How to Remove Adhesive Caulk From a Steel Enamel Bathtub

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Adhesive caulk creates a seal between fixtures (such as steel enamel bathtubs) and walls, creating a waterproof seal to protect the walls or floors from water damage. In the home, you may find different kinds of caulk depending on the builder's preference. Adhesive caulk is meant to last for a long time when applied to hard surfaces. If you want to remove caulking from an enamel bathtub, the job won't be easy unless you use the right tools and chemical products.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Adhesive caulk remover
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Putty knife
  • Cloths
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Wear rubber gloves, and open the bathroom window to provide ventilation. Most chemical products used to remove caulk give off fumes.

  • Apply adhesive caulk remover. If the kind you bought comes in a tube, as many do, just open the tip and spread the remover generously over the caulk.

  • Leave the room, and wait for the amount of time the label states--it may take two hours or more for the caulk to soften. Close or block the door to keep pets and kids away from the room during this time.

  • Push the flat edge of a screwdriver beneath one corner of the caulk. If enough time has passed, this should be easy and the caulk should be soft enough to start removing. If it does not seem soft enough to lift up this way, use a putty knife to scrape off the top layer of caulking, if you can, and then apply more caulk remover.

  • Scrape the softened caulk off the bathtub. When you've gotten as much off as you can this way, scrub the area with soapy water and a sponge. If caulk remnants remain, try WD-40 to loosen the remnants from the bathtub surface. If that does not work, clean the WD-40 off, and re-apply the remover.

Tips & Warnings

  • If a section of the caulking is already loose--before you've applied the remover--you'll save time by pulling or scraping much of this off before applying the chemical.
  • Use the putty knife and screwdriver gently when scraping caulking--if you slip, you may chip the bathtub enamel.

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