How to remove silicone from countertops

Updated February 21, 2017

The reason silicone usually gets on a countertop is because it was used to caulk any adjacent joints, such as where the countertop meets a wall. Of all the caulks that are used to seal joints, silicone is considered the toughest to remove. Unfortunately, whether you are refinishing the countertop or removing excess caulk, you will have to remove the silicone to accomplish the task. Removing the silicone is a slow process that requires patience.

Scrape off as much silicone as you can with a plastic scraper. The tool you use to scrape off silicone largely depends on the material that was used to make your countertop. Since most countertops can easily be scratched, a plastic tool is better.

Pour rubbing alcohol or white spirit on the silicone. Let the alcohol or white spirit soak the silicone overnight.

Vigorously scrape off as much silicone as you can with without damaging the surface of the countertop. Grasp any looses pieces of the silicone with needle-nose pliers. Pull out as much silicone as you can with the pliers, loosening up the silicone as you go along with a plastic scraper.

Apply a commercial caulk-removing product to the silicone.

Allow the caulk remover to soak and soften the silicone for the time recommended on its instructions.

Cut a slice in the silicone caulk with a utility knife.

Remove the silicone in accordance with the instructions listed in Step 3.

Clean the area where the silicone was removed with a household cleaner that does not contain ammonia.


Rubbing alcohol or white spirit take longer to work than a commercial caulk remover.


Wear gloves to avoid bare skin coming into contact with the silicone remover.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic scraper
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • White spirit
  • Silicone caulk-removing product
  • Utility knife
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Non-ammonia cleaner
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About the Author

John Smith is a writer with over 30 years experience. He has worked at a newspaper, various magazines and websites, and he has interests in a wide range of subjects including sports, politics and entertainment. Smith earned a bachelor's degree in history from the College of New Jersey.