Home products to remove silicone caulk

Written by chris deziel Google
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Home products to remove silicone caulk
The job of caulk removal can be a messy one. (full hand print on silicon image by Andrew Brown from Fotolia.com)

Silicone caulk does a great job of waterproofing cracks in porcelain, wood, glass and many other materials. It has excellent adhesion and because of this, it is very difficult to remove. You may have limited success with solvents like acetone, lacquer thinner or vinegar, but be prepared to scrape most of it off with a razor blade.

Paint Solvents

Acetone will soften silicone, especially if you soak it for awhile. It is appropriate for removal from glass or porcelain, but will damage finishes on wood and metal. Lacquer thinner is a somewhat stronger solvent than acetone and will also loosen silicone, but it is even more likely to damage the surface finish of the material from which the caulk is being removed. You can also try denatured alcohol or paint thinner, both of which are easier on finishes, but also easier on the caulk.

Household Vinegar

Vinegar and a scrub sponge can sometimes remove silicone. Soak the sponge liberally with vinegar and moisten the surface of the caulk. Let it sit for five or 10 minutes then scrub with the rough side of the scrubber. Vinegar will not harm finishes in the same way as acetone or lacquer thinner, so you can feel free to repeat this process as many times as desired, or until the caulk comes off.

Latex Paint Remover

Removing silicone caulk from clothing can be especially difficult since the only sure-fire removal method is cutting or scraping it away. Products for removing dry latex paint may soften the silicone enough to work it out of the material. This method will be more effective if the silicone hasn't fully dried yet.

A Utility Knife and Elbow Grease

Silicone caulk is intended to be permanent, and there is no product that will fully dissolve and remove it. Your most reliable recourse is to cut and scrape it away with a utility knife. Removing the bulk of the caulk in this way, and then using a solvent to soften the rest and scrub it away, may be the best plan to pursue. Do not try to sand the caulk away with sandpaper. You will end up spreading it around instead of removing it and might damage your surface in the process.

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