The Best Way to Remove Silicone Caulk

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Old caulking in your bathroom that develops stains or mold is unsightly and unhealthy. Once mildew and mold take hold of the caulk, the only remedy is to replace it with new caulk. The best way to remove silicone caulk is to use a commercial caulk remover and clean the surface once you remove the caulk. Silicone caulk dries harder than standard caulk. The caulk remover softens the surface of the silicone caulk just enough to enable removal. Commercial caulk removers are available at home improvement centers and hardware stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Caulk remover (generic, all-purpose)
  • Utility knife
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Painter's five-in-one tool

Apply generic caulk remover to the caulk as instructed on the package label. The caulk remover softens the silicone caulk slightly, enabling it to be more pliable for removal.

Cut through the caulk with a utility knife. Cut where the caulk meets the two surfaces for best results. In many cases, the caulk lifts away once it is cut through in this fashion.

Peel away the silicone caulk from the surface with your fingers. If necessary, grab the caulk with a pair of needle-nose pliers to pull it away from the surface.

Scrape away any remaining silicone caulk from the corner crevices with a painter's five-in-one tool. The five-in-one tool has a blade end with a small hook. Use the hook corners to dig inside the crevices and remove the residual caulk.

Clean the surface thoroughly with a bathroom cleaner. This removes any soap scum and leftover silicone caulk film and prepares the surface for new caulk.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear gloves when removing silicone caulk, especially when using the utility knife to cut through the caulk.
  • Always use a new blade to cut through old silicone caulk.
  • You can use harsher alkaline removers such as sodium and potassium hydroxide; however, these can damage the adjacent surfaces.
  • Oven cleaners should be avoided, especially in the bathroom, because they will dull acrylic surfaces.

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