How to Remove Excess Silicone Caulk

Written by michael kay
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It's not uncommon to see excess smears and splotches or overfilled edges of silicone caulk around a bathtub, shower or other area. Few people take the time to properly mask and clean an area when caulking. Unfortunately, this excess caulk can make a bathtub or shower look messy and shoddy. Cleaning up the excess silicone caulk will give the surface a clean, professional appearance. In fact, it is this type of attention to detail that adds resale value and can make even make a home on the market sell faster.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Sharp knife or razor blade
  • Thin pliers or awl
  • Chemical solvent for removing silicone caulk or oven cleaner
  • White spirit
  • Abrasive pad
  • Protective gloves
  • Painters' masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Caulk
  • Wet rag

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  1. 1

    Spray water onto the silicone caulk you want to remove to soften it.

  2. 2

    Slice large cuts through overfilled caulk edges at each corner using a sharp knife or razor blade. Overfilled caulk edges must be completely removed and refilled.

  3. 3

    Pull the caulk away from the edge slowly and firmly, removing as much of the caulk as possible. Pry the caulk away using a screwdriver or awl if necessary.

  4. 4

    Scrape away any remaining caulk and other areas of excess caulk you want to remove using a knife or razor blade. Scrape in one direction only, using light strokes, to minimise damage to the surface and lubricate with water as necessary.

  5. 5

    Spread a silicone caulk removal agent, found at your local home improvement store, over any remaining areas of silicone caulk you want to remove. Follow the directions on the package and let the chemical dissolve and soften the remaining caulk.

  6. 6

    Scrape the remaining softened silicone away using the sharp blade or razor.

  7. 7

    Scrub all areas where caulk was removed, staying away from existing caulk, with an abrasive pad and mineral oil to remove any last pieces of silicone or silicone residue.

  8. 8

    Rinse the area where caulk was removed and let it dry completely by running a fan and letting the area sit overnight. New caulk will not adhere to surfaces that are not completely clean and dry.

  9. 9

    Mask off any areas that need to be recaulked by placing painters' masking tape 1/8 of an inch from each edge of the space to be caulked to prevent further caulk spills and smears.

  10. 10

    Cut a small hole in the tip of a caulk tube and slowly, steadily refill the edge with just enough caulk to fill the space.

  11. 11

    Spread the caulk into the edge smoothly using your finger or a caulking smoother.

  12. 12

    Pull the masking tape away from the wall in clean, smooth motions.

  13. 13

    Wipe away any excess silicone off the surface using a wet rag.

  14. 14

    Dry the new caulk by letting it sit overnight before using the bathtub or shower again.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear gloves when using a silicone remover to protect your hands.
  • Make certain the area is well-ventilated, particularly when using chemical cleaners.
  • Use protective gloves when handling the sharp knife or razor. The blade can easily slip on smooth surfaces like tile and glass, so you want to be extra careful.
  • Be careful not to damage the surface of the material under the caulk when using the knife, razor blade or abrasive pad.

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