Things You'll Need
Scraping tool (putty knife, utility knife, caulk removal tool or scraper)
Caulk removal solution (optional)
Rubbing alcohol or disinfecting solvent
Waterproof caulking prevents water damage and leakage around showers, bathtubs, sinks and windows. It also saves money on energy bills by keeping drafts from entering the home through gaps around piping and windows. Waterproof caulk can peel, crack, turn yellow or become mildewy with age and may need to be replaced. The first step to reapplying caulk is to remove the old caulk. Caulk removal is a pretty simple process that requires very few supplies and not much time.
Scrape the caulk off of the surface with a scraping tool such as a putty knife, utility knife or scraper. Home improvement stores also sell special caulk removal tools designed to scrape caulk out of corners.
Apply a caulk removal solvent if the caulk does not scrape off easily with the tools. Caulk often comes off almost entirely with scraping tools, but specially designed chemicals help remove stubborn caulk with less physical effort. Rinse off any solvent residue.
Wipe down the surface with rubbing alcohol or another disinfecting solvent to remove any remaining traces of caulk. The disinfectant also helps kill any mold spores to keep mold from growing beneath the new caulk.
Rinse off the rubbing alcohol or other disinfectant.
Allow the surface to dry completely before applying any new caulk.
Some solvents and cleaning solutions cause skin damage upon contact. Wear gloves to avoid touching any chemicals that have safety warnings.
- University of Missouri Extension: Simple Home Repairs: Caulking and Filling Cracks Around Windows and Doors
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln: HEG82-157 Weatherizing Your Home--Caulking
- Colorado State University Extension: Energy Conservation in the Home
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension: Weatherizing Your Home: Caulking
- Home Depot: How to Caulk
- Lowe's Home Improvement Store: Homax Caulk Remover Tool
- Lowe's Home Improvement Store: DAP 5.5 OZ. CAULK-BE-GONE® Caulk Remover