When you are looking for something that will seal your bathroom fixtures and protect your home from mold and mildew, few things are as effective as silicone-based caulk. Silicone caulk will dry to be tough as nails, and it will protect your home and your woodwork from moisture.
The problem is that silicone caulk is so tough that it can be difficult to remove. The best way to remove silicone caulk is to use a three-tiered strategy for removal.
Silicone caulk is not sharp and it will not cut you when you handle it. To start off your removal project you need to clean the caulk so that you can see exactly where it meets the wall or the surface it is attached to.
This becomes important later as well, and you will be cleaning the silicone a few times during removal. Grab any bits and pieces of the caulk that you can reach by hand and begin slowly pulling them away from the surface.
If you pull too fast you may damage the surface of whatever your caulk is attached to, so be sure to pull gently and slowly. Do not work too hard at this step; this is just to remove the easy pieces.
With a Knife
Put on some protective gloves and use a sharp utility knife for the next phase of your removal strategy. Always be very careful when using sharp knives, especially in areas that are slick such as a bathtub.
The act of scoring caulk is when you run a knife carefully in between the surface the caulk is attached to and the caulk itself. Always cut into the caulk and not into the attached surface.
Score the caulk on each side where it is attached to a surface, and then slowly pull away the pieces. Work slowly here to avoid damage to your surface and to yourself.
Once you have scored as much of the caulk as you can it is time to clean the area again so you can see what is left. With a putty knife, simply run along the silicone caulk that is left and remove it.
If you get resistance from some sections of caulk try loosening it up with some mineral spirits. Removing silicone caulk is not impossible, but it does take much longer to remove than water-based caulk.
But then again, that is what makes silicone caulk so reliable in the first place.