How to Remove Caulking

caulk

Victor asked: How can I remove old mildewed caulking from shower surfaces? The caulking is hard to remove. It’s black and brown in some areas. I need an easier way to remove.

When caulking becomes covered with mildew, there is no way to clean it. The only option is to cut it out and replace it with new. Depending on how it was installed, it can be a time-consuming task. Fortunately, there are some products available to help make the job easier. Try out method below to get the old caulk out so that new, brighter caulk can take its place.

You Will Need:

  • Caulk Remover (ex: 3M Caulk Remover)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Single edge razor blade
  • Tweezers or pliers
  • Bleach
  • Water
  • Soft cloths
  • Vacuum

Steps to Remove the Caulk and Clean the Mildew:

  1. Start by removing as many strips of caulking as possible.
  2. Use the razor blade to loose the edges and then lift the end of the strip.
  3. Try to grasp the end with tweezers or pliers and pull out in a long strip. The more you can remove this way, the better off you’ll be.
  4. The next phase is to tackle the areas that can’t be removed by simple scraping or pulling. Start by putting on your rubber gloves to apply the caulk remover. It doesn’t completely remove the caulk, but it softens it to a state that is much easier to scrape away.
  5. Apply the remover following the manufacturer’s instructions and allow it to set, usually for about 4 hours.
  6. After the caulk has softened, the work begins. You will need to scrape the areas using the razor blade.
  7. Once the caulk is removed, you will have to be sure there is no backer rod still in place. Backer rod is a foam strip that is sometimes inserted to fill gaps and give the caulk some support. If there is a backer rod present, you will need to remove that as well. It should pull out in a long strip, similar to the caulking.
  8. Once all of the caulking is removed, use a soft cloth to wipe the area down.
  9. Vacuum the crevices and joints to ensure there is no loose material floating around.
  10. The next step is optional, but is helpful to ward off the return of the mold and mildew.
  11. Mix a solution of 1 part bleach with 2 parts water.
  12. Use the soft cloth to wipe down the entire area with the solution. The bleach will kill any remaining mold and mildew to help prevent it from returning.
  13. Allow the area to dry completely before installing new caulking.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • When selecting the new caulking look for types that are made specifically for bathrooms and/or are labeled as mildew resistant.

Comments

  1. Judy says:

    I have some areas on the tub surround that the caulking smeared and I want to know the best way to remove my errors. It was the first time I’ve ever caulked and I got much better as I went, but the one area has a lot of smear. Thanking you in advance, Judy

  2. Tom says:

    Take regular rubbing alcohol and put on a small cloth and rub it off after dampening with alcohol.

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