Foggy mirrors are a familiar problem for many people. Emerging from a relaxing bath or shower to brush your teeth and prepare your hair or makeup, only to have your view obstructed by a rapid fog of condensation on your mirror. This can be frustrating, especially if you're in a hurry to be somewhere, but there are a number of solutions available to you. Condensation is especially prevalent in bathrooms due to the abundance of hot water from both showers and baths, resulting in more steam and more vapour hitting your surfaces.
While condensation can be a nuisance and disrupt your daily routine as we explain in another blog post, over time it can lead to more significant issues such as mould, so it's worth applying this advice to your bathroom in a more general way. It's never easy to completely eliminate condensation from your bathroom but following one or more of these suggestions should greatly reduce the amount of steam on your mirror, as well as elsewhere in your bathroom.
This may seem like an overly simple solution but in many cases it will greatly reduce the amount of steam and condensation in your room. If you're having a bath or shower it's always worth opening a window to ensure moisture has an easy way of escaping. This isn't always possible; nobody wants to step out of their shower and into a freezing room in the middle of winter, but it's a good option during the warmer months. If you've ever forgotten to open your window in an otherwise unventilated bathroom, you might have noticed the alarming amount of water that will have amassed on your surfaces. If it's cold outside, you might be tempted to open your bathroom door to let water vapour escape but this will only only allow the vapour to spread throughout your home.
Windows are one of the main gathering points for condensation, particularly single glazed ones as they tend to be colder. Double glazed windows usually result in less condensation by virtue of being warmer. This same theory applies to mirrors; as they have a smooth surface and are generally cooler than the rest of the room, warm water vapour will condense on the surface and result in the frustrating fog that attempts to disrupt your morning.
It's always worth taking a moment to wipe your surfaces dry after having a bath or shower, to prevent condensation build up, particularly if multiple people will be using the bathroom throughout the day. This is especially important with glass surfaces, such as windows and mirrors. This doesn't need to be meticulous but it will help you avoid a large buildup of condensation and protect your bathroom from mould and other negative effects.
Extractor fans are an essential feature of any modern bathroom and are a legal requirement in bathrooms without an external window. Even if you do have a window, it's beneficial to have an extractor as it'll help you remove water vapour without needing to open a window during the cold winter months.
Extractor fans significantly reduce the amount of condensation in your room, especially if they're placed above the shower, which is usually the primary source of water vapour. Using a shower in a bathroom with no obvious ventilation via either an open window or an extractor fan will result in a greater amount of condensation and likely leave you with far more than a foggy mirror to worry about in the long term.
Most modern extractor fan installations will be connected to your bathroom light, meaning you won't have to worry about turning it on and off by operating a switch. If this isn't possible, using a pull cord should serve as a reminder to turn on your fan before entering your shower. Be sure to clean your extractor fan to prevent dirt build up; if your fan doesn't function properly, you can end up with just as much condensation as if you didn't have one.
Dehumidifiers extract moisture from the air and store it in a tank, ready to be poured away. While dehumidifiers are excellent at reducing the amount of condensation and other damp in your home, they're also an expensive investment and not one that should be considered a long term solution to your problem. It'll be far cheaper to install and use an extractor fan than to purchase and operate a dehumidifier. Renting a dehumidifier is a good temporary solution if you want to protect your home while you address the source of your humidity problem.
A modern solution to the foggy mirror problem is to buy a demistable mirror, sometimes called a radiator mirror. These mirrors are now available in as wide a selection of sizes and styles as their traditional counterparts, making them an excellent option for bathrooms with condensation issues. Demistable mirrors operate in much the same way as rear windows in cars; by providing a warm surface, water vapour cannot amass condensation and any water that does touch the mirror is encouraged to quickly run away from the surface.
A heated mirror combined with proper ventilation should mean that your mirror stays mist free during your visit to the bathroom. Larger radiator mirrors can serve as a replacement for other heating in your room, helping you save wall space. Heated mirrors are more expensive than traditional pieces but they offer a sure way of getting rid of condensation while you're trying to perform your morning or evening routine.
You don't have to purchase a new mirror to avoid a foggy surface; a number of manufacturers offer heat pads that attach to your existing mirror. These pads, such as HiB's “Demista”, gently heat the mirror's surface, with the same results as other demistable mirrors. Keeping your mirror warm is one of the most reliable ways of reducing or eliminating condensation/