How to Dissolve Silicone Caulk

Written by tara hornor
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Silicone caulk works great, but it can be messy to work with. If you have to recaulk something, all of the old caulk has to be removed before new caulk can be applied. Scraping the caulk removes the bulk of it, but how do you get rid of all of the extra residue left over without putting yourself or your surface at risk? By following some simple steps, you'll find that removing silicone caulk without using harsh chemical solvents simply requires a few simple supplies and time.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Straight-edge razor blade
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Rags
  • Citra-solv concentrate (optional)
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Magic Eraser

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Use a straight-edge razor blade to cut the bead of caulk. Cut all the way around it, flush with the horizontal surfaces and vertical surfaces. Then pull out the strip of silicone like a strip of whip liquorice. Using the same blade, gently scrape off any silicone still sticking to your surfaces. Try not to gouge out your bathroom surface with the razor blade.

  2. 2

    Use rubbing alcohol on a rag to rub off the film left behind. Soak the rag thoroughly. You may need to wet the rag several times in the process.

  3. 3

    Use Citra-solv Concentrate if the rubbing alcohol does not work. It's available at your local hardware store. Citra-solve is an eco-friendly solvent, so it's not harsh on you or your surface. Use a paper towel to apply the Citra-solve on the remaining silicone and let it sit for two minutes. Then scrape up the rest of the silicone with the razor blade or rag.

  4. 4

    Use an all-purpose bathroom cleaner, eco-friendly preferably, to clean up any residue using a rag.

  5. 5

    Rub the area with a Magic Eraser if you want to be doubly sure all the silicone is gone. The Magic Eraser will also pick up scuff marks made by the razor blade. Simple dampen the Magic Eraser with water and rub the surface.

Tips and warnings

  • Before you can apply new caulking, the surface must be completely dry. This can be tricky in the bathroom. If you have another bathroom in the house, use that one for several days and let the room needing repairs remain unused. If you only have one bathroom, shower somewhere else for a few days. You may want to plan your regrouting process around a vacation to allow time for your new grout to cure.

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