How to Remove Caulk

Older caulks around tubs and sinks eventually begin to harbor mildew. This signals a time for a person to consider the options. The newer types contain chemicals to eliminate the problem. Removing caulk both inside and outside the home takes the same method of scraping and peeling away.

  1. Apply a special caulk remover solution to the old caulk. Read directions for setting time and use. Buy at a local hardware or paint store.
  2. Take a utility knife, razor blade or sharp knife to scrap away the old caulk. Use care not to scratch the surrounding surface and wear protective gloves with the razor.
  3. Add water to the caulk while scraping it away. This helps soften it.
  4. Pull out any large strips of caulk whenever possible. Use fingers, tweezers or needle nose pliers.
  5. Re-apply the remover solution if needed to free deeper caulk.
  6. Remove all mildew with bleach and water. Mix 1/3 cup with 1 gallon water. For smaller jobs, add less of the ingredients.
  7. Use a small foam brush or other applicator to apply the mixture into the empty caulk location. In gaps, like around tubs be sure to brush all the way into the opening.
  8. Rinse and dry the cleaned area with water and cloth rags.

Things You Will Need

  • Caulk remover
  • Utility knife
  • Razor blade
  • Knife
  • Water
  • Tweezers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Bleach
  • Foam brush
  • Rags


  • Buy caulk with built in fungicides that prevent mildew from occurring.
  • Place wet rags over silicone caulk for several days to soften the substance. Keep the rags watered. Caulk removers usually aren't as effective with silicone.
  • Silicone-based caulk has a rubbery texture while water-based feels hard and less pliable.
  • Consider cleaning the surface area by wiping with denatured alcohol.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner to pick up all debris after cutting away the caulk.

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