Getting spray paint on a mirror is never desirable.
This is because the paint bonds to glass in a way that is stronger than many other surfaces, such as drywall, wood, or metal.
Getting rid of the paint can be quite a chore because of that bond.
Standard removal techniques such as heat guns or metal scrapers often damage the surface of the mirror itself.
What you need is a chemical that will peel the paint away without damaging the glass mirror.
For small drips, oversprays, or streaks that are recently applied, you can use nail polish to remove them.
However, if you find a splatter of paint on a mirror or frame, you may need additional steps to follow.
Especially if you are trying to remove old dried paint from a mirror, you should try a paint-stripping paste instead.
Steps for Removing the Paint from Mirror
While acrylic and water-based enamel craft paints stick to the mirror lightly and are easy to clean off, enamel paint, when dried, is a bit harder to remove. And that is the reason why oil-based enamel paints may require extra effort and time to completely clean and clear the surface.
Whether you are using nail polish or paint-stripping paste, you will need to use the following steps to do the job right.
1- Removing Specks of Paint
First, put on a pair of latex or rubber gloves to protect your hands.
For small specks or dots of spray paint, add nail polish to a folded-up strip of paper towel and apply it to the surface.
With small amounts of paint, the nail polish should dissolve the paint quickly, so all you will need to do is wipe them away.
Once completed, soak a paper towel in vinegar and use that to clean and polish the tin mirror.
White vinegar is cheap and will not leave behind streaks.
2- Dealing with Old Paint Patch
If you are dealing with old paint, start by putting on a pair of latex or rubber gloves.
Open a bucket of paint-stripping paste. This should be N-methyl pyrrolidone-based.
Use a disposable brush to apply the paint stripper over the old paint. Once covered, leave the stripper on for around two hours to let it soften the old paint.
Once the old paint has been loosened, use a plastic putty knife or a sharp blade to pull the paint and the paint stripper away.
The plastic will not damage the mirror, so you should keep going until all the paint has been removed.
Now, soak a paper towel in vinegar to clean and polish the mirror, and you are done.
Can You Use Acetone on A Glass Mirror?
Using a stronger paint remover like acetone (or a paint thinner) can help to get spray paint off a mirror, especially if your regular nail polish does not work.
These paint removers will help leave the dried and hardened paint from the mirror surface easily without getting the surface scratched.
For using the acetone on the mirror, you can follow the steps:
Dip a soft cotton cloth or a cotton wool ball in acetone or paint thinner
Then wipe off the dried paint spills or rub it vigorously if the paint splatter is large
Make sure that you rub the dried paint constantly for a few minutes until you see the paint getting off the glass
If the hardened paint is too stubborn to remove, consider leaving a bit of thinner or acetone on it for 2-3 minutes.
This should dissolve the paint stains and make them easier to wipe off.
TIP: Using chemicals such as acetone or paint thinner can be toxic, especially if you are allergic to these substances.
It’s, therefore, good to use gloves and a mask to protect yourself while you are cleaning the paint splatters from the mirror using these chemicals.
Chemical-Free Way to Remove Spray Paint from Mirror
If using a bit of elbow grease seems to be frustrating for you, you can completely avoid chemicals and use some non-toxic alternative instead.
These can be a window scraper or a sharp razor blade.
Start by lubricating the surface with warm soapy water, as it will prevent scratches and will also prevent the paint from flaking off into small pieces when removed.
Make sure that you do not put too much pressure on the mirror while using them. Or else it may leave your mirror scratched forever.
In the worse case, it can even break your old antique mirror.
Using fine steel wool is also a good chemical-free way to remove spray paint from small mirror objects or even glass craft objects like jars, bowls, or vases.
- Fill a disposable plastic container with warm soapy water
- Then use a piece of steel wool to rub the paint off from small glass mirror objects
Once the paint gets removed, place the container in a safe location, like your backyard, to let the water evaporate. Then discard the plastic container.
What is The Best Way to Clean a Cloudy or Streaky Mirror?
Not wiping clean the mirror properly is the main cause of streaks or cloudiness on your glass mirror.
While using a sprayer cleaner or a solution-sprayed cloth, you tend to spread and leave behind a greasy or oily residue. When it dries, your mirror looks streaky even when you have wiped it clean.
Wiping the cloudy mirror surface with vinegar, glass cleaner, or even your bathroom products (like shaving cream and toothpaste) can help you get a clear mirror.
You can use a soft cloth to wipe until you see the cloudiness removed from your mirror.
One quick DIY thing that you can use to remove the paint off the mirror is Easy-Off Heavy-duty oven cleaner. This can work superfine for DIYers, especially if it’s fresh paint on surfaces like mirrors, glass, plastic, metal, etc.
The Bottom Line
Using the right strategy not only helps in quickly getting rid of ugly paint spots and other blemishes but also in getting a bright, spotless glass mirror that’s proud to look at.
In most cases, all you need is a soft touch and the right solution to wipe the paint off the mirror and glass windows.
However, there may be instances when you find it cheaper to get the mirror replaced rather than putting great effort and time into it.
Unless it’s an old antique mirror you would love to preserve, it’s good to replace it with a new modern one.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.