Desilvering – What To Do About Black Edges On Mirrors

You wake up, ready to greet the day with a smile, but when you look in the mirror, the only thing greeting you back are ugly dark spots and black edges. Don’t panic – it’s just mirror desilvering, and it’s a common problem. In this post, we’ll dive into what causes it and the smartest ways to fix those dreaded black edges so you can enjoy a pristine reflection once again.

What Is Mirror Desilvering?

The shiny, reflective surface of a mirror is created by a thin layer of silver that is applied to the back of the glass during manufacturing. This silvery coating is what gives mirrors their ability to reflect light and create a clear image. Over time, this coating can start to break down and chip away, leaving unsightly dark spots and black edges where the silver has fallen away.

The main culprit behind this damage is moisture. Bathroom mirrors are especially prone to desilvering because of the regular exposure to steam and humidity from showers, baths, and hand washing. As the years pass, this constant moisture exposure can cause the bond between the silver and the glass to weaken, leading to the dreaded chipping and peeling that results in those ugly black edges.

Prime Causes of Pesky Mirror Desilvering

Prime Causes of Pesky Mirror Desilvering

While time and age certainly play a role, the number one enemy of a mirror’s silvery shine is excess moisture exposure over the years. Every time you take a hot shower, wash your hands, or relax in a steamy bath, your bathroom mirror is bombarded with moisture that can slowly but surely damage the silver backing.

To help prevent desilvering and prolong the life of your mirrors, it’s important to limit moisture buildup as much as possible. Here are some tips:

  • Use an exhaust fan during showers and baths to remove steam from the room
  • Wipe down mirrors after steamy activities to remove any condensation
  • Consider replacing older bathroom fans with more powerful models
  • Improve ventilation in the bathroom overall

While you can’t eliminate moisture entirely, taking steps to control it can significantly reduce the risk of desilvering and the appearance of those dreaded black edges.

Mirror Repair – Smart Solutions for Resilver-ing and Reviving

So you’ve noticed some unsightly black edges creeping in on your bathroom mirror. What are your options for repairing the damage and restoring that lovely reflective shine? Let’s explore a few possibilities:

The DIY Resilver Route? Not Recommended

In theory, you could attempt to resilver the damaged mirror yourself by stripping away the old silver coating and applying a fresh layer of silver. The chemicals involved in this process (such as silver nitrate) are highly toxic and require extreme caution in handling.

Attempting a DIY resilver project is generally not recommended, as it involves significant risks without the proper equipment, training, and safety gear (like chemical-resistant gloves, eye protection, and a respirator mask). Unless you have a background in working with hazardous materials, this is one repair job best left to the professionals.

Professional Resilvering – Worth the Cost?

You could also consider having your mirror professionally resilvered by a glass repair shop. This option is becoming increasingly difficult to find, as fewer businesses offer resilvering services due to the time, cost, and liability involved.

Even if you do locate a shop willing to resilver your mirror, the process can be quite expensive. Factors like the labor involved, the cost of materials, and the risks of transporting or shipping a large mirror can drive up the total price significantly. 

In many cases, the cost of professional resilvering may approach or even exceed the price of simply replacing the mirror entirely. That said, there are certain circumstances where resilvering might be worthwhile, such as when dealing with a cherished antique mirror or a family heirloom piece that you simply can’t bear to part with.

Why a Custom Mirror Frame is the Smartest Fix

Why a Custom Mirror Frame is the Smartest Fix

For most homeowners dealing with run-of-the-mill bathroom mirror desilvering, the smartest solution is to conceal the damage with a custom adhesive mirror frame. These frames use a strong 3M adhesive to attach directly to the glass face of the mirror, allowing you to simply measure, order, and apply the frame right over the damaged areas around the perimeter. 

Here are some key benefits of choosing a custom frame solution:

  • Affordability: Custom frames cost a fraction of replacing an entire mirror
  • Easy DIY Installation: No special tools or skills required – just peel and stick
  • Improved Appearance: Frames come in a variety of styles to enhance any décor
  • Versatility: Suitable for covering damage on any type or size of mirror

For most homeowners, a custom mirror frame from MirrorChic or a similar company is the quickest, most cost-effective way to revive a desilvered mirror and reclaim that perfect reflection.

Preventative Care – Keeping Mirrors Fresh for Years

Preventative Care - Keeping Mirrors Fresh for Years

While desilvering is an inevitability for bathroom mirrors over time, there are steps you can take to slow the process and maximize the lifespan of your reflective surfaces:

  • Control Moisture: As mentioned above, limiting steam and humidity through exhaust fans and proper ventilation is key.
  • Gentle Cleaning: Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can damage the silver backing. Stick to mild soap and water.
  • Know When to Replace: At a certain point, severe desilvering or other damage may warrant simply replacing an older mirror rather than attempting repairs.

By taking a proactive approach to moisture control and gentle cleaning practices, you can help prevent premature desilvering. But even with the best preventative care, all mirrors will eventually succumb to this issue over their lifetime – which is why having an affordable, custom framing solution in your back pocket is so valuable.

Closing paragraph: Don’t let unsightly desilvered mirror edges ruin your reflection. With some know-how and an affordable custom frame, you can easily conceal the damage and revive your mirror’s shine. Follow these simple tips, and you’ll be gazing at your gorgeous self in a flawless mirror again in no time!


No one wants to start their day staring at ugly black edges and spots from mirror desilvering. But with the right knowledge and approach, this common bathroom issue doesn’t have to spoil your reflection. Remember to proactively control moisture, use gentle cleaning methods, and replace severely damaged mirrors if needed. And when desilvering does inevitably occur, custom adhesive frames offer an affordable, DIY-friendly solution to conceal the problem and elevate your mirror’s look. 

Maintaining a flawless mirror reflection requires effort, but that work will pay off every time you catch a glimpse of your gorgeous self. By being proactive with moisture control and choosing smart mirror repair options like custom frames, you can enjoy many more years of admiring your shining reflection. Don’t let desilvering damage get you down – with the tips here, you’re equipped with the know-how to tackle this challenge confidently.

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