Are your mirrors looking a little… vintage? Over time, unsightly dark spots and blackened edges may appear on mirrors. This is called desilvering—and it can occur due to age or when mirrors are not properly maintained. 

Your mirror shines and reflects thanks to a silver coating behind the glass that you see. The silver part is chemically bonded to the backing during the manufacturing process, and that bond can simply break down as time passes.  

Beyond the natural wear and tear of time, what else causes desilvering? Below, we’re diving into a few common culprits.

desilvering on mirrors

Reason #1: Too Much Moisture

The number one cause of desilvering on mirrors is moisture. Unfortunately for mirrors installed in moisture-rich places (like bathrooms), this fate is not always avoidable. There are a few steps you can take to keep your mirror looking as good as new.

Since water and moisture are the biggest threat to the protective sealant on the back of your bathroom mirrors, the most straightforward remedy is to minimize exposure. Be mindful of water splashes that hit the mirror as you wash your face or brush your teeth. Consider toweling off the excess moisture that fogs up your mirrors after a steamy shower. These little practices may seem mundane, but they can help keep your mirrors beautiful for years and years.

vanity mirrors in bathroom

Reason #2: Improper Cleaning

Avoid spraying an excess of glass cleaner on your mirror when you clean it; instead, use product sparingly and make sure to wipe the mirror completely dry when you’re finished. Like water, any cleaning product left on the mirror for too long may be absorbed and get between the layer of silver and the backing. This causes the bond to break down and chip off behind the glass.

For a safer cleaning alternative, skip spraying directly on the mirror and instead use a microfiber cloth sprayed with the cleaner. Steer clear of vinegar-based cleaners or any cleaners containing ammonia.

What to do if you already have desilvered edges? 

Replacing mirrors entirely can be a costly endeavor. Extend the life of your existing mirror with Add A Frame®! We have a wide range of frame styles and finishes available, and they arrive ready to install in a few simple steps. Even first-time DIY-ers can handle this upgrade. 

vanity mirror in bathroom

Not only can a customized mirror frame cover up the dingy, worn-looking desilvered edges, but it can actually protect the edges from further moisture damage. Best of all, framing your mirror can elevate the look of your entire room and add a bit of personal style. You get a fresh looking mirror at a fraction at the cost of a new one!

Upgrade your mirrors today—explore all Add A Frame® options here.