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This 5-step Guide Has Made Removing Silicone Caulk an Easy Task

Removing Silicone Caulk
There is no doubt about the fact that removing silicone caulk is a tricky job. Read this article to learn the proper technique of removal.
Bidisha Mukherjee
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
Silicone caulk is a building material, well-known for its sealing properties. It is a sticky, gel-like substance, that bonds well with all kinds of materials, including ceramic, glass, metal, wood, plastics, and so on. It is widely used for sealing various plumbing fixtures like kitchen sinks, bathtubs, showers, etc., to prevent water penetration. It is also used for sealing small gaps around doors and windows. Once you apply it on a surface, it lasts for several years. However, with the passage of time, its sealing properties wear out. In that case, you have to remove the existing caulk, and reapply it. Silicone caulk removal is necessary to avoid mold and mildew growing on it.
How to Remove Silicone Caulk
Some essential tools and supplies, needed for this job, are:
» caulk removal tool
» caulk remover
» utility knife
» putty knife
» abrasive pad
» bleach
» old toothbrush
The main steps of silicone caulk removal are as follows:
Step #1: First of all, you have to remove all the dirt and debris from the surface of the silicone caulk, and its surrounding areas. If you are removing caulk from a shower, you can use a regular bathroom cleaner. For other areas, you can use any other standard cleaning products. Rub the area with the help of a rag or brush to clean it thoroughly.
Step #2: The next step is application of the caulk remover on the existing caulk which you intend to remove. This is done to soften up the solid caulk a bit, making the task of removal easier for you. You have to leave the remover product on for 15-20 minutes. Details about the application time is available on its label, and you'll have to follow the same. Wait for that much time, and then proceed to the next step.
Step #3: Cut the caulk along its sides with the help of a utility knife. Make sure you take a new blade for this job. Position the knife at a low angle, and move it through the caulking. For removing it from brick walls, you have to carefully place the knife between the wall and caulking such that the adjacent part of the wall does not get damaged. If the caulked area is big, divide it into smaller sections, and cut each small section at a time.
Step #4: Now, it is time to clear up the chunks of silicone caulk. If the layer is thin, the pieces will fall off on its own. In case of a thicker layer, you have to use pliers to pull out the stubborn pieces of caulk from the gap. Scratch the edges of the gap gently with the help of a caulking removal tool to get rid of the residues which are still there. For easier removal of this thin layer, apply some warm water for lubrication. While using this tool, make sure you move it in one direction, and do not move it like a saw. To remove caulk from a wooden surface, it is advisable to use a plastic putty knife instead of the tool, to avoid scratching the wood surface badly.
Step #5: Finally, clean the area from where silicone caulk has been removed. Mix one part bleach with 3 parts of water, and rub it on to the area with a toothbrush to get rid of dirt, mold, or mildew. Dip an abrasive pad or rag into isopropyl alcohol, and rub it on the area to clear up any traces of old caulking. Let it dry up, and then vacuum clean the area. Such thorough cleaning is needed, because when you go for re-caulking, the newly applied caulk will not adhere to the surface properly if any old caulk remains.
While removing silicone caulk, you must wear a pair of protective rubber gloves, as it is very difficult to remove it from skin. If it sticks to your hand, then firstly rub a plastic bag on the hands several times to remove as much sticky gel as possible. Then, thoroughly wash your hands with plain water. Lastly, the thin layer left behind can be removed by rubbing generous amounts of nail polish remover on the skin.