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How to Remove Silicone Caulk? [4 Easy Methods]


Silicone caulk is used to avoid bugs and pests from crawling into your house through gaps and holes in the walls, and you use the caulk to stick a piece of wood to cover the gaps and maintain the smoothness and decent view over that area. It is majorly used for fixing plumbing leakage areas, especially in the bathroom as they are waterproof. However, it doesn’t work directly on wood and metal, the material has to be an adhesive system.

Silicone caulk can be used to stick many materials including plastic, glass, metal, and more. It could make your walls or furniture look ugly if it wasn’t applied with due care. In this article, we are going to show you how to get rid of the caulk so that you can make it look prettier or more decent.

Methods to Remove Silicone Caulk

There are chemical and non-chemical ways to get rid of caulk. We will be sharing both methods so that you could find the suitable one for you.

Using silicone digestants: 

These are ready-made chemicals that you can buy online or from your local supermarket. Silicone digestants work perfectly on ceramic floors, masonry, glass, plastic, and metal surfaces. Since these are chemically very much concentrated, you must not use them over unfinished or finished wood. Do not use this product on any type of nylon surface.

Steps to use silicone digestants are mentioned below:

  1. Apply the product on the silicone caulk.
  2. Let it rest for twenty minutes.
  3. Apply another layer of the digestant.
  4. Let it rest for another ten minutes.
  5. Try pressing into the caulk with a putty knife to check whether it has turned soft or not.
  6. If yes, then take a bristle brush (or you can use the putty knife as well but be careful) and scrape away the caulk.
  7. If it is still hard, wait for a minute or two and then start scraping.
  8. Once it’s all out, brush away the residue.

Using no chemicals:

If you choose not to use chemicals, then you have to be ready to put in some man or woman power into getting the caulk off. The tools that you will require for this task are a razor, bristle brush, and a putty knife. Remember that your goal is to lose contact between the surface and the layer of caulk. You need to let as much air as possible between them to make your job a little easier.

Steps to manually get rid of silicone caulk are mentioned below:

  1. Clear all the clutter next to the area you are working on. Put away all objects that may hinder your scrapping action.
  2. Cut the layer of caulk with a razor. If you feel that the razor is too weak then use a putty knife.
  3. Fit a thin tool between the cut so that you get a good grip of the gap.
  4. Slice slowly and be careful not to touch the wall or any surface to avoid scratch marks.
  5. Do not cut all the way through the layer. Just cut a part that you can comfortably get a hold of.
  6. Hold the cut part and pull the caulk off the wall or surface in a way that it all comes off together.
  7. Pull or scrape away any residue you notice.
  8. Use diluted rubbing alcohol (do not if the surface is wooden)to wipe off any residue stuck to the surface.

Silicone caulk on a glass surface:

You need to be very careful while scraping over the glass. The surface is slippery and prone to scratch marks. You will need a hot air blowing device, razor or a putty knife, a semi-rough towel or a sponge, and rubbing alcohol.

Steps to scrape caulk off of glass surface are mentioned below:

  1. Take the hot air blowing device (you can also use a hairdryer but make sure the heat is enough to soften the caulk) and place it straight above the caulk strip for at least four minutes.
  2. Turn the device off and with the razor, start scraping. Make sure to hold the razor at a shallow angle from the glass surface to avoid any scratch marks.
  3. You might want to repeat these steps a few times until there are only small pieces of residue left.
  4. Remove leftover caulk with rubbing alcohol. Dab a little rubbing alcohol over a corner of the towel or sponge and rub.

Silicone caulk on a wooden surface:

Similar to the glass surface, you must be careful not to produce scratch marks. Also, refrain from rubbing aggressively with a liquid as wood has the tendency to absorb fluids.

In order to get rid of silicone caulk from wooden surfaces, you will need a hot air blowing device (you can use a hairdryer but make sure the heat is enough to soften the caulk), a plastic scraper (you can use a razor or a putty knife but be very careful to not damage the surface), a can of silicone caulk remover and a wooden cleanser.

Steps to scrape caulk off of wooden surface are mentioned below:

  1. Firstly, heat up the caulk with the hot air blowing device for at least five minutes.
  2. When the caulk starts becoming soft, cut a line through the layer and push the piece out so you can get a hold of one edge of the caulk strip.
  3. If pulling feels a bit difficult, then try scraping and pulling the strip simultaneously. The goal is to minimize contact between the surface and the layer of caulk. So, do not cut away pieces just to start all over again. Pull the strip in the direction of the caulk to get the maximum amount.
  4. Scrape with a plastic scraper or pour some silicone caulk remover over a towel to get rid of the residue.
  5. To secure the wood surface, apply a coat of wood cleaner.

Easy Ways to Get Rid of Silicone Caulk

In the below-mentioned ways, there is the usage of strong chemicals. We advise you to read the instructions on the back of the products. While buying these products, ask for personalized feedback regarding the chemicals.

Before using any kind of chemical, wear a pair of gloves and a mask. Make sure there is proper ventilation in your working area so that you don’t feel suffocated and inhale excess chemicals.

Here are some of the easiest ways to clean silicone caulk:

  • Using WD-40: This is a very powerful chemical that is capable of ruining your surface. Make sure to spray it on the caulk and not let it get anywhere else. Let it rest for thirty minutes and spray another layer. Using a razor or a putty knife, scrape in the direction of the caulk. There shouldn’t be any residue on the surface but if there is, then scrape it off with a brush or a dry towel.
  • Using acetone: Do not use this method on wooden surfaces. You will need a putty knife to, firstly, scrape off the thick layer of caulk. You do not have to remove it entirely, just take off the outermost layer. Apply acetone (you can also use nail-polish remover) over the caulk and let it rest for fifteen minutes. Scrape again in the direction of the caulk. You will need a dry cloth to get rid of the residue.
  • Using vinegar or alcohol: White vinegar is safe enough to be used on wood but it is not the same for any type of alcohol. Perform the same procedure that we mentioned for using acetone. Isopropyl alcohol is the preferred alcohol used for scraping silicone caulk. Make sure you read the instructions before getting started.

If the silicone caulk has a blackish tint to it, it is probably due to mold formation. After you remove the caulk, if the black tint is still there, dip a towel in a mixture of warm water and bleach or ammonia-free detergent and wipe off the mold.

We hope this article has helped you show the right way to remove silicone caulk. Happy cleaning!

Claudia Boyd

Claudia Boyd loves to keep the floor shiny and clean. She knows so many homemade methods and techniques to make the floor clean without any damage. You can check her work at floorsadvisor.

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