By Greg Amundson- Sep 16, 2020
How to Safely Remove Caulk – Especially SiliconeNothing sticks to silicone, except more silicone. Removing old caulk can be challenging. Stripping it off can be time consuming and frustrating, because no matter how good you are at cutting it away from the joint, there will always be some leftover residue. This must also be removed. A dry, clean foundation is what you need for installing long lasting flexible trim strips. NOTE: that if you are removing a silicone-based caulk, you MUST follow these steps to ensure that InstaTrim’s adhesive sticks to the surfaces.
Start with a razor blade or sharp knife and slice the vertical and horizontal edges between the caulk and the surface it is adhered to and pull it away from the surface. Go back over the surface once more where there may be more that was missed the first time around.
DO NOT try to remove caulk with sandpaper. Caulk sticks to the grit and leaves you with a pilled, gummy mess.
Step 2:Using a wet abrasive sponge or a stiff bristled brush, scrub the surfaces, but be careful not to leave scratch marks. Always be sure to wear protective gloves and work in a well-ventilated area when working with solvents. Also, please take the appropriate precautions with any flammable materials, and avoid spills.
Step 3:Once the majority of caulk is removed from the joint, apply some acetone or isopropyl alcohol to a soft cloth and rub the surfaces with pressure to ensure all residue and oils are removed – especially if you are removing silicone caulk.
- For silicone caulks, we recommend you use a liquid caulk remover specifically formulated to use on silicone.
- For acrylic or latex-based caulk, we recommend that you use a commercial caulk remover to loosen the caulk’s bond with what is underneath the old messy caulk
- For painted or finished surfaces, denatured alcohol generally works best. A commercial caulk remover may also be a good option, but remember to ALWAYS test solvents on a small, discreet area before doing the full caulk removal project.
DO NOT use mineral spirits to remove old caulking. It contains oils, which will counteract the hard work you’ve done to remove the old caulk, and InstaTrim will not adhere to the surfaces.
NOTE: When the caulk is removed, especially on bathtubs or showers, look to see if there is any black or red mold and mildew beginning to grow in the open space. If there is, don’t panic, you can clean away the mold and mildew and stop it from growing more and taking over your room. Use warm water mixed with a little bleach or ammonia-free detergent on a sponge to wash away all signs of these parasites. Rinse the area thoroughly with warm water and let dry completely before proceeding.