Can You Recycle a Broken Mirror?

Whether you have an old mirror that’s seen better days or need to dispose of a recently broken mirror, you may have found yourself wondering: can I recycle this?

The answer isn’t as straightforward as you may think.

As far as traditional recycling goes, the answer is unfortunately no. Unlike glass bottles or jars, which can be recycled in most areas, the type of glass used to make mirrors, coupled with the reflective coating on the back, makes it unable to be recycled. In fact, even if the reflective coating could be removed, mirror glass still can’t be recycled.

The reason lies in the actual recycling process. With glass, this means crushing it into small pieces and melting it down. Since mirror glass and bottle glass have different melting points, recycling centers can’t accommodate mirror glass. So, while you may have had great environmental intentions to send your broken mirror to a recycling center, we regret to tell you that isn’t possible.

But wait! That doesn’t mean your only other option is throwing away the pieces. In addition to all of the crafty repurposing ideas we shared in this post, we have a few more ideas for how to recycle an old or broken mirror.

  • Make a custom hand mirror. Choose a piece close to your desired size and shape (or cut one, if you have the proper tools), then use a Dremel to smooth the edges. You can put it in a small picture frame or line the back with decorative paper.
  • Call your local art store. Since art stores often sell broken glass by the pound to makers of mosaics and stained glass, they might be interested in purchasing your broken glass or accepting it as a donation.
  • Check with a local antique store. If your mirror is just old and not broken, you may be able to sell it to a local antique store or donate it to a reclaimed furniture store.
  • Put it on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Whether it’s an old mirror that’s seen better days or pieces of broken mirror glass, you never know what someone else might need.

Regardless of what you end up doing with your old and broken mirror, make sure you use caution when handling potentially sharp pieces. While the seven years of bad luck might be a myth, the dangers of jagged glass are not!

 

In the market for a new mirror? Shop our selection.

5 Tips for DIY Holiday Decorating on a Budget

Getting in the holiday spirit doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little creativity and patience, you can DIY festive holiday décor that your family can enjoy for years to come.

Here are our five best tips for making homemade holiday decorations a new tradition in your house.

Go Natural

If you know where to look, the great outdoors has plenty of (free!) craft supplies to offer. Head outside and gather pinecones, greenery clippings or even holly branches. You can arrange your foraged materials in a vase as a centerpiece or glue to a wreath base for a unique door decoration. Feeling extra crafty? Lightly spray your pinecones with white spray paint so they’ll look freshly dusted with snow.

Repurpose

Many common household items can be repurposed into holiday crafts — from ornaments, to napkin holders, to garlands. For instance, a little spray paint and glue transforms these clothespins into snowflakes and a little tape goes a long way in creating this paper towel roll holiday tree. Don’t be afraid to see the world of possibilities your recycling bin has to offer.

Dehydrate

For the cost of a few oranges and apples, you can create a classic garland made of dehydrated fruit. Just slice your fruit thinly and place on a baking sheet for one to two hours at 200 degrees F. Once the fruit is dehydrated, you can thread a ribbon through for a lovely smelling garland or tie slices in bunches of threes to hang on your tree.

Keep It Simple

Christmas ball ornaments are inexpensive and often sold in bulk. Grab a big bag and fill hurricane vases for centerpieces or mantle decorations. Add in a few sprigs of greenery and you’ll have yourself a classic look that is easily remade every year.

Work With What You Have

Chances are, much of your existing home décor can easily get a holiday makeover. Consider draping lights or garlands over mirrors, tying ribbon around planter pots or covering paintings in wrapping paper. These simple changes can transform a room with minimal effort and supplies.

With these ideas as inspiration, your home will be in the holiday spirit in no time.

For more décor inspiration, check out our selection of decorative mirrors.

The 5 Best Natural Glass Cleaners

If you’re trying to reduce the chemical cleaners you use in your home, replacing your glass cleaner is a great place to start. While we have a great recipe for making your own, we also know that sometimes it’s just as easy to go the store-bought route.

While the definition of “natural” can vary depending on what you’re looking for, these five glass cleaners have transparent ingredient lists and great ratings on GoodGuide. Plus, since proper mirror maintenance is important to improve the longevity of your mirror and prevent desilvering, you don’t want to risk using harmful products. Also important? They work well to clean your mirror and get a streak-free shine.

Method Glass and Surface Cleaner

This glass cleaner from Method doesn’t contain ammonia and still manages to get the job done. Plus, not only are the ingredients non-toxic, but the company doesn’t test on animals and uses 100 percent recycled plastic, so you can feel extra good about this purchase.

Green Works Glass & Surface Cleaner

With a plant and mineral-based ingredients list and a big name parent company — Clorox — this cleaner is effective, without being harsh. Plus, the entire Green Works line is certified by the EPA’s Design for the Environment program.

Seventh Generation Glass Cleaner, Free & Clear

This hypoallergenic cleaner doesn’t contain any fragrances, so while you won’t get a fresh, clean smell, you can trust it to be entirely free and clear of any harmful additives.

Better Life Natural Streak Free Glass Cleaner

Better Life cleaning products are billed as “safe, green and powerful” — which sounds like a great combination to us. With this cleaner, you get both scent-free and streak-free, so it’s a win-win.

ECOS Window Cleaner with Vinegar

ECOS products are designed to offer a plant-powered clean that’s safe for people, pets and the planet. While this cleaner might leave a light vinegar scent behind, you’ll know beyond a doubt that your mirrors and windows are clean.

Cleaning might not be your favorite item on your to-do list, but at least these products can help you feel good about what you’re bringing into your home.

 

Got desilvering problems? We’ve got frames for that.

The 5 Mirror Care Best Practices You Should Be Doing

If you’ve ever visited an antique store, you already know that time often isn’t kind to mirrors. From scratches to discolored edges — called desilvering — mirrors can easily show their age if not well cared for. Luckily, with a few intentional best practices, you can keep your mirrors looking as good as new for many, many years to come.

Here’s a round up of our best advice for extending the longevity of your mirror:

1. Choose your cleaner wisely
Certain cleaners can be harmful to your mirror and are best avoided. Particularly abrasive cleaners can even damage the surface and edges of your mirror. Steer clear of acidic or alkali cleaners and avoid using any cleaner that contains a heavy ammonia base. For alternatives, check out this list of natural cleaners [link to new post] or, for a budget-friendly option, consider making your own.

2. Keep the edges of your mirror dry
Desilvering is caused by moisture getting trapped under the edges of your mirror, which can damage the protective coating and cause black spots or discoloring. While this is an increased risk for mirrors located in bathrooms due to increased moisture from steam, ensuring that the joints and edges of your mirror stay dry can help minimize long-term moisture effects.

3. Avoid spraying cleaner directly on the mirror
Similarly, it’s important to avoid getting an excess of cleaner on your mirror since it can easily drain to those edges. To safeguard against this problem, spray your cleaner onto a cloth instead of directly on the glass.

4. Use soft cleaning clothes, ideally microfiber
While microfiber will help minimize streaking, it’s most important to ensure you use a soft cloth that doesn’t have the potential to scratch your mirror’s surface. Textured or “scrubbing” cleaning clothes are too abrasive for the vulnerable glass surface of a mirror.

5. Protect the edges with a frame
In addition to giving your mirror a more polished look, adding a frame can also help secure the edges. Plus, as a bonus, if your mirror already has mild desilvering damage, a frame can help cover it up.

These five simple tips are easily integrated into your mirror care routine, but can make a big difference in the life of your mirror. You’ll thank us in a few years when your mirror looks good as new.

Ready to protect those edges? Shop our Add-a-Frame collection.

4 Tips for Hanging a Gallery Wall

Love the look of a gallery wall, but intimidated by the process? You aren’t alone.

Figuring out the right pieces to include and the ideal spacing is one thing, but actually hanging your gallery wall can seem downright impossible if you’re never attempted it before. Before you put too many holes in the wall and end up with a spackling nightmare, read through our list of top tips to simplify the process.

Plan ahead
While gallery walls can be expanded as you acquire new pieces, your best bet is to wait to hang anything until you have a significant collection. That way, you can lay out the pieces on the floor to organize (and reorganize) the format before hanging to see how it all works together. For instance, larger pieces tend to work best toward the middle of your arrangement and smaller pieces are great for filling in gaps.

Create intrigue
Photographs are great, but your gallery wall doesn’t have to be all images. In fact, using other options — artwork, small sculptures, mirrors, etc. — can help create visual intrigue. Plus, using pieces that are differently shaped (as opposed to all squares and rectangles) can help give your gallery wall a more natural and less formulaic feel.

Make templates
Trace each item you plan to hang onto wrapping paper, then tape your templates to the wall to see how the varying sizes and shapes work together. This will also help you better visualize spacing and move pieces around — without doing any unnecessary damage to your walls.

Make hanging marks on your templates
Another useful template tip: mark where the hanging mechanism is for each piece with an “X” so you’ll know exactly where to put each nail without complicated measurements. That way, you can actually put the nails into the wall through the paper of the template, then simply tear it away to hang the piece — saving you time, process and headaches.

With these tips, you can make your dream of a gallery wall come true without risking a drywall disaster. Happy hanging!

Need a mirror to complete your gallery wall? Shop now.