How to remove old caulk and silicone

Everyone has some ugly, cracked caulk, or a string of silicone dangling off the bathtub rim. Here’s how to remove caulk so you can start over with a proper caulking job.

  • 1

    Gather tools

    You’ll need:

    • Utility knife to cut out old caulk
    • Heat gun for stubborn caulk
    • Putty knife or painter’s 5-in-1 tool
    • McKanica® Silicone Caulk Remover or other similar product to remove silicone (if present)
    • Mineral spirits or lacquer thinner (for latex and polyurethane caulks)

  • 2

    Outline the caulk you want to remove

    Lay off the caffeine here – a steady hand is a must. Use the utility knife to make straight lines on either side of the caulk bead, slightly under the edges. A heat gun will help soften it some to make this a bit easier. This may be all that’s necessary. The bead may lift easily and you’ll be done. If not, proceed to Step 3.

  • 3

    Apply the caulk remover, mineral spirits or lacquer thinner

    Don’t spread it all over the place. Keep it to the bond line. It will take some time to work. Follow instructions on the package for wait time.

    Step 1

  • 4

    Use the utility knife, putty knife or painter’s tool to lift up the loosened caulk

    Be gentle. Bulls in china shops need not apply here. Cut and lift away a little at a time to preserve the surface around the caulk.

    Step 2

  • 5

    Clean up

    Throw away the stuff you removed, then get yourself some Sashco products to re-do the work.

 Special Tip

Removal isn’t always necessary! Some caulks will stick to themselves (including all Sashco products) and all that’s necessary is another bead of caulk over the top. If you used a Sashco product, forget how to remove caulk and get to work. If you used a different brand, contact us to find out if the easy repair is an option for you.