How to Remove Outdoor Caulking

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Things You'll Need

  • Gloves

  • Razor blade or putty knife

  • Mineral spirits

  • Old cloths

  • Toothbrush

  • Dish detergent

  • Water

Image Credit: John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Homeowners use caulking for a variety or projects all around their homes. A common use for outdoor caulking is sealing around windows, doors and aluminum siding. The two most durable types of caulk to use outside are acrylic caulk and polyurethane caulk. Both of these caulks can be painted once they are applied, which is not the case with other types of caulk, such as silicone. Regardless of the type of caulk you choose for your home's exterior, you should remove and replace caulking annually.


Step 1

Put on your gloves. Remove as much of the old caulking as you can using the edge of a razor blade or a putty knife. Be very careful not to cut yourself if you are using a razor blade. Continue to scrape until all of the caulking is removed.

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Step 2

Apply a small amount of mineral spirits to an old cloth and set it on the remaining caulk and caulk residue. Let it sit for several minutes. Use the cloth to scrub the area and remove any remaining caulking that couldn't be removed by scraping. Apply more mineral spirits to your cloth as needed. If you are having trouble getting into corners, use an old toothbrush.


Step 3

Mix ¼ tsp dish detergent with 2 cups warm water. Wet a clean cloth in soapy water and wipe the affected area well to remove any traces of the mineral spirits. Wet another cloth with warm water and wipe the area to rinse off the detergent.


Be sure you have removed all traces of the old caulking before attempting to apply new caulking. Many types of caulking, including silicone, will not stick to itself.


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