Mirror and green? Seems kind of odd at first. Often a mirror is perceived as silver or grayish-white because it is portrayed that way everywhere. It appears before the eyes as more silvery and not green of course. You wouldn’t be able to notice the green hue of a mirror when looking at your reflection in the mirror. Now the struggle is why mirrors appear green?
Why are mirrors green? The atoms in the real glass reflect green light more powerfully than any other light. Moreover, the surface atoms of the real mirrors tend to give a green tint to any reflection. They reflect light within the 510-nanometer spectrum which is the range of green light.
Also, the silica glass reflects green light better than others and gives the mirror a faint green tint.
In reality, a mirror does hold a light-greenish tinge in its appearance. You may notice it in a mirror tunnel when two mirrors are placed facing each other or even if you look through the edges of the mirror, a green hue will be clearly noticeable.
Why Do Mirrors Appear Green
Mirrors reflect the light of all the possible visible wavelengths just as white color. But in the case of mirrors, this reflection is one of its own kind. Mirrors exhibit the phenomenon of specular reflection, unlike the color white, which shows diffused reflection. The reason why you see your reflection in a mirror but not on a white sheet of paper is given the fact that both of them reflect the light of all visible wavelengths.
Also, a question might pop up in your mind if a mirror reflects light of all visible wavelengths, then why can’t we suggest that the color of a mirror is white? Why do mirrors reflect green?
This is because no mirror can be perfect enough to reflect 100% light. All regular mirrors absorb around 4-5% of the light during the process of reflection. And, they reflect the green light most strongly. So, they can’t solely be white instead they bear a light-green tint.
Why Do Mirrors Look Green
Now coming back to the main subject of discussion, “why do mirrors look green?”
Mirrors are made from a type of glass known as Float glass. Float glass is a soda-lime glass substrate with a silver polish at the back used to form a mirror. The green tinge is most likely due to the soda-lime mixture. Another reason for the slightly greenish hue is that mirrors tend to reflect the light of green wavelength most strongly.
When you’re standing in front of a mirror tunnel, contemplating your endless reflection, you will begin to notice that the green hue at the end of the tunnel will appear darker and stronger. In the case of these infinity mirror tunnels, the light, before reaching your eyes, has been reflected multiple times and that is why it appears a more noticeable shade of green.
Read Also: What Color is a Mirror?
Why Do Mirrors Appear in Silver
Most of the time, silver is what we perceive a mirror to be. First of all, that’s because we have an innate perception of silver as something that is shiny and reflects. Secondly, a mirror is formed by polishing silver on the back of the flat, planar glass. Now that silver at the back is what helps in the reflection process.
Also, mirrors absorb a very tiny amount of light and equally reflect about 95% of the light as a result of specular reflection. And that is particularly the basis for a mirror to appear silver.
Unlike white, that scatters the light which it doesn’t absorb and hence, exhibits diffused reflection.
What Is The Actual Color of a Mirror
A mirror has no particular color. You may or may not call it colorless. A mirror is every color of the object that it reflects. The image that is formed in your eyes is by the reflection of light from the object to the mirror and into your eyes. So a mirror has no color of its own. It may be a slight hue of green at times, maybe silver or even white.
Do mirrors are white? It wouldn’t be completely wrong to call a mirror white as it reflects light of all visible wavelengths as has been discussed earlier. The mere difference in both of them is the phenomenon of reflection; one shows diffuse reflection while the other is specular.
Do mirrors have a green tint? Mirrors may also appear green at times due to the soda-lime mixture or even due to iron that is used during their manufacture mainly for lubrication. Mirrors with a low amount of iron can be found with greater transparency quality.
Are Mirrors Green or Silver
It’s a common misconception that the mirrors are gray or silver. According to a survey, most people believe mirrors are silver or grey. Only 1% of people believe that mirrors are actually white. And, 1% think that mirrors are green.
Indeed, the color of the mirror is green. The back side of the mirror is polished with an aluminum metallic layer to make it reflective. Therefore, a mirror looks silver due to its highly reflective polished surface.
Though mirrors may appear white, gray, or transparent to many people. Yet mirrors are faint-green in reality.
Why The Colour of the Mirror is Green: 2 Main Reasons
An object appears black when it absorbs all visible wavelengths of light. While an object appears white if it reflects all visible lights. However, no object can absorb or reflect 100% light. This is important when understanding why the color of the mirror is green? Let’s discuss the hidden reasons behind this phenomenon!
- Mirrors reflect green light better than other lights
We know perfect mirrors are rare. The most commonly used mirrors in our homes are not perfect but they do their job well. According to scientific studies, mirrors reflect green more than any other color. It is because all real mirrors absorb a very small amount of light. They reflect light within the range of 510-nanometer and the spectrum of green light is also the same. Thus the color of the mirror is green as well.
- The Silica substrate causes a green tint
In modern mirrors, a thin layer of silver or aluminum is sprayed on the back of a glass. When visible light hits a silica glass substrate, it reflects green light better than other wavelengths. That is why it gives the mirror a green tint. Moreover, the presence of limestone and iron contents in the glass can also create a green tint. The green hue is not easy to detect but it’s still there and can be noticed in a “mirror tunnel.”
Is There a Perfect Mirror
A perfect mirror has to be the one that reflects 100% of the light that comes in contact with it. A perfect mirror is nearly a utopia. In reality, every regular mirror absorbs around 5% of light because some part of the energy is bound to be lost in the process of reflection. In essence, there is no perfect mirror, however, our regular mirrors do the job well enough, don’t they?
Frequently Asked Questions
Are All Mirrors Green?
Yes, all mirrors have a slightly green tinge. The glass may appear white, gray, transparent, or even white. But the reality is the opposite of what you may predict. All mirrors look green partly because of the ingredients used in manufacturing glass and partly because the glass surface reflects green more when compared to other colors of light.
Why Do Mirrors Turn Green?
Generally, the glass looks green or turns green because the glass contains traces of iron and silica. Moreover, second surface glass mirrors are made from glass that reflects a faint green tint. You can notice that the edges of the glass look green and also, by placing two mirrors in front of each other.
Why Do Mirrors Reflect Green?
It’s only a myth that the mirrors reflect all colors perfectly. So, they appear silver or gray. In particular, the surface atoms of the mirrors tend to give a light-green hue to every reflection. These tiny particles of glass surface also reflect green light better than other lights. Therefore, the mirrors reflect green.
Indeed, no single mirror can absorb or reflects 100% light. The same principle works when discerning the actual color of the mirror. Now you must be pretty sure about why are mirrors green and how they tend to look green. No doubt, the green color of the mirror is beyond your expectations and difficult to detect.
In short, the mirror itself is not silver, it’s aluminum or silver polish behind its surface that appears silver. Now it’s scientifically proven that the mirrors are green because they reflect green light more than others. Also, the glass appears green because of the silica, soda-lime, and iron traces used in making the glass.
It does not matter, why do the mirrors look green, silver, or gray but it counts a lot whether they perform their job well or not? Of course, yes. Mirrors are wonderful as they are an integral part of our beauty regime and home decor.