No matter how dull or boring your life may be, the one thing in your day that will always be steamy is your shower. Billowing clouds of hot steam rise delightfully, creating a mini-raincloud in the bathroom.
And whether we are having a quick shower and shaving before work, or a relaxing pamper session after a hard day, when we emerge from the shower and glance at our reflection in the bathroom mirror, it is most often hidden behind a screen of fog.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways of defogging the bathroom mirror.
The following methods are good ways to defog the bathroom mirror:
- Shaving Cream
- Car defoggers
- Dish Soap
- Blow Dryer
- Open Windows
- Extractor Fan
- Run cold water
- Cover the Mirror
- Defogging pad
- Fogless shower mirror
We have all wiped a quick stripe onto the fogged bathroom mirror a few times in our lives. As kids, we entertained ourselves by writing messages with our fingers on the vapor-covered surface.
The result of a quick towel wipe is always a streaky finish that we have to clean later. There are many common household items and tricks that can prevent the bathroom mirror from fogging up.
Defogging Bathroom Mirror
To understand the science behind defogging a bathroom mirror, it is important to understand why they get fog up so readily. While you are showering, water steam rises from the shower or bath.
While it maintains its warm temperature in the enclosed bathroom space, it remains in vapor form. Mirrors tend to be cool surfaces that can’t heat up as fast as the air in the bathroom while you are showering.
Hot steam condenses on cool surfaces like the bathroom mirror. The vapor becomes liquid and causes an instant fogging effect which obscures the mirror’s reflection.
While there are some hi-tech methods like installing a defogging pad behind your bathroom mirror, that will keep your bathroom mirror crystal clear. But if you are renting or have more than one bathroom, there are plenty of much quicker things that you can try that will keep your bathroom mirror sparkling.
1 – Using Shampoo
Shampoo is not just for washing hair. It can also be useful to apply to your bathroom mirror as a temporary defogging agent. Here’s what to do:
- Make sure the mirror you are working on is completely dry.
- Apply a large dab of shampoo to a paper towel and rub it over the part of the mirror that you need to stay clear.
- Then use a clean paper towel to wipe the mirror.
Using shampoo as a defogger will not be effective for very long. It will need to be reapplied frequently to maintain its defogging powers.
2 – Using Toothpaste
The many uses for toothpaste in the home are a well-kept secret. It has many uses, from cleaning jewelry to removing carpet stains. One of its many uses is as a mirror defogger. This is how to use it:
- The toothpaste you are using must be the plain white type, not gel.
- While the mirror is dry, spread a thin layer of toothpaste over the mirror surface.
- Use a soft, dry cloth or kitchen towel to buff it off.
Besides keeping your teeth sparkling clean and white, applying toothpaste to your bathroom can be a temporary solution to your bathroom mirror fogging challenge.
3 – Using Shaving Cream
If you’re a guy, chances are the reason you’d like to see yourself in the bathroom mirror immediately after your shower is so that you can shave. If this is the case, the solution to your mirror defogging challenge is just one foamy spurt away.
Shaving cream, like most of the other household products suggested, is a surfactant. This means that it hinders water molecules from adhering to the surface of the mirror. Here is what you should do to use this method:
- While the mirror is dry, apply a thin layer of shaving cream.
- Smooth it all over the mirror’s surface that you’d like to remain fog-free.
- Then use a clean cloth and buff it off.
You will need to use this shaving cream method quite frequently to maintain the defogging effect for a longer period, but it works well for a few days at a time.
4 – Using Vinegar
Vinegar isn’t just great for cooking; it is also an amazing mirror defogger. All you need to do to use vinegar on your bathroom mirror is the following:
- Mix white vinegar with water in equal portions 1: 1
- Spritz the solution onto the mirror so that it is covered in a fine spray
- Use a soft, dry cloth to wipe off the vinegar solution and shine the mirror.
This method will keep the mirror free from fog for about one week.
5 – Using Soap
Any ordinary bar of bath soap will be perfect for trying this method of defogging your bathroom mirror. Grab your soap and a clean cloth and give it a try!
- Lightly run the soap bar over the parts of the mirror that you want to stay clear.
- Don’t press too hard with the soap. There only needs to be a light film covering the mirror.
- Now use a soft, dry microfiber cloth to rub off the soap lightly.
Applying soap is not a permanent solution to the fogging, but it should last for a few days. Soap bar is a lot less expensive to apply to the mirror surface than shampoo or shaving cream, so well worth the effort to keep applying it.
6 – Using Glycerin
Most of us don’t have glycerin on hand in the bathroom, but this non-toxic substance can work wonders to keep your mirror from steaming up when you shower. Glycerin can be purchased from pharmacies. Here’s how to use it:
- The mirror must be completely dry before you apply the glycerin solution
- Mix a splash of glycerin into some water
- Using a cloth, wipe the mixture onto the mirror and clean it thoroughly
Using glycerin is not a long-term solution, and you will have to wipe the mirror down with the solution often to keep up the demisting effect.
7 – Using Car Defoggers
Using a moisture barrier product designed for car windshields is one of the most effective ways to keep the bathroom mirror steam-free for longer. Many products are very effective at preventing fog from building up on mirrors.
Two products that work well to treat the mirror in your bathroom are Rain-X and Repel-Aide. These formulas prevent fog from building up on all glass and mirror surfaces.
Although specialized anti-fog sprays may cost slightly more than homemade solutions, these products offer longer-lasting results. You may only need to treat your bathroom mirror once a month to keep it fog-free.
8 – Using Dish Washing Liquid
Applying dish soap to your bathroom mirror will create a thin, waterproof layer that will repel moisture. While the effect may not be long-lasting, we all have dish soap readily available, and it will keep your mirror fog-free for a few showers.
Here’s how to use dish soap to keep your bathroom mirror free of fog:
- Apply the dish soap when the mirror is completely dry
- Using a paper towel or your fingers, distribute a thin layer of slippery dish soap over the mirror surface.
- Then using a clean paper towel or microfiber cloth, clean the mirror until it is sparkly clean.
Note, do not mix any water with your dish soap solution when you apply it. It only needs to be an ultra-thin layer. The film it leaves behind on the smooth glass surface of the mirror will act as a waterproof barrier.
9 – Using a Blow Dryer
If you need immediate results after your bathroom mirror has vanished in the mist, then reach for the hairdryer.
Wiping the bathroom mirror with a towel will leave streaks and fibers on the glass surface that you will need to clean later. Blasting the mirror with a jet of warm air will quickly evaporate the moisture condensation on the glass surface.
Here’s what to do:
- Switch your hairdryer onto a high setting. Warm settings work best.
- Aim it at the part of the mirror you need to clean, and voila, within moments, the fogged-up mirror will be crystal clear.
Although this method provides instant defogging results, it is only a temporary solution. It will need to be repeated each time you need to defog your mirror.
10 – By Opening Windows
The bathroom mirror quickly fogs up when you shower because bathrooms tend to be fairly small rooms. Hot steam is therefore trapped, which amplifies the condensation effect on the cold surface of the mirror.
If the weather is warm, you can prevent the mirror from steaming up simply by providing some additional ventilation to the bathroom. Opening a bathroom window or leaving the door slightly open while showering gives the steam somewhere to escape.
This solution can only be used when the weather is warm enough. No one wants to be showering in a freezing bathroom during the middle of winter!
11 – With an Extractor Fan
Keeping your bathroom mirror fog-free might be as easy as remembering to switch on the bathroom extractor fan each time you shower.
Many small bathrooms have extractor fans built-in because steam settles on the mirror and also on the walls and ceiling, which can cause mildew. The fog is just more noticeable on your mirror.
Extractor fans actively remove steam from the bathroom while you are showering or relaxing in the bathtub. They are a good option because they can be used in all weather conditions, unlike opening a window.
12 – By Running Cold Water
The reason fog forms on the bathroom mirror so quickly when you shower is because the surface is cooler than most other parts of the bathroom. The steam, therefore, condenses quickly on the cold surface, which causes the glass to look hazy.
A trick you can try to create a less foggy environment is to create more cool surfaces, so that fog will not form quite so quickly in the bathroom.
Before you step into the shower next time, try running the water on cold for 30 seconds. This will cool the surfaces in your shower, so fog will not form quite so fast when you switch over to hot.
This method works best if you are only planning to take a short shower. Steam will inevitably build up if you are in an enclosed bathroom space, but it will buy you some time before things get too steamy in the bathroom.
13 – By Covering It
If you are the practical type, who doesn’t want to spend time applying solutions to your bathroom mirror to keep it defogged, try covering it.
Unless the bathroom mirror is foxed to the wall, you can simply hang a towel over the top of it while you are showering. This will form a thick physical barrier between the steam and the mirror.
If your bathroom mirror is bolted or glued to the wall, you may need to attach two clips on both sides of the mirror at the top. Be creative and hang two little decorative bathroom ornaments from each one, so the real purpose of the mirror hooks is known only to you.
14 – With Defogging Pad
For most of us, a bathroom mirror that fogs up while we shower isn’t a big deal. But there are options available that can guarantee that the mirror will never fog up no matter steamy it gets in the bathroom.
Defogging pads can be professionally fitted to the rear of your mirror. They work by heating the mirror’s surface so that water does not condense on the mirror and it, therefore, stays free of condensation.
Fitting a defogging pad to a bathroom mirror can be tricky and expensive. It is not a practical solution for someone who is renting or on a tight budget.
However, for homeowners who love a bit of luxury, having a defogging pad fitted to your bathroom mirror means that you always see yourself clearly, no matter how long you have been in the shower.
15 – Using a Fogless Shower Mirror
If all else fails and you battle to keep your bathroom mirror free of fog, small fogless shower mirrors are available.
These fogless mirrors are available in a variety of designs to fit your lifestyle and bathroom. Some even have suction cup mounts so the mirror can be used while you are in the shower.
The days wiping a thin stripe of steam off your steamed-up bathroom mirror so you can see your face could be over for good. There are many things that you can use as temporary defogging agents.
Some are household products that will need to be reapplied frequently. Others are specialized moisture repelling agents that will provide a longer-lasting defog coating to the mirror’s surface.
So try a few methods and see what works best in your bathroom so you will always be able to see yourself clearly, no matter how steamy things get.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.