How to remove fresh and dry silicone from all surfaces

The advantage of silicone is that it allows you to seal and waterproof cracks, even those of fair size, remaining unaltered for a long time.

Silicone sealant cartridge

Differently from the past, today there are anti-mold silicone sealants that are much less easily attacked by mold, mold that end up ruining the aesthetic appearance of the sealing.

However, after a long time even silicone, especially if subjected to particularly difficult conditions, ends up losing elasticity, cracking and blackening.

This makes it necessary to remove it from the surfaces concerned (tiles, sanitary ware, floors, glass, shower) and then replace it with new silicone.

Unfortunately, the removal of old silicone is not only necessary in cases where it has become extremely degraded, as such cases would be relatively infrequent anyway.

Much more often we have to remove silocone sealant when we want to replace the sanitary ware or other elements of furniture that, in their time, had been sealed with silicone.

Removing silicone is not so easy as it is a material that is resistant to water, high temperatures and acid and basic substances. So what should you do? Whatever the reason for removing silicone, mechanical tools, special solvents and elbow grease are the weapons you need!

Remember: each type of surface requires a different treatment.

How to remove silicone from tiles and floors

Silicone sealant is not only used for sanitary ware, but also in all cases where it is necessary to close a crack that must remain sufficiently elastic to allow for possible expansion.

Sometimes, during the work, a bit of sealant can end up where it shouldn't be.

How to remove silicone from tiles and floors?

The removal of dry silicone from these surfaces necessarily passes through two stages:

  1. mechanical
  2. chemical

However, before proceeding with the removal of the sealant, it is necessary to thoroughly clean the areas to be treated, without leaving any oily residue that could cause hands or tools to slip during removal.

Tip: If the sealant is rubbery and flexible, it is genuine silicone; if it is harder and more brittle, it is a latex, water or PVA-based sealant.

Mechanical removal of silicone

Mechanical silicone removal involves removing the bulk of the thickness of the sealant using readily available mechanical tools, such as a sharp razor blade, cutter, scraper or cutter.

This can also be done with a professional squeegee, a more sophisticated tool with a V-shaped part for removing silicone from corners and a flattened part for flat surfaces.

Using the tip of the cutter blade, weaken the grip of the silicone by opening a slit along both edges.

To make the operation easier and avoid scratching neighbouring surfaces with too aggressive manoeuvres, it is advisable to soften the silicone by spraying water on it or heating it with a hair dryer or a heat gun set to minimum.

Another way of softening the sealing material is to place wet cloths on the affected area for 2-3 days or to apply degreaser mixed with water.

After cutting the silicone bead along the edges, it will come off by pulling it with your hands.

If there are any fragments, pull them out with fine-pointed pliers.

A piece of advice: it is true that the sharper the tool the better the silicone is detached but let's be careful not to scratch the surrounding surface and above all, in cases where we resort to improvised means, such as a razor blade or a cutter, let's not cut ourselves.

It takes just a moment of inattention to injure ourselves and that's not what we want, right?

When removing silicone from delicate hardwood floors, tools such as a squeegee or a box cutter are not recommended, as they will leave indelible scratches.

Instead, wipe the affected areas with a soft cloth soaked in a little water, using more force if the material is particularly hard. If there are any silicone residues, it is advisable to wipe them with a cloth soaked in acetone or table vinegar until they are completely removed.

Once we've removed "the bulk" we'll probably still end up with a thin, unsightly patina that still adheres firmly to the surface.

This too must be removed if we are to reapply silicone in the same spot.

To perform a definitive job it is better to bring into play products specifically designed for this purpose.

Chemical removal of silicone

Warning: when we use chemical products, that they could stain the surfaces they come into contact with, especially porous ones; on bathroom tiles they usually do not give problems but in other circumstances it is always better to test, on a point not in sight, what could be the result.

Let's anticipate that some people recommend less specific products that are easier to find, even at home.

In my experience, however, none of them has really done the job they were called to do, even though, in the absence of better, you can always try.

In the list of home remedies to remove hardened silicone sealant we put:

  • Ethyl alcohol (the common disinfectant alcohol)
  • Acetone (used as a solvent)
  • Turpentine and other nitro thinners
  • Common vinegar (acetic acid is actually one of the components of the silicone itself and you can easily notice by the not-so-pleasant smell that smells when you apply it)
  • Gasoline

If the silicone is very thick, a particularly strong and unsightly coating will remain after mechanical removal.

In this case, insisting with a razor blade or spatula will only damage the surrounding areas.

This is where the chemical phase comes into play, i.e. the use of special solvents that dissolve even the toughest sealant into a soft compound that is easy to remove.

If the label directions are strictly adhered to, these products will not damage tiles and floors.

However, as they are very strong and potentially toxic if inhaled, appropriate protection must be worn when using them.

Most silicone removers are in liquid form and can be applied in several ways: with a brush, with a gun like the one used to apply silicone cartridges, or as a spray.

After allowing the product to work for the time recommended on the package, you can remove any remaining silicone residue from around the tiles and on the floor by scraping it off with a spatula or abrasive sponge.

If the material is still too hard, give the artificial solvent more time to penetrate and act.

As the gap between the two surfaces is now open, it is advisable to spray the cleaner or denatured alcohol onto a cloth rather than directly onto the area to be cleaned, so as not to expose it to excessive moisture.

Finish by applying an anti-mould product to remove all traces of mould.

How to remove silicone from glass

Often, around the perimeter of window panes, where the glass is embedded in the wooden frame, it is common to lay down a bead of clear silicone to ensure that no drafts pass through.

The silicone can sometimes bleed onto the glass and, once dry, must be removed.

Removing silicone from window panes or aquarium glass is less easy than it sounds.

The advantage is that the glass, being a smooth, non-porous surface, makes removal somewhat easier.

It is always best to remove most of the silicone with a razor blade, holding the edge of the blade as close to the glass as possible and scraping off the silicone in the process.

In case the silicone is difficult to remove and you are worried about the risk of scratching the glass, make the job easier by first applying a little heat.

To do this, simply use a hot air gun or, if you don't have one, a hair dryer which, while not reaching the same temperatures, can be just as useful for the purpose.

With the heat at maximum, direct the nozzle of the hair dryer on the hardened silicone for a few moments before using a scraper to see if it has softened.

If the silicone sealant gives way easily, continue with the scraping process to remove it.

Once most of the silicone has been removed you can use one of the products mentioned above to remove any remaining silicone.

Often these are greasy products, so after the silicone has been completely removed, you will need to run a sponge with a little soap to clean up the glass.

Lastly, pass a specific product for cleaning glass and dry thoroughly to check that no residue or halos have remained.

How to remove silicone from the shower

How to clean silicone from shower stall when it is fresh

It is very easy to remove silicone from the shower cubicle when it is fresh. In fact, just use dry cloths and wipe the surface without the need to apply anything.

An operation that allows you to quickly perform the removal of silicone shower enclosure when it is fresh before wiping with a cloth is to remove the excess material with a spatula.

After removing it and being careful not to spread it even more on the surface, you can proceed to the passage of a dry and clean cloth.

How to remove silicone from the shower cubicle when it is dry

Removing silicone sealant from the shower stall when it is dry is undoubtedly an operation that happens much more frequently than removing fresh silicone and requires more attention.

In order to remove dry silicone, it is necessary to follow very precise steps, which allow you to obtain the desired results. Here is how to proceed:

  • To begin, start by cleansing the affected area with a specific bathroom cleaning product. The cleansing should ensure that there is no trace of grease or residue on the surface where the dry silicone is located. To test the consistency of the silicone, make some small cuts with a razor blade: if the part is rubbery then there is still silicone inside, while if the part is hard you can proceed with the spatula.
  • After softening the silicone by spraying some water, or heating the interested part with the heat, you can proceed to remove it using a scraper. Alternatively, to soften the silicone use a solution prepared with water and degreaser for the oven, and then, after a few days, remove everything, again with the scraper or a cutter.
  • To make sure that you have removed all traces of silicone, after removing it, vacuum the joints and cracks, then apply an anti-mold product or denatured alcohol to clean the surface well and remove mold and residues.

How to remove silicone from the shower cubicle with special detergents

How to clean the silicone of the shower cubicle and remove all traces perfectly, leaving the cubicle very clean? In order to clean shower cubicle silicone, it may be necessary, in case it is difficult to remove, to use special detergents or chemical products that are able to remove it completely.

The chemical solvents that are easily available on the market are ideal to use on glass as well as ceramic, metal, methacrylate and even wood, and act with a targeted action without damaging the various materials.

So, just choose one of these products that are safe on all materials in your bathroom to permanently eliminate silicone and leave surfaces shiny and clean.

The specific combination of these cleaners contains active substances capable of dissolving silicone sealant, even when it is hard, and transforming it into a very soft paste that is easy to remove. During the various operations necessary for the removal of silicone, especially when using products with chemical solvents, it is advisable to wear a pair of thick enough latex gloves, so as to avoid damage or injury to the hands.

It is also necessary to respect the indicated laying times in order to obtain the desired result, and then at the end it is enough to clean the surface with a cloth soaked in alcohol or white spirit, or with an abrasive anti-scratch sponge, in order to remove every smallest residue.

Remember that the area where you are going to apply the silicone sealant must be perfectly dry and free of dust to allow the product to adhere and dry perfectly.

How to remove silicone from fabrics

Silicone is very difficult to remove from fabrics because it penetrates into the fibres and crosses over.

If it is still fresh, it is usually sufficient to wash the garment normally with plenty of marseille soap to remove the silicone.

If it has hardened, there are a number of remedies to effectively remove even the most stubborn stains from clothing.

Trying to remove it with an iron is strongly discouraged: as it softens with the heat, the silicone will penetrate even deeper.

Here's how to remove silicone from fabrics.

Freezer: put the garment in the freezer for a few hours to harden the silicone so that it comes off more easily. Once it has set, scrape it off with your fingernail.

After removing the bulk, clean the remaining traces with denatured alcohol, which is especially effective on cotton.

  • Acetone: If the stain is small and the fabric is light-coloured, a good solution is to apply a few drops of nail varnish remover directly onto the silicone, waiting for it to work for a few minutes.
    The solvent will help dissolve the sealant; once the stain has dissolved, proceed with the normal washing of the garment.
  • Butter: If the silicone stain is more extensive and the fabric is dark, butter can be used.
    When the butter is completely melted, leave it to act for a few minutes, then remove it by rubbing vigorously with absorbent paper. Lather up to remove all traces of butter and wash the head.
  • Trichloroethylene and silicone removers: To ensure a safe result, apply trichloroethylene or silicone remover to the fabric, both of which are readily available at hardware shops or paint and varnish shops.
    To use these products correctly, follow the instructions and warnings on the packaging and wear protective gloves when handling trichloroethylene, which is very aggressive on contact with the skin.

How to remove silicone from your hands

The same properties that make silicone suitable for filling cracks in walls, repairing objects or gluing tiles in bathrooms and kitchens, make it a difficult material to get off your hands when you've finished working.

So, if you're a do-it-yourselfer, how do you remove silicone from your hands? Specifically, silicone sealant residues can be removed quickly and easily from the skin of the hands by acting promptly, using a variety of methods.

If the silicone is still fresh, it can be removed by rubbing your hands with paper towels or tissues.

To remove the last remnants of silicone mastic, wash your hands with warm soapy water, using a sponge, and then dry them with a paper towel. It is better to avoid using towels, as the silicone reduces its absorbent properties.

When the silicone has dried and the skin is uncomfortably dry and crusty, you can use home-made solutions such as pure acetone (nail varnish remover) or turpentine, applied with a damp cloth. These fluids will help dissolve stubborn silicone.

Another method of removing silicone from your hands when the product has already dried is to try to melt and soften it with the heat of a hair dryer, which should be gradually increased, and then remove it with a sponge.

You can also try scratching it off, gently and trying not to hurt yourself, by rubbing your hands with the abrasive part of a kitchen sponge, washing powder, nail file or pumice stone.

The use of hand-washing paste, typical for mechanical workers, with the help of a sponge, or denatured alcohol when the silicone sealant is still wet, are also effective operations for removing the silicone sealant from the skin of the hands.

It is important to emphasise that the use of excessively aggressive chemical means, such as bleach and caustic soda, or mechanical means, such as metal scouring pads, can cut the skin instead of removing this rubbery product from the hands, which is so useful in DIY but definitely sticky on the hands.

Whichever solution is chosen, it is advisable to soothe the skin attacked by the chemical and mechanical agents used to remove the silicone by massaging it with a specific moisturising hand cream.

After treatment, wash the garment.

DIY Editor
Do-it-yourself enthusiast. I started with the renovation of my flat and then I changhed this passion into my job.