What To Do With An Old Cabinet Mirror (Here's What You Can Do)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Is your cabinet mirror a bit too old? Does it look musty, dusty, and rusty? You’re not alone, and sometimes, it means that it’s time for an upgrade. Or at the very least, it may be time to start shopping for something a little newer. The question is, what can you do with the old cabinet mirror?

There are several different types of cabinet mirrors, and what you can do with them depends on the type you have. You can send the mirror to the garbage, replace the mirror portion of the frame, or upcycle the cabinet mirror. Donation is also a possibility in most cases.

Believe it or not, cabinet mirrors are pretty hard to work with at times. If you want to make sure that you get the best possible results, check out what we have to say.

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Can You Recycle A Mirror?

Though mirrors look like they would be recyclable, the truth is that they really aren’t. You cannot recycle a mirror because the particles inside of them can taint the glass portions of it. So while most of the stuff we discuss can be recycled, this is not it.

What Can You Do With An Old Cabinet Mirror?

There are two types of cabinet mirrors that people tend to think about. The first are medicine cabinets—which are cabinets that have a mirror on their door and store toiletries. The second type are mirrors that are a part of a larger cabinet setup. These are the ones you see above vanity cabinets and similar. We’ll cover disposal methods for both.

1. Donate It

We at Upgraded Home love to keep things positive, and what’s more positive than kicking off our list with a little good karma? Donations are always an option when it comes to furnishings. With both traditional cabinet mirrors and medicine cabinets, donation works.

You will need to do the following to donate your mirror:

  • Remove the mirror and clean it. Try to give it a good thorough clean.
  • Find a local donation center and schedule an appointment if necessary. Goodwill, Salvation Army, women’s shelters, and Habitat for Humanity all accept mirrors. Most charity thrifts do, too.
  • Drop off the mirror at the proper place. This could mean dropping the mirror off at your curb for them to pick up or bringing it to a drop-off center.

2. Sell It

Depending on the age and appearance of the mirror, you might be able to get a hefty sum for your furniture. Most of the time, you will be able to sell it for at least $15. However, if you have an antique cabinet mirror, you might be able to get hundreds for it.

Antique stores, consignment shops, eBay, Craigslist, and Etsy all welcome cabinet mirrors. It’s great. Choosing the right venue can help. Each platform has its own benefits, so make sure to do a little research before you give this a shot.

3. Upcycle It/Refresh It

The cool thing about mirrors and parts of cabinets that mirrors get mounted to is their versatility. These furnishing items are easy to use in a wide variety of projects. There are several ways you can upcycle, refresh, and reuse your mirror. Here’s some of the better ideas:

  • Replace the mirror, keep the frame. This is a classic go-to for people who don’t want to change a thing. This is a good choice for people who have well-kept historical antiques they want to maintain.
  • Improve the frame, not the mirror. A fresh coat of paint or some washi tape can go a long, long way. You can find a number of different ways to improv the frame and make it a little more modern.
  • Changing the appearance of the cabinet can help, too. Everything from a new wood finish to a new coat of paint can work.
  • Or, just add some new upgrades to the back of the mirror. Some guides online even teach you how to make your own smart mirror!
  • Smashing the mirror can give you cool (but sharp) shards for a mosaic project. You can turn your mirror into a table or nightstand this way.

A person who is crafty and smart can find a million different ways to breathe new life into a cabinet mirror. Don’t be afraid to check out tutorials on the net. Oh, and if you want to sell your mirror, this might make it possible to get a better price on it.

4. Junk It

So, there are two different ways to junk an old cabinet mirror. The easiest way to do it is to hire junk haulers. This works particularly well if you have a hard time hauling things out of your home. Large cabinet mirrors are good candidates for this type of disposal, especially if you’re clearing out a home.

The other way to do it is to call up your local waste removal service and request a large item pickup. Upon the day of your typical trash pickup, leave the mirror out by your curb. They’ll do the rest for you. If you want to try to get extra karma, send out a curb alert the same day. Someone else might pick it up and reuse it.

5. Trade It

Cabinet mirrors are one of the few things that you could probably find a person to trade with. Trading a cabinet mirror can be tricky to do, but occasionally, you’ll find frugal home designers to work with. Just offer up a cabinet mirror trade for another home item that you want. Then, exchange it.

Trading areas can be a bit tricky to find. Craigslist and Eventbrite will give you different opportunities. If you can, try to find a local swapmeet that works with home furnishings. You would be surprised at how cool they can be.

Will Local Garbage Pickup Also Remove Medicines In Your Cabinet?

If you’re dealing with a medicine cabinet disposal, then you should always remove medicines that were stored in your cabinet and dispose of them if needed. Local garbage pickup will take the medicines you toss out, but that can still be problematic.

In many parts of the country, extreme drug addicts will go so far as to sift through garbage to get pills. Sometimes, it’s not addicts, but animals nearby. Pills and similar medications can pose a poisoning or overdose risk in these two very different groups.

The best thing to do is to prep the medicine by making it as unpalatable as possible. Putting them in a bag with other gross things that deter both people and animals, like used coffee grounds, can work. If you want to keep things super secure, then you can also do a drug dropoff at local pharmacies.

Do You Need Mirror Installation or Replacement?

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Related Questions

Are mirrors considered to be environmentally friendly?

Yes. Despite the fact that they cannot be recycled, mirrors are very “green.” They require no power to work, are made from all-natural ingredients, and don’t off-gas. Moreover, people reuse mirrors all the time. So while it cannot be remade or recycled into something new, it can always be converted into something unique.

How do you discard broken glass and mirrors?

Glass and mirror shards can rip through a trash bag pretty fast. The best way to get rid of glass shards is to put a trash bag inside the trash bag, then sweep up the glass. Once the large shards are in the trash bag, place it outside. Vacuum the area where the mirror broke to remove the dust and smaller, more painful shards from the floor.

How long do mirrors last?

There is no real set time limit on mirrors. They will lose their brightness and clarity over time. At times, they may also get dark spots from water buildup between the glass and silvering. Though this can happen, you don’t have to junk the mirror. You can always resilver it, so it’s good as new.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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