How to Remove Wet Caulking


Getting the perfect bead of caulk isn't easy, and trying to smooth out a botched bead can be even harder. Often, it can be easier to remove the entire bead before it dries and start over again. Removing wet caulk can be a quick and relatively painless process, depending on what sort of caulk you're using and whether you picked up the proper cleaning materials ahead of time.

Things You'll Need

  • Putty knife
  • Rags
  • Mineral spirits (for silicone caulk)
  • Remove the caulk using a putty knife or other flat-edged scraper. Scrape out as much caulk as possible, but don't take so long that the caulk begins to dry.

  • Scrub the caulk residue away using paper towels or disposable cloth rags. For latex caulk, the rags can be moistened with hot soapy water. For silicone, mineral spirits are required.

  • Wipe the area down with clean water to remove any residual soap or solvent. Dry the area using clean towels or rags in preparation for re-laying the bead of caulk.

Tips & Warnings

  • Even if you only need to remove a small section of a bead, you may find it useful to remove the bead all the way back to a corner or seam. This can make it easier to mask the section of the bead where the new caulk meets the old.
  • It may be tempting to leave silicone caulk to dry before removing it. However, wet silicone will not stick to an existing bead of dry silicone. To get a seamless and watertight bead, only join wet silicone caulk to wet silicone caulk.

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