How to Remove Hardened Caulk From Around a Bathroom Sink


Caulk provides a waterproof seam around your bathroom sink preventing water and gunk from seeping onto the underside of the counter. Over time, caulk can start to wear out and chip. Also, mold and mildew can stain and penetrate the caulking. There are two types of caulk, silicone caulk and water-based latex. If the caulk around your sink has hardened, it is water-based latex.

Things You'll Need

  • Heat gun or caulk remover
  • Utility knife
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Painter's five-in-one tool
  • Vacuum
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Bleach
  • Foam brush
  • Toothbrush
  • Soften the hardened caulk. This can be done in one of two ways. The first is to use a heat gun on the lowest setting directly on the caulk. Continually move the heat gun over the caulk until it softens. The second way is to apply a chemical caulk remover. The instructions on the remover will state how long it needs to set.

  • Cut away the softened caulk with a utility knife. Make sure there is a new blade in the knife.

  • Pull the caulk out of the joint with needle-nose pliers. If there are multiple layers of caulk, repeat these steps.

  • Scrape out any remaining pieces of caulk with a painter's five-in-one tool--this tool has a blade that functions as a paint scraper, putty remover and spreader, gouger, and paint-roller cleaner. Use the hook end to scrape away caulk.

  • Vacuum the joint to remove any small pieces of caulk you missed.

  • Clean the joint. Remove soap scum with a bathroom cleaning product. Do not use anything with ammonia.

  • Kill any mold and mildew with a mixture of 1 gallon water mixed with one-third cup bleach. Dip a foam brush into the mix and apply it inside the joint. Scrub the surface with a toothbrush.

  • Rinse the joint thoroughly with clean, hot water and let it dry completely.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ammonia and bleach mixed together creates toxic fumes.

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  • Photo Credit modern faucet and sink detail with running water image by nextrecord from
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