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5 Easy Tips on Removing Caulk from the Shower

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Bathrooms can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew growth. Cleaning the soap scum can help, but sometimes it’s beyond just surface cleaning. You’ll need to remove the caulk from your shower area and replace it. When you’re ready to do that, we’re going to share how to remove caulk from shower stalls or bathtubs

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How to Know It’s Time to Remove Your Caulking

Caulk removal can be a big project. If you’ve cleaned the caulk without an improvement, it might be time to replace it.  

Caulk has a life of about five years. Even if it’s not peeling or cracking, it’s a good idea to replace it before problems arise.

When your caulk starts peeling away, that’s a sign that it’s time to replace it. Moisture can get behind pieces that are pulling away from the wall or cracking off.

What You’ll Need for Removing Caulk

First, you’ll need to know what kind you’re trying to remove. Acrylic or latex-based caulk may require a different process than removing silicone caulk:  

  • Acrylic or latex caulk: This is easy to work with, durable, and can be cleaned with water.
  • Silicone caulk: This type works well for cracks and weatherproofing things like windows, and needs to be cleaned up with a solvent.

Supplies to Remove Silicone Caulk:

  • Caulk removing product. You can use these products to soften the existing caulk to make it easier to remove. If you’re not comfortable with a chemical remover, you can also try a hair dryer or heat gun to help soften the caulk.
  • Caulk removal tool. You can get caulk removers from most home improvement stores for under $10. If you don’t have a caulk remover tool, you can use objects you have at home. A utility knife or putty knife will help to cut through the caulk, making it easier to remove. A razor scraper can be helpful to clean the surface you’re working on.
  • Needle-nosed pliers. Grabbing that caulk you’re trying to remove can be tricky. These pliers can make the removal process easier.
  • Cleaning products. After you’ve removed the old caulk, you’ll need to clean everything before replacing it with new caulk. 
  • Container to put old caulk into. To help make cleanup easier, you’ll want to have something to put the caulk you’re removing into.

How to Remove Old Caulk from Your Bathroom

Now that you’ve gathered everything you’ll need, it’s time to get started. This process could take some time, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re not rushing to get this finished. You’ll want to get rid of all the old stuff before you replace it with a new sealant.

If you need to soften the existing caulk to make it easier to remove, follow the directions for the chemical silicone remover you’ve chosen. When choosing a product, make sure it will work with the type of caulk you’re trying to remove.

For caulk that’s already softened and able to be removed, you can skip that step. Use your utility or putty knife to remove the caulk, being careful so you don’t scrape the surface you’re working on.

Plastic putty knives will help prevent scratching as you’re removing multiple layers of old caulk off the bathtub. Check for any loose tiles while you’re taking out the old caulking. Now is a good time to check for any other possible mold or water damage. 

The needle-nosed pliers can help pull pieces away as you’re cutting and prying with the putty knife. Put the old caulk into your container as you’re removing it to keep your workspace clean.

How to Get Rid of Caulk Residue

Once the long strips are removed, you’ll need to start removing the caulk residue that remains. Use a razor blade to scrape caulk off if you’re not able to get it off with your plastic putty knife. 

Use your preferred DIY cleaning products, or off-the-shelf chemical products, to be sure you’re getting everything cleaned up before you put new caulk in. Use a scrub brush or toothbrush to get into the small crevices. 

What to Do Before You Replace Your Caulk

cleaning shower

Be sure your space is clean and doesn’t have any soap scum, mold, or mildew. Bleach with some warm water can help you start off with a clean slate to put down new beads of caulk.

Wipe down everything with warm water and cleaning products to be ready to put in the new caulk. Nothing new can be put down until your surfaces dry completely.

You want a watertight seal when you put down new acrylic or silicone caulk bead. Silicone caulk is usually preferred in a bathroom setting because it provides a stronger seal against moisture. Sealing the edges is something you’ll want to pay attention to when putting in new silicone caulk.

What to Do When You Don’t Want to Remove Bathroom Caulk Yourself 

When you know it’s time to remove the caulk in your bathroom but don’t want to do it yourself, hire a professional to remove it for you. Be sure you find someone who is licensed and insured to do work in your home.

There’s nothing wrong with having someone come in to take care of this for you. Busy lives don’t always leave much time for projects like that. The person you hire can remove the old caulk and re caulk it for you.

We can’t remove the caulk in your bathroom, but we can help you keep the mold and mildew away. Regular housekeeping services will keep that new silicone caulk looking just like new.

Upstairs Downstairs is a housekeeping company that offers a variety of different services to our customers in northwest Chicago: 

We can get you a quote online now or call us at (630) 394 – 5543 to talk with us about your needs.

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