Is there anything pretty about seeing your bathroom mirror desilver?


Mirror Desilvering

When it comes to your home renovation, there are three key focal point ‘home improvement’ areas that will automatically give your home a facelift plus, increase its value; your living room, kitchen and your bathroom.


Having a beautifully renovated and upgraded bathroom of high quality, luxury design is the ‘icing on the cake’ in turning your home into a stunning oasis.   Who doesn’t want their home sweet home?


You start your bathroom renovation plan by deciding on a list of items such as your bathroom countertops, bathroom cupboards, flooring, lighting, bathroom plumbing fixtures and bathtub wall tile.  But, one key item homeowners can miss is choosing the right bathroom mirror and also, a bathroom mirror that offers practical, storage solutions such as a medicine cabinet or mirrored cabinet.


You painstakingly spend time going to various kitchen and bath supply stores, flooring and tile stores diligently shopping around for all the right items on your list or you work with a contractor/architectural designer to find these items.   You want to make all of the right choices for your bathroom design because this will be a long-term home renovation commitment and investment you want to get right the first time.


You purchase the majority of your wish list of items, but your budget is getting tight.  You have two more items you need, which is your bathroom light fixture and your bathroom mirror.  You decide you need to invest more money into the new light fixture and spend less on your bathroom mirror.  You go to a local store who sells low cost home design supplies and pick up a low cost mirror thinking “a mirror is just a mirror” so, there is no need to invest more cost into this item.  You decide you can live with this compromise, right?


One month later after all the bathroom home renovations are complete you feel elated and relieved the 30 days of stress, time and investment is done and you can finally enjoy your beautiful, new bathroom design!

Then you start to realize your compromise was a huge mistake!

Time passes and your bathroom design oasis has been nothing less than perfect until, you start to notice dark streaks running through or black spots along the edges of your bathroom mirror.  You are horrified and alarmed to see this.





And these mirror stains and streaks won’t budge even though; you try desperately to clean and clean your mirror.

So, the question is what causes these black edges to form on mirrors?  The quick answer is it is caused by an effect called “desilvering”.

And the next question is, what is the list of causes of mirror desilvering? 

  • Mirrors will desilver if they are exposed to moisture from a steam bath or water splashes. Moisture results in oxidation of the silver. Also, if you live close to the ocean or sea the moisture in the air is salty, which can also cause deslivering.
  • Improper cleaning such as using ammonia cleaning agents can cause mirror desilvering. The moisture from the mirror will start to create the black spots on the mirror.
  • Mirror desilvering is caused by a breakdown of the silver backing of the mirror. The silver backing can break down due to age or poor initial craftsmanship.

So, is there a pretty side to mirror desilvering?  YES, there is!

It starts in the initial manufacturing process.  How a mirror is made in terms of quality, materials and craftsmanship makes a significant difference in avoiding mirror desilvering.

There are various methods used to silver the glass when manufacturing a mirror, such as:

  • NO USE OF SILVER – Sheets of glass are put into a heated vacuum sealed chamber where aluminum is evaporated onto the glass. The molecules of evaporated aluminum rise and when they hit the glass it will cool and harden, creating the reflective backing.
  • USE OF SILVER – The glass is thoroughly washed, then rinsed with distilled water. Distilled water is used to prevent the minerals from contaminating the glass.  Then a layer of liquid tin is applied to the glass followed by a liquid layer of silver.  The tin acts as a primer which allows the silver to stick to the glass, and the silver is applied in an extremely thin layer.  The last step is the glass is heated to dry the backing, which is usually sealed on with a layer of paint.


As you can see this is how a mirror is silvered, BUT the quality craftsmanship in how a mirror is silvered is the real key factor here.


And this is where investing in a bathroom mirror or medicine cabinet (for optimum bathroom storage solutions) from a trusted and high-quality engineer and manufacturer, is the solution to mirror desilvering.




At our factory in Switzerland, SIDLER® Mirrored Cabinets are manufactured to prevent desilvering or deterioration with the SILVERLASTING™ double sided door.  We only manufacture and use double-sided mirror door medicine cabinets, which are made of two single sided mirrors.  This results in a ¼” thick door, which is generally thicker than what is on the market if you compare the glass itself.  Due to the way our doors are manufactured, the silver layer is not exposed in order to minimize desilvering” says Mario Sidler, Sales and Product Manager of SIDLER® International Ltd.

Mario further elaborates in saying, “We rarely have desilvering issues, only when harsh chemicals have been applied.  You may use your regular cleaners on our mirrors without any issue.  Further, these mirrors are manufactured according to EN 1036-1 (European Norm) which defines the distortion rate.  We possibly have the best mirrors in the market.  You can test the distortion of your mirror by moving further away to see if your reflection changes”.

So, the ‘pretty side’ of mirror desilvering starts from the very beginning by only investing in a bathroom mirror manufactured with first-class design and high quality workmanship.   This is an investment worth spending in order to ensure your bathroom renovation stands the test of time, and stays your beautiful “bathroom oasis.

COMBAT MIRROR DESILVERING!  Don’t live with regrets by compromising on this key design aspect of your bathroom!