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How to repair a mirror

Updated February 21, 2017

Many mirrors require repair of some sort as time goes on. If you have a beautiful, intricately designed mirror, or an antique, simple replacement will not do. One option is resilvering the mirror which will, in most cases, restore the mirror to its original condition, or even better.

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  1. Determine if resilvering the mirror is your best option. Bathroom mirrors should usually be replaced as it will be less expensive and simpler. Many mirrors can be "backed" by a new 1/8-inch thick mirror cut to fit the original mirror. For more delicate or antique mirrors, resilvering may be the best option.

  2. Clean the mirror thoroughly. Take care to notice any scratches or blemishes in the glass as resilvering will likely make them even more noticeable.

  3. Don all of the safety gear mentioned above and use the provided chemicals to remove the original backing and silver. If your kit does not contain these things, a varnish remover should remove the backing. Nitric acid and water will remove the original silver. Mercury and other dangerous toxins will be present.

  4. Clean the glass again using a soft cloth and the acidic cleanser that should come with the kit. It is imperative that you do not touch the glass with your hands from this point on.

  5. The glass should be on a level surface as you apply the chemical mixture, which is the new silver of your mirror.

  6. After about 10 minutes, the silver should be deposited evenly on the glass. Rinse with cold water and gently swab the surface with a cloth. Allow the mirror to completely dry.

  7. Apply the new backing, usually a black lacquer paint that should be included in your kit. Once this dries, you may hang your newly restored mirror.

  8. Tip

    Try resilvering a smaller, inexpensive, unimportant mirror first. Replace the mirror, or at least the glass if at all possible.


    Waste must be disposed of properly, so check with your local waste management provider. Use a professional if resilvering the damaged mirror is your preference.

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Things You'll Need

  • Resilvering chemical kit
  • Sturdy gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Heavy duty dust mask
  • Scraper or chemical to remove old silver

About the Author

Janece Bass is a freelance writer specializing in weddings, family, health, parenting, relationships, dating, decorating, travel, music and sports. She has been writing for more than 15 years and has numerous published pieces on various websites and blogs. Bass has also ghostwritten various fiction-based novels.

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