Putting new caulks on the surface replacing the old caulks is a common home improvement task.
It is a type of task that you may need to do a few times in the lifetime.
Since caulks can be in various surfaces including your body and cloths, you need to have exhaustive knowledge regarding this.
I’ve written down a GENERAL RULE for removing caulks and then described specific types of caulk removal methods for making it easier for you to navigate.
Before going into the details, consider gathring the supplies that are needed to do the job properly.
Caulk Removing Supplies You Need
- Liquid Caulk Remover Chemicals
- Needle Nose Pliers (optional)
- 3-in-1 Caulk Scraping Tool
- Protective Gloves
If you’ve not enough time to read this in-depth article. See this video for quick learning!
Step By Step Process of Removing Old Silicone Caulk
Step 1: Soften the Caulk
Take the liquid caulk or sealant remover and spray the liquid thoroughly to the old caulk you want to eliminate.
This is not a must but the liquid caulk removers are used for softening the old caulk and ease the process of removal.
You can buy the recommended caulk remover from this review or just read it to decide which one suits you best.
If you're one of those who are shy of using chemicals or have allergic reactions towards chemicals? Then I have a solution for you.
Heat is an enemy for old caulks. So, if you have a hair dryer or heat gun on your cabinet, just heat up the caulk till it gets soften. A heat gun will do the task more efficiently than a hairdryer.
N.B. Don’t use your partner’s hair dryer without prior permission. It can happen that you make the old caulk ‘an ex-caulk’ and your partner make you her ex. [JOKING :p]
Step 2: Wait For the Chemical To Work Properly
Let the softener sit on the caulk for at least 3-4 hours. If you can wait a night, you’ll get the best upshot of using it.
Giving time to the old caulk to absorb the liquid caulk remover will make your task easier. After absorbing the liquid, the well-stuck caulk will not be sticky anymore.
There are some caulk removers available in the market nowadays that can do the softening task almost instantly. So, read the label on the product before you follow this step.
Step 3: Scrape the Caulk Out of the Surface
Take the 3 in 1 caulk removing tool and scrape the caulk with its stainless steel scraping blade.
Knowing the softness of the caulk will help you keep the pressure without damaging the internal substances of the place. So, before you scrape through the caulk, take a closer look at the surface. Use a bit of pressure to get rid of the old caulk. And increase the pressure slowly according to your needs.
Step 4: Get Rid of the Caulk From the Work Area
After cutting through the caulks, you now need to use a needle nose plier to eliminate the caulk. Grapple the end of the caulk strip with the needle nose and drag it out of the place.
This step will work smoothly if you use the silicone caulk. Silicone behaves like a piece of rubber strap when it is dried.
If the caulk is water-based, PVA or latex then it is likely that the caulk will not come as smooth as the silicone.
This step is only for those instances when the caulk does not come out of the surface fully after scraping through it.
Step 5: Use 3 in 1 Caulk Scraper Again
Removed the old caulk? Then you should see a dirty place have been left behind by the caulk.
Take the 3 in 1 Caulk tool and remove the rest of the caulk residue sticking to the base wall with its various angles and sharp ends.
Now that you removed the caulk from the surface and you need to clean the surface to apply the new caulk or any other substance on that.
You must have these cleaning products to make the surface look like a newly made one and feel like the work was done by a pro.
Cleaning Tools To Remove Caulk Like Pro
Steps of Making it Happen
- Make a solution at a rate of one third cup bleach per gallon of water. ( If you use a mold remover, that will get your work done also)
- Spray the solution/mold remover to the surface area.
- Then scrub away the surface with a kitchen scrubber.
- Use water to rinse the area thoroughly.
- And the last step! Wipe the surface with a rag to dry the area.
How to Remove Caulk from a Bathtub
The process here is not much different from the general rule. But, you should be careful of some silly mistakes that some professionals also make when they remove caulk from a tub.
The First thing they do wrong is, they leave the surface area unprotected to the water after removing the caulk. The surface area must be dried out after the removal of the old sealant and keep the area dry till re-applying the caulk.
If you expose the place to the water and reapply the new caulk to a wet surface area, then it is likely to be moldy in a few days.
The Second mistake is using a hair dryer in the bathtub. We’ve found a number of complain out there from various forums that after coming in touch with bathroom water, the hair dryer has stopped working.
So, It is a Big NO on the question of using the hair dryer in the bath.
What is The Process of Removing Caulk From Wood?
Done with reading the first part of the article? Why am I asking this? Because you’ve learned most of the things about the process. Now, I’ll only explain you about the differences between the procedure we've discussed earlier, and add-ons if any.
Back to the topic!
There is no change in the workflow here also. You can do everything in the same way as described except using bleach and water for cleaning.
Use wood cleaning oil instead of soapy bleach. This little change in the work will make your favorite wood furniture more durable and shiny after finishing up re-caulking. Some removers can damage your wooden furniture.
How Do You Remove Old Caulk From Bricks
This is also the same process as the general Rule. A slight change in the softening process will do the work more efficiently in this regard.
Using caulk softener on bare bricks is not recommended. The ingredients that manufacturers use in the caulk remover is not good for bare brick. You can use a heat gun or hair dryer instead of liquid caulk remover.
And the rest of the process is the same.
How To Remove Caulk From Hands
When getting rid of the old caulk from a surface wall is easy, getting rid of the same thing from your hands can be a bit tricky.
Since there is no option to protect your hand from coming in touch with the caulk. You can follow this instruction to get rid of the caulk.
Ordinarily, it takes 24 hours to stick the caulk to the surface. So, it is quite sure that a you wouldn’t rest the caulk in the skin for such a long period of time.
We will discuss two different methods of removing caulk from hands or skin.
1. Removing Caulk With Plastic From Hand When It is Not dried
If you get stuck with wet caulk in your hand, just take a plastic grocery bag.
Grab the caulk with the bag and pluck it from the hand.
You can use a tissue paper instead of a plastic bag but Don’t use a fabric towel. As caulk is waterproof when it is dried, the towel will not be able to soak water afterward.
You can rub your hand with the plastic bag also to remove the wet sealant from your hand.
After removing most of the caulks from your hand, you can now rinse the hand with water to eliminate the rest.
If this whole process doesn’t make your hand completely clean, repeat the process after drying it with a paper towel. Just make sure you don't overdo it.
2. Removing Caulk From Hands When It is Dried
If you are late and let the caulk to be dried out, the method we’ve discussed earlier won’t work for you.
But don’t be hopeless because we’re here to guide you through the process by which your hands will be clean again.
There’re 3 proven methods, either of them will work fine if done correctly.
a. Remove Dry Caulk By Acetone or Nail Polish Remover
You can use acetone or nail polish remover on the dry caulk of your hand to remove those. Using these chemicals will soften the caulk and ease the task for you.
b. Using Hair Dryer
As we’ve discussed earlier using a hair dryer to soften the newly applied caulk, it will work on your hand too!
Just be conscious about not using excessive heat that can burn your skin. Use moderate heat on the caulk to make the work smoother.
c. Use white Spirit
This is a turpentine substitute used for weakening the hardest of the silicone caulk. You can use that on your hand but a very mild amount should be applied.
What if all these efforts failed, and stubborn silicone make remarks of work on your body? Then you have nothing to do but keeping patience.
Normally, it takes a month for the human body to replace the upper layer of the skin with a new layer but when it stuck with some external substance, it does the work fast. So, the caulk should wipe out within a week if you leave this to naturally wipe out.
The Process of Removing Caulk From a Gun
Done with caulking? And now that you wanna remove caulk tube from the caulking gun without leaking the remaining caulk in the tube, right?
Here is the process.
At first, you need to make a blockade at the opening of the tube. You can use your fingertip or a scotch tape to seal the opening.
Press the release lever of the gun located at the back part of the gun. Hold the lever pressed and drag the plunger back to remove the caulk tube from the gun.
Cautiously remove the caulk tube from the gun. Wash the caulk tube and the gun before you put these inside the storeroom for further use.
Read Also: Is Caulk Flammable or Not? The Best Answer
How to Remove Silicone Caulk From Clothes
When you’re caulking in your backyard, it is very unlikely that some of the residues are not stuck to your body and clothes. After finishing up, you have to remove the caulks from your shirts!
So, Let’s dive in.
Removing caulk from a cloth is not that hard. You just need to put your cloth in the freezer for an hour or two.
After that, pull the caulk out of the cloth. Easy as you calm!
You can use ice cubes on the affected area instead of putting the whole cloth into the freezer.
Nail polish remover can do that job for you also but before applying any chemical substance on the cloth, make sure it has enough strength against the chemical reaction. You can ruin your favorite shirt by applying the nail polish remover. So, take precaution.
Removing Fresh Caulks
If you need to remove freshly applied caulks from the floor or tile, just grab a putty knife or 3-in-1 caulk removing tool and cut through the caulks.
After eliminating most of it, use a cloth or paper towel to wipe the surface.
Proceeding in this way should remove all the newly placed sealants, if you see anything stick to the surface, use any of the methods from above.
So you are now well educated about the caulk removal process which we have discussed in this whole guide on how to remove caulk. When you remove old caulk from the surface, please be cautious about the substance you use for the removal.
The caulk removing chemicals and sharp razor blade or knife can harm you if you don’t get enough precaution.
If there is anything that I missed, leave a comment about that in the form below. I’ll get back to you with the solution soon.