How To Remove Caulk

We’ll show you in just a few easy steps how to remove caulk so you can prepare your project for fresh new caulk. Caulk can sometimes be difficult to remove, especially modern silicone caulk products that are simply designed to not come off.

#1) If the caulk on your project is shrunken and loose and easy to pull off, buy all means go ahead and remove the loose caulking by hand. Usually, however, it just isn’t that easy.
#2) The most important step in removing caulk easily is to apply a caulk remover product such as McKanica Silicone Caulk Remover Gel or 3M Caulk Remover.  These products are designed to soften and/or desolve silicone and other adhesives and caulk so that they can be removed.
#3)  Cut the softened caulk by using a sharp utility knife, or use a caulk remover tool.  In many cases most of the caulk will now come out easily.  If there happens to be several layers of caulking or if the caulk is very thick or a strong silicone caulk, you might need to use other tools to scrape and remove the caulk.
#4)  The last step is to clean your project surface and remove any residue or mildew.   Using one of the above-mentioned caulk removing products should help remove any silicone or adhesive residue.  Use an ammonia-free bathroom cleaner to remove soap scum.  Never use an ammoniated household cleaner before applying bleach!  When ammonia and bleach are mixed together, they give off poisonous fumes.  After soap scum is gone, use a bleach and water mixture several times, working into the gaps to ensure that all mold is killed.  Then simply dry the surface with a clean rag.
#5)  Your project is ready for new caulk!  There are wide variety of excellent caulking products available.  For bathtubs, a silicone caulk which contains fungicide is ideal, such as Dap 18526 Kwik Seal Plus Kitchen and Bath All-Purpose Adhesive Caulk.  You’ll find a variety of silicone caulking products at www.siliconecaulking.com.

Dap Caulk-Be-Gone Caulk Remover

Dap is one of the largest manufacturers of silicone caulk, so it should be no surpise that their Dap Caulk-Be-Gone Caulk Remover does a pretty good job of removing caulk.  Dap specially formulated this gel to soften many types of caulks and sealants for easy removal, including silicone caulk, latex caulk, rubber caulk, and many other sealants and adhesives.   Their fast-acting formula starts working in as short as just two hours.

  • Specially formulated caulk remover gel softens latex caulk for easy removal
  • Safe to use caulk remover for indoor and outdoor applications
  • Fast-acting formula, works in as little as two hours to remove many types of caulk
  • Fresh scent
  • Will not harm most surfaces

Goof Off Foam and Caulk Remover

Goof Off Foam and Caulk Remover works great the very first time to remove both silicone and latex caulk products.  Goof Off removes expansion foam and much more. Great for adhesive cleanup after new construction projects or for softening caulks around your vanities, tubs, showers and sinks for extremely easy caulking removal.  The newer thickened formula will stick to vertical surfaces which helps provide extra cleaning power.   Goof Off can be applied directly to silicone caulk, there is no need to cut it first.   Featuring an easy-dispense turret top for precise, simple application, this best-of-class adhesive remover works indoors and out.

NOTE: Every surface is different.  It is recommended to always test your surface for color fastness on an inconspicuous area before you begin using.  Do not use Goof Off on silk, leather, suede or acrylic.

  • Great for cleanup after new construction
  • Sticks to vertical surfaces for extra cleaning power
  • Can be applied directly to caulk, no need to cut first
  • Has an easy-dispense turret top for precise, simple application
  • Works indoors and out

By Miles V. Gibson on January 31, 2015

Verified Purchase

Did a great job removing glue and sealant from a fiberglass inset tub after I removed a grungy sliding glass door enclosure. The product doesn’t recommend use on fiberglass, but I didn’t have any problems (although I was concerned at first). I tested it on a small spot and was so pleased I used it despite the warning and had terrific results. The bath tub looks wonderful and no more nasty sliding door!!