Replacing a bathroom mirror is one of the easiest ways to transform the look and feel of any bathroom. Unfortunately, if your existing mirror is secured directly to the wall, removing it can be a bit more involved than you'd initially think. Frameless bathroom mirrors (or builder mirrors) can either be attached to the wall with adhesive on the back or with clips screwed to the wall around the mirror's perimeter. Consequently, removing them requires a specific procedure that needs to be done with care.
The good news? It's still a relatively quick and easy task that can be performed with minimal tools or expertise. Whether your mirror is secured with adhesive or clips, read on to learn how to remove a bathroom mirror safely and effectively.
Before You Begin
Mirrors are heavy and fragile, so it’s best to work with a helper who can hold and support the mirror while it’s being removed. Also, lay down surface protection—like cardboard or drop cloths—over the nearby sink and vanity to protect them from damage.
Along with protecting surrounding surfaces, it’s important to protect yourself from cuts in case the glass shatters during removal. To prevent cuts from broken glass and sharp edges, you and your partner should be equipped with:
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Long pants
- Closed-toed shoes
- Thick work gloves
- Eye protection
You should also apply multiple strips of tape, in a crisscross pattern or an X over the majority of the mirror, to the mirrored surface. Doing so will prevent shattering and will help hold larger shards of glass in place if the mirror does end up breaking.
Equipment / Tools
- Heat gun or blow dryer
- Pry bar or large putty knife
- Wire saw, piano string, or guitar string
- Safety glasses
- Thick work gloves
- Surface protection (canvas drop cloth or cardboard)
- Duct tape, painter's tape, or another type of strong tape
Removing a Bathroom Mirror Glued to the Wall
Soften the Glue
Using a heat gun or blow dryer, begin heating up the corners of the mirror by holding the heat source six to 12 inches away from the glass. Progressively work your way from each corner to the center of the mirror.
Continue this process for at least 15 minutes to loosen the glue holding the mirror to the wall.
Pry the Mirror From the Wall
With your partner holding the mirror firmly, use a pry bar or large putty knife to pry the corners of the mirror from the wall. Slide the blade of the bar or knife into one of the mirror's corners, and begin slowly and gently pulling the handle towards you until the corner is loosened from the wall. Repeat this process on each corner until all four are loose. Continue prying each of the four sides while progressively working toward the center of the mirror.
You may be able to completely remove smaller mirrors with prying alone, in which case you can skip to step four. For larger mirrors that won't fully separate from the wall by prying, continue to the next step.
Saw Through the Adhesive
Take a wire saw, piano string, or guitar string, and grasp it firmly in each hand. Slip the wire between the mirror and wall at one of the top corners of the mirror, and move the wire diagonally toward the center until you meet resistance at the adhesive. Begin “sawing” through the adhesive by sliding the wire in a back-and-forth motion. Continue sawing until you're roughly 3/4 of the way to the bottom of the mirror.
If cutting the adhesive becomes too difficult at any point, you can apply more heat and gentle prying.
Remove the Mirror From the Wall
At this point, you and your helper should be able to pull the mirror off the wall. Pull slowly and carefully to minimize the risk of the glass shattering.
Removing a Bathroom Mirror Clipped to The Wall
Remove the Side Clips
Use a putty knife or screwdriver to remove the clips holding the sides of the mirror. If the screws spin in place but don’t come out, that means they’re likely screwed into the drywall instead of a wall stud. When that’s the case, grasp the clip with your non-dominant hand while gently pulling it away from the wall as you unscrew it with your dominant hand.
Once removed, set the clips and screws aside, and store them in a bag so you don't lose them.
Loosen the Bottom Clips
Loosen, but don’t remove, the bottom clips until they’re no longer tight against the mirror. Have your partner hold the bottom of the mirror in case it accidentally drops off the wall.
Remove the Top Clips and the Mirror
With your partner holding the mirror, remove the mirror's top clips. Once the clips are removed, grasp one side of the mirror while your partner grabs the other. Gently lift the mirror out of the loosened bottom clips and carefully set the mirror aside.
When to Call a Professional
If your bathroom mirror is particularly large, covers the entire wall, or is otherwise difficult to access, it might be wise to hire a professional contractor or glass installer to remove it. You may also consider hiring a pro if the mirror's adhesive proves too difficult to remove yourself.