remove caulk before installing instatrim

Caulk Removal Tips Before Installing Flexible Trim

Removing caulk from a bathtub, sink, kitchen or any application is required before making any repairs, refresh or installations. This is because clean, dry surfaces are the basis for good adhesion. If you are wondering what the best way to remove caulking is, here are some tips on how to properly remove caulk to give you a fresh and clean start.


How to Safely Remove Caulk – Especially Silicone

Nothing 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.

Step 1:

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.

Step 4:

Install InstaTrim, flexible trim strips, also known as peel and stick caulk, instead of that messy, tube caulking so you never have to do this again. Whether its your kitchen counter, RV, cabin, or bathroom, using a flexible trim strip like InstaTrim will save you time, and also removes the need for you to do this project again any time soon.

Still need help removing silicone caulk?

Despite it being so easy to install, we support our customers the best we can and have added Learn How and Resources content to our website. Also, we are known for our outstanding customer service, if you need any help or have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to contact us directly.