Have you looked at the tiles of your kitchen recently? Or how about the worn-out porcelain shingles in your shower that’s begging for your attention to do something about them?
The main reason behind all those old and grumpy-looking walls and floors are the molds and mildews that have crept along over the years!
And now no matter how much you scrub and try to make the surface as clean as possible, the stubborn growth of the mold spores always finds a way to make a comeback and leave your home look unclean and uninviting.
One good solution is to remove the old caulking and redo the surface with an anti-mildew substance and give it a fresh new look. The “removing” part might sound easy, but if you have no prior knowledge, then you might up end up having a difficult time with it.
Reading this article on how to remove silicone caulk in different ways will not only make your job a lot easier but also it will keep the tiles scratch-free and protect the surrounding surface as well.
What Is Silicone Caulk?
The French term “cauquer” means to press down. When you press this substance in between the gap of two joins, it covers that specific area and protects it from the outside environment.
Caulk is an age-old material that has been present since medieval times. People used to apply this compound to fill out the cracks on their ships and repair them effectively.
Even now, this waterproof chemical substance is extremely popular to fill gaps between bricks, tiles or along the edge of a newly installed window. The reason why we choose to talk about the silicone caulk over others is that it’s heat-resistant and not prone to breaking easily under the pressure.
Once you are done applying the sealant on a surface, it freezes and becomes rock-solid. So, before you try to take it off, I would suggest you gather enough info on how to do this job properly.
Not only it will save you from a lot of hassle, but also it will help prepare the surface for a new sealant to adhere quickly. We review some good quality exterior caulk here.
Removing Silicone Caulk | Different Methods
Whether you are looking for a strong solvent that will dissolve the caulk instantly or want to go all-natural use chemical-free ingredients, we got you covered in all aspects!
Removing Caulk Using Vinegar
Let an eco-friendly, bio-degradable acetic solution to help you clean out any old or tough spots with a breeze!
Vinegar, or more precisely, White vinegar is an excellent solvent to soften up any surface and helps break it down easily.
A. Pour The Content
Depending on how much area you want to cover, pour the necessary amount of vinegar into a large bowl. Then you can use either a small rag or a dish scrubber and give it a good soak into the solution.
After that, place the rag or the scrubber on the affected area and let it rest there for a few minutes.
B. Scrub The Surface
The vinegar has started to soften up the area by this time. Now all you have to do is to scrub away! Keep rubbing on the surface as long as the cloth is wet. Once it becomes fully dry, dip it into the solution and repeat this step.
C. Remove The Residue
You may have already been able to remove quite a few strips already. However, there should be still some leftover pieces on the surface.
To remove those pieces, get some warm water and dampen the scrubber into the that. Gently wipe away all the remaining pieces until they are removed completely.
Removing Caulk With A Hair Dryer
Yep. You heard it right!
A hairdryer is a versatile tool that is capable of handling more than just styling your hair. This simple, yet powerful equipment can generate enough heat to loosen up the sealants between the joints and help remove it effectively.
Without any further ado, let’s check out the necessary steps to do this job.
A. Start With The Lowest Settings
Although using a hairdryer for this purpose is safe, it’s still a good idea to start slow and choose the higher settings only if it’s necessary.
Point the dryer to the required area and switch it on. Make sure to put the nozzle against the surface and hold it there for around 30 to 40 seconds and start moving it up and forth in slow motion.
B. Use A Tool To Remove The Pieces
Grab a knife or a sharp razor and start scraping the loose materials away. You can also go with a Removal Tool to protect the tiles or floor from being damaged in this process.
Don’t forget to wear a protective glove while you are on this job and work with caution.
C. Remove The Residue
To get rid of any chunky residue, you will need a sponge and a can of mineral spirit.
First, dip the sponge into the spirit and apply the wet sponge directly onto the affected area.
Wait around 5-6 minutes and allow the solvent to penetrate the surface.
After that, gently scrub the surface and wipe away all the leftover residue on the surface.
In the below video describe the whole process properly.
Removing Caulk Using Flour Mixture
Sometimes the most difficult things are done using the most ordinary items!
To make the floors of your kitchen ready for a new makeover, you can use a common ingredient that you use to cook food from time to time.
A white flour-water mixture is a simple, yet efficient way of removing any traces of old sealants used on the surface.
A. Prepare The Surface
You will need a bowl of water and a knife for this step.
First, use the knife to get rid of all the large pieces and scrape the surface well.
To make things easier, splash the surface with water. It will help soften up the surface and let you work more comfortably.
B. Make The Mixture
This is the most crucial part. You have to mix the white flour and water in a proper ratio so that it resembles the consistency of a thick paste.
It’s a good idea to start slow and add only a little water into the flour at first. Mix it well and keep checking to see if it meets the right amount of consistency yet and stop immediately after it turns into a thick paste.
C. Spread Over The Surface
Now that your mixture is ready, spread it all over the affected areas. You can use your fingers to make sure the entire area is covered evenly.
Then, wait for the paste to become dry and adhere to the surface.
After the mixture is completely dried in, use water to wash all of it away. You will be rewarded with a smooth surface, as the paste takes all of the gunk with it.
Tips For Removing Silicone Caulk From Different Surfaces
Fiberglass Shower Stall
It’s important to note that, while you are prepping a surface to get cleaned, there shouldn’t be any other liquid or foamy substance on it. Ergo, you have to get rid of all the soap residue that may lay on the shower stall beforehand.
The best way to get rid of the caulk stains from your hand is to use a nail polish remover. Check to see if the solution contains acetone in it and soak a paper towel in it.
Then use the towel to gently pat on your hand and wait for a few minutes before washing it off.
In a situation like this, it’s a good idea to go with a commercial liquid remover instead of any homemade solutions. Solutions like DAP Caulk-Be-Gone is strong enough to dissolve even a rock-solid material within a short amount of time.
While you are giving full concentration to the newest project at hand, it’s easy to get some sealant on your clothing without you even noticing it!
Don’t worry, there’s a super-simple way to solve this problem. Just fold your garment and throw it in the freezer. Check to see if the sealant has frozen properly and use your finger to gently peel away the brittle pieces.
Even after using a chemical solvent or a homemade DIY solution, it’s still hard to get rid of all the stains from a wooden surface properly.
A good-quality wood cleaner will be able to help you out in this case. From walnut floors to the varnished and lacquered ones, different types of cleaning products are available for each type of surface.
Trying to remove caulk from an aluminum surface might be a little harder than the others. The paint on the surface has a risk of coming off in the process.
Remove the large pieces with a knife at first. Then, use a caulking stripper to get rid of the leftover particles. However, make sure to peel the stripper gently to avoid damaging the surface.
Precaution And Safety Measures
Self-care comes first. It’s easy to get distracted while working and injure yourself. However, most of these incidents can be avoided just by taking some preventive measures beforehand.
Wear A Cut-Resistant Glove
It’s highly recommended to wear a protective-glove on both hands while removing caulk from any surface. As you might need to use sharp tools while working, it’s better to use Seamless Knitted Gloves, which will protect your fingers from getting cut by accident.
Rinse With Water
In case your skin comes in close contact with the caulk removing solution, try to remove it quickly before it dries. Rinse with water and pat the skin dry afterward. If any kind of irritation persists, go to a doctor and seek professional help.
Keep It Out Of Children’s Reach
As the caulk removing product is made of strong chemicals, swallowing it might cause stomach poisoning and respiratory issues. It’s, therefore, a good idea to keep the solution out of reach from children and pets to avoid a trip to the hospital.
Wrapping It Up
The first step to a re-caulking project is to remove the old one entirely and prepare the surface to give that location a new, fresh look. The silicone caulk, however, might seem light and fragile, but it develops a strong bond over time which is tough to remove without proper guidelines.
As a beginner, it might be a little hard to grasp all the concepts at once. But once you get to know how to remove silicone caulk properly, you will never want to hire a professional to do this simple job and even help out your friends in need!