnn H.
It may be the backing is failing and needs to be resilvered.
Are you sure it isn't a hard water stain or mold?
It sounds like the "silver" backing is coming off. It can be re-done or replace the mirror part or the mirror itself if it is a cheap one. One tip for future reference on new mirrors: Don't ever spray the mirror directly with cleaning solutions. Spray it on the cloth or paper you are using to clean with. This is what causes (for the most part) the backing to come off. It seeps down in the corners and edges, stays moist and then begins to destroy the backing.
It sounds like the backing is coming off. One cause of this is spraying mirrors directly when you clean them. It is best to spray the cloth or paper you use, not the mirror. When you spray the mirror directly, it can seep down in the corners and edges, staying there and causing eventual damage.
I have a problem with black spots on edge of a mirror. If we stop using liquid detergent on the mirror will the black spots cease growing in size and we can frame the mirror to conceal the spots?
By Rod P
A mirror is glass with a silver coating on the back of the glass to give it reflective qualities. When the silver backing fails you get black spots or streaks. Nothing you are doing to clean the front is causing the problem. You need a new mirror.
Black spots on the edge of the mirror may be because the mirror is losing the silver on the back of the glass. This is common in old mirrors. It shouldnt have anything to do with what you use to clean the glass, unless what you use in getting onto the back of the mirror. The loss of silver may or may not progress. It is hard to say. It may be repairable but I have not had any experience with that.
Or, you can embellish the mirror. Is the frame ornate or country? If you look at the mirror from across the room, what do you see?
Could you enhance with some lace, fabric, buttons, or glass paint and faux metal work?
If it's not the large wall kind, can you make it into a serving tray for tea cups, jewelry, or to display a collection?
If you love the item, you can fix it. There is no reason to get another mirror unless you break it. If nothing else, give it away and someone will be thrilled to have it.
I have a black, rust like stain that has appeared on my bathroom mirror. It doesn't seem to be on the surface of the glass, but seems to permeate right through. Any ideas what caused it and how to get rid of it?
By Suzanne from Swansea, MA
It may be easier to buy a new mirror.
Hide the Damage with a Frame
How to Resilver a Mirror
Additional Tips and Information
There are several causes of black spots on a mirror. If the black spots are around the edges, it is likely that the cleaning product used to clean the mirror has gotten behind the glass and damaged the back of the mirror. If the black spots are in the middle of the mirror, it is typically caused by moisture or cleaner reaching the back of the mirror and causing damage. Unfortunately in either case, there is no way to remove the black spots. The only solution is to repair the mirror by painting a new finish or disguising the spots. Here are a couple of ideas to help hide them.
Hide the Damage with a Frame
What You Will Need:
Decorative glass beads or tiles
Stained glass paint
Mirror stripping (available at most home improvement stores)
How to Hide the Damage:
If the damage is around the edge of the mirror, you can make a frame out of several different materials to cover it up. Use your creativity! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Glue decorative glass beads or tiles around the mirror. If there are also some spots away from the edge, you may be able to add some accent beads on top of them.
Mirror stripping can be placed around the edge to cover the damage, make a frame and keep the edges mirror function.
If you can remove the mirror from the wall and lay it flat, you can outline some designs with liquid lead and fill them in with stained glass paint for an original look.
How to Resilver a Mirror
If your mirror has severe damage and there is no way to creatively cover it up, you may want to consider removing the silver backing and placing a new piece of mirror behind it. This can be done for you for a high price, or you can do it yourself for much less. Here's how it works:
What You Will Need:
Chemical Silver Remover (optional)
1/8 inch mirror cut to the exact size of your original mirror
Steps for Resilvering:
Prior to beginning this project, check the date of the mirror. If it is an antique or very old, it may have been made with mercury and other harmful agents. Consider leaving the mirror alone or having a professional strip it for you. If you decide to conquer it yourself, be sure to wear protective clothing, gloves and mask to avoid any risks or injury to yourself.
Begin by removing the mirror from the wall and placing it face down on a sturdy surface.
Use the razor scraper to carefully scrape away the existing silver backing. Be sure to dispose of this properly to avoid contamination.
If the razor will not remove the silver, consider a chemical remover made especially for this purpose. They are available at some home improvement stores.
Once all of the silver is removed from the back, the easiest method is place a new mirror behind the old glass. It is possible to place a new silver coating on the back, and there are some sites that are dedicated to instructing the process. However, it is quite difficult.
Fasten the 1/8 inch mirror to the back of the glass and return it to it's original location on the wall.
The mirror should look good as new!
Additional Tips and Information
Always ensure that you are disposing of the removed silver appropriately. Older mirrors contain harmful substances that can be dangerous if put in with regular trash.
The problem is not on the front. The back film is starting to peel. You could consult a glass company but I bet it will be cheaper to replace. However, if you do have to replace your mirror have them cut the old one down and frame or place on a table top.
The posters below have it correctly, the "silver" is coming off from the backing of the mirror. You can try and avoid this problem by never spraying a mirror with cleaner to clean it but by spraying a paper towel or whatever you use directly and then wiping off the mirror. Moisture collects on the mirror and can seep through if you spray window cleaner directly on it.
I have an old mirror which has black around the edge. Can this be repaired?
You can find several videos on YouTube with detailed instructions for removing oxidized silver from a mirror, preparing the mirror for a new silver plate, and the actual silver application. It's not a task for the average 'do it yourselfer'. You may want to have it done professionally. The process is called 'resilvering a mirror'.
If the black spots are on the "far side" of the mirror, not on the surface, the silvering is likely damaged and there's not much you can do about that aside from taking it down and getting it redone.
Use stickers on the "good side" to cover up the black spots.(01/15/2005)
Sounds like the back of the mirror got wet or cleaner behind it which will in time remove the coating on the back of a mirror. If it's along the edges, you could put some kind of boarder or frame around it. I have an old round mirror that was all black around the edges and I used the glue gun and some silk flowers to cover it up. Or you can purchase etching cream from your local craft store ($9.00 for 8oz bottle) along with contact paper (roll of shelf liner) and Exacto Knife and make a design on the mirror to disguise any blemishes. I have made decorative mirrors using the etching cream which have come out beautiful. Apply the cream liberally with paint brush and leave on for 10-20 minutes. Directions are on bottle. (01/24/2005)
The silver and copper layers are oxidized, you may buy new mirror with backboard in the future, then you can remove it easily when you meet this situation again. (01/07/2008)
By Andy Yu
Most black spots is caused by oxidation of the underneath coatings caypused by spraying glass cleaner on the mirror.
My bathroom mirror's edges are fading. It has black splotches on the edges. What I can do to hide those splotches, maybe frame it? Any suggestions, please.
Erica from TN
I saw a program on HGTV where they built a frame that covered the outside edges of the mirror, and attached it to the mirror with Velcro. I think they used that light-weight pre-painted molding for the frame that's made out of some kind of foam product. (07/27/2008)
By Patty Lynn
The bottom edge of the mirrored wall above my mother's bathroom sink was similarly discolored. I used vinyl self-stick bath/tub/floor sealer trim that was scored in the middle to cover the bottom 1/2 inch or so of the mirror and the top of the adjacent molding. The tape comes in a variety of widths. I don't think guests will notice the fix. (07/27/2008)
We had the same black spots where the silver had worn off along the edges of a huge wall sized mirror and before we sold the house we had to figure out some way to fix it without replacing the whole huge, mirror. When I saw what the folks down the street (that had an exact copy of our house) did with their bathroom mirror I was thrilled. They had framed it with an actual silver-toned picture frame that had black antiquing. I bet this custom framing cost a pretty penny, but simple wooden molding or a fancier crown molding, once painted to match the wall or with a contrasting color would look equally good.
* Here's a temporary solution for all of you renters out there. Take a grapevine wreath and soak it overnight in plain water in the bathtub or a storage tote. When it's been soaked in water overnight the vines on the wreath will become pliable. Now unwind the vines from the wreath and staple them to the bathroom wall around the edges of your mirror. Then the next day after the vine has dried out a bit, hot glue silk ivy or grape leaves and vines to it. Making sure to cover the staples with silk leaves to disguise them. This twining ivy or grape vine will look very real because of the real wooden vine. Be sure to place the ivy leaves so they cover the black spots in the mirror. I did this in a rental house and it turned out beautifully!
* Another tip: If you can get the mirror down, they make a silver mirror spray you can spray on the back. This mirror spray is made to turn glass into a mirror. You first clean the glass with rubbing alcohol, then spray on the silver mirror finish behind the glass. (07/27/2008)
The ammonia in window cleaner when it is sprayed on the mirror and gets behind the mirror causes this. I don't think there is any way to fix it, short of re-silvering the mirror. The best way is to just try to hide it. (07/28/2008)
Some of the home improvement stores sell strips of mirror that you can use to do a border. Or a mirror shop will do the same thing for you. It is just cheaper if you do it yourself. (07/28/2008)
You can't fix it, so hide it. I have done this for fixing holes in furniture and walls. I simply find some interesting buttons and tacky or hot glue them to the places I want to look nicer. You can also get stained glass paint and liquid lead and make a "faux" stained glass frame around the damaged edges. You will have to have the mirror on a flat surface though, as you don't want anything to run. Craft shops sell faux gems, tiles, and half beads that can make it very unique. Good luck! (07/30/2008)