FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

How does a two way mirror work?

A two way mirror, a mirror that is transparent on one side and reflective on the other, is created by placing a layer of semi-transparent film of aluminum on an acrylic substrate. This allows a percentage of light to pass through and reflects the rest. We have all seen a cop drama TV show or film in which a criminal suspect is interrogated while police watch from behind a mirror. Why can’t the suspect see those watching him behind the mirror? The answer lies in the level of lighting in both rooms. The room the suspect is in is kept very brightly lit, so that the light in the room reflects off the mirror’s surface. The observation room containing the police, on the other hand, is kept dark, so that little to no light gets through the glass. As a result, the suspect sees only his own reflection and the police see into the suspect’s room clearly. If the lights in the suspect’s room were suddenly turned out, or the lights in the observation room suddenly turned on, then the two way mirror would become a window. It’s the same sort of effect you see in a mirrored office building at night — if there is a light on in one of the offices, you can see into that office just fine.

What’s the appropriate way to handle the acrylic mirror?

One thing to avoid is storing your mirror at an angle, as the acrylic bends over time. The uncoated side of the mirror isn’t susceptible to water damage, but the coated side is – so avoid leaving the coated side exposed to high humidity or outdoor conditions which may result in it getting wet. The coated side of the mirror has a protective transparent coating on it which protects against scratching. You want to avoid cleaning the coated side as much as possible, as scuff marks may be left behind and the cleaning solution may leave residue. You can clean the uncoated side repeatedly, as long as you are using a cleaner such as Novus 1 and Polish Mates.

What’s the best way to clean the acrylic mirror?

When cleaning your new mirror, you have to be careful – acrylic scratches fairly easily! To clean dust off your mirror, use compressed air (such as a computer duster) to avoid streaking. To get rid of fingerprints, the best product to use is Novus 1 cleaner and Novus Polish Mates, which you can order on our website. Novus 1 can get rid of scratches and light scuffs and also adds a protective coating to prevent further damage. Do not use water, Windex, or other corrosive agents on your mirror. You also don’t want to use Novus on the coated side unless you have to clean off some sort of oily residue.

How do I figure out which side is the coated side?

The easiest way to figure this out is to put your fingernail against the mirror. If there is a gap between your finger and its reflection (i.e., you can see the entire tip of your finger in the mirror), it is the uncoated side. If there is no gap between your finger and its reflection, it is the coated side.

What should I use to clean the surface of the mirror?

For loose debris and dust, you can use compressed (canned) air like you use to clean your computer’s keyboard and ports. For smudges, fingerprints, and stains, use Novus spray and cleaning wipes, which are specifically made to clean acrylic.

What’s the best tool to used to cut the acrylic mirrors?

Cutting one of our mirrors is really easy and cheap. Just pickup an "acrylic cutting tool" from your nearest Home Depot and just use a ruler as a guide when you cut. Youtube has a bunch of useful videos if you want to see how it's done.