What Can I Use To Remove Silver Backing On Mirror?


6 Answers

Babz Bell Profile
Babz Bell answered
In order to remove silver backing from mirrors without taking the risk of scratching the glass; furniture stripper, nitric acid, which is highly toxic, protective clothing and respirators are required.

This could prove to be quite costly; in particular as the respirators generally available from hardware stores will not be adequate and a company supplying safety equipment will have to be sourced and contacted.

Although the use of razor blades may produce minor scratches, which will be visible if the glass is to be re-silvered, the following alternative will more than likely be the most cost-effective and safest option when doing this at home.

To begin with, a flat work surface in a well ventilated room has to be covered with some old newspaper. The mirror is then removed from its frame and placed onto the newspaper with the back facing up.

The grey backing is then removed from the surface by gently scraping with a razor blade free from nicks; a brand new blade would be ideal, as it will also be sharper than a used blade.

Brushing off the scrapings from time to time will keep the area worked on clean and prevent missing small areas.

Once all the grey backing has been removed, small amounts of muriatic acid, which is available at most larger home improvement stores, are rubbed onto the silver with a clean cloth.

As this acid is toxic, although not as dangerously so as nitric acid, safety glasses and heavy duty gloves should be worn during this process.

Following this, the surface of the glass is cleaned using a mild soap to remove the chemical.

Scrapings are disposed of wrapped in the newspaper. The glass is then again cleaned with mild soap, to remove any residues and dried with a lint-free, clean cloth.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Almost anything you clean your toilet with, Snobowl, Lysol toilet cleaner, CLR, Limeaway, Zep.  All work, if you have one that has bleach in it, it will turn it black first (bleach oxidizes silver) but it will still take it off.
   Just brush it around with a paint brush, leave a couple of minutes and scrape and rinse.  Gone!
HINT: I am an antique dealer, if you do this with an antique beveled mirror, have the glass shop cut a thin cheap mirror the same size and mount behind your cleaned beveled mirror.  MUCH cheaper than having an new beveled mirror cut by at least $100, or paying to have the old one resilvered.
david anderson Profile
david anderson answered
To remove the silver backing these are a few that work: MSR (known as Mirror Silvering Remover), Muriatic acid, Nitric acid (which is more dangerous), Toliet Cleaners such as Snobowl, Lysol, CLR, Limeaway, & Zep, Bleach
Sergio Jemas Profile
Sergio Jemas answered

Good answers from other authors. In general you can try some of these variants and succeed with your problem. But in general I think if you have old mirror, better will be to buy modern new one to improve your design. There are so many cool models nowadays! Also pay attention on mirror frames, they can add some unusual and unique look to your mirror!

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I have had great luck using a product that I found on ebay called MSR Mirror silvering remover.  I also found it at www.antiqued-mirrors.com
thanked the writer.
Anonymous commented
I spent $36 on the MSR stuff from ebay and it does not work!!!! It is a joke!!! It is not any different than orange koolaide!!!! I was taken by the convincing You Tube video. Don't waste your money!!! You would have better luck with water!!!
Shayne Hutcheson Profile
If you have black paint over the top of the silver backing, you can remove that with paint stripper (which may remove some of the silver in the process). To remove the silver you can use nitric or muriatic acid, both of which can be very toxic. Make sure to use the relevant protective wear, including a suitable mask.

A safer alternative, but one that may not give the same quality result, is to use razors or steel wool. Although, this may scratch the glass.

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