Can Mirrors Melt? (Read This First!)

There aren’t many situations where you would find yourself wanting to melt a mirror. Perhaps you are an artist of sorts looking to create a masterpiece, or you are just a pyromaniac. In any case, you might be wondering if a mirror can melt. Let’s find out.

Glass mirrors made of standard soda-lime glass will have a melting point of around 1,000 degrees Celsius (1832 degrees Fahrenheit). This type of heat could only be produced in a large home or business fire. Glass mirrors will likely shatter before melting, while plastic mirrors can melt quickly.

What materials of a mirror are able to melt, and at what degrees do they melt? Do you get plastic mirrors, and at what temperatures can they melt? We answer these questions to figure out if mirrors are indestructible to heat.

To understand if a mirror can indeed melt, it would help if we first broke down a mirror into its fundamental components and then to see how it is made. By understanding this, it will be easier to recognize if a mirror has the capacity to melt under any conditions.

Can Mirrors Melt

How Are Mirrors Made?

You would think that mirrors are essentially made of glass, and you would be correct. However, there are some other materials that we will also need to consider, and we will need to see if they have any effect on glass at high temperatures. Additionally, we will only consider modern mirrors in this article. This means mirrors made by today’s standards.

A mirror begins from forming transparent glass to the shape of the intended mirror. The glass which is used is typically soda-lime glass. However, there are instances where lead glass is used for decorative effects.

At this point, it would help if you consider that the softening point of soda-lime glass is approximately 700 degrees Celsius (around 1292 degrees Fahrenheit). The melting temperature for it is about 1,000 degrees Celsius (that’s 1832 degrees Fahrenheit).

What will happen is the transparent glass will be layered with various materials to give it the “mirror” finish. First, there is a layer of liquid tin and then a layer of liquid silver that is applied to the glass. However, many manufacturers use aluminum instead of silver due to cost.

A process takes place where these materials interact and react with one another. During this process, these materials harden, thus creating a reflective surface and the mirror. Additionally, the mirror will be coated with a few layers of protective paint then put into a furnace to cure. This means that the mirror is baked at high temperatures to make it more robust.

It would help to know that at this point, tin and aluminum melt at the temperatures of;

  • Tin melting point is 231,9 degrees Celsius (approximately 447 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Aluminum melting point is 660,3 degrees Celsius (approximately 1,220 degrees Fahrenheit)

How Hot Is Fire, And Can It Melt A Mirror?

We now know the melting points of tin, aluminum, and glass (the three components that make up a mirror). In most instances, we would probably want to know if a mirror would melt due to fire? This is because fire (residential or commercial) is the most common scenario where a mirror would be exposed to severe heat.

For example, most cases would have a mirror involved in some sort of home or business accident where a fire would burn. There won’t be many (if at all any) situations where you are hurling your mirror into a volcano.

How Hot Do Home Fires Get, And Can They Melt A Mirror?

According to the home fire facts of the San Fransico Fire Department, in only three and a half minutes, residential fires can reach 1100 degrees Franeheit. Moreover, the temperatures of a residential fire can reach up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. However, take into consideration that the most heat will be generated at the ceiling due to the fact that heat rises.

We know that these temperatures are between the softening and melting point of the glass used to make mirrors, but can they melt a mirror?

Well, in some cases, they may be able to melt a mirror. This will depend on how long the fire has been raging and has been in contact with the mirror. If a mirror is subjected to these high temperatures for a sustained period of time, then it is not by any means beyond imagination that a mirror can melt. Consider that these situations are scarce.

Then Why Are There No Mirrors Left After A Fire?

Consider that in many situations, the mirror will be housed in a frame of sorts or in a location where it can easily be destroyed by falling and burning debris. As with glass (windows) in a fire, the heat won’t primarily melt it, but it will break due to other factors. These factors will include;

  • Any explosions during or that started the fire
  • The frame of the mirror or other building materials going through thermal expansion and shattering it
  • Non-uniformity of temperature distribution over the mirror causes thermal stress causing it to shatter
  • Falling or burning debris hitting the mirror and shattering it

What About Plastic Mirrors? Can They Melt?

We covered glass mirrors, but not only do we get glass mirrors, but many manufacturers also produce plastic (Acrylic) mirrors.

We don’t need to go into the details on how plastic mirrors are made, or from what materials because, in essence, we all know that plastic can be melted.

We only need to determine at what temperature acrylic mirrors can melt. Well, Acrylic has a melting point of only 160 degrees Celsius (320 degrees Fahrenheit).

Hence, we can assume that plastic mirrors will melt with relative ease if exposed to severe temperatures. Rember that water boils at only 100 degrees Celsius (220 degrees Fahrenheit). Suppose you consider that a hairdryer can dish out the heat of between 80 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. In that case, we can safely say that you could probably melt an acrylic mirror to a sufficient degree with a couple of hairdryers, and it would be incinerated in a house fire.


We discovered that melting a glass mirror would require severe heat that can only be produced in a residential or commercial fire. Even in those situations, a mirror would be more likely to shatter first than to melt because of the high temperature needed.

However, you do get plastic mirrors made from Acrylic nowadays, and with a relatively low melting point, it is not beyond the assumption that a typical fire (producing a few hundred degrees heat) or any other appliance, device, or situation that makes the same amount of heat would melt it.