Silicone caulk has recently become a popular alternative to acrylic caulk for both plumbers and house owners alike. It is used to keep the bathrooms dry, and moisture-free so that it stays clean and free of bacteria for long periods.
The caulk has a very strong moisture-free barrier, which keeps moisture away and prevents the caulk from peeling, distorting or cracking over time.
It has become the preferred choice of house-owners worldwide because it does not crack or peel off easily. Therefore, it can secure the caulking of tubs, showers, sinks, and tiles like no other caulk in the market!
Moreover, silicone caulk can resist harsh weather conditions like rainy days and stormy nights all throughout its long lifespan.
You will also notice that it is difficult to put paint on the caulk. This is because paint has a lot of moisture in the molecules, and if it sits on top of the caulk, then some of the moisture will seep into it and ruin the internal structure of the material.
Therefore, the caulk rejects paint entirely with its moisture-free barrier and protects its longevity for the long run.
One thing to keep in mind when getting the caulk installed is the fact that the plumber who builds the floor of your bathroom might go overboard and put an excess amount of caulk on the tile of the floor, giving it an unattractive and messy finish. This might look unappealing and spoil the sophisticated look of the bathroom even if you have the best brands of toilets and shower, while becoming a favourite breeding spot for mold.
As time passes, the wet and damp environment inside the bathroom will promote the growth of mold spores and make the tiles look old and disgusting. And then, the whole purpose of having long-lasting caulking will fail as the messy and molded caulk begins to peel away.
But there’s still no reason to worry. Yes, there is a way to get rid of this problem. To do so, all you will need is some patience and a little bit of hard work. If you know the right method, silicone isn't tough to remove at all.
Methods to Remove Silicone Caulk From Tile
Before employing the prescribed methods on the whole bathroom floor, apply that method in a small section of your bathroom floor first to see if it causes any damage to your flooring. Depending on the material of the tile, the cleaning process might differ.
For example, tiles made of porcelain can withstand very strong chemicals, whereas, tiles made of other materials might need a milder approach. You can read a ceramic vs. porcelain tile comparison here.
Method 1: Using Chemical Solvents
Materials you will need:
Step 1: Firstly, get rid of all the cosmetic items inside your bathroom. You wouldn’t want a bar of soap to fall on the floor and cause a slippery accident.
Step 2: Next, you will have to wash the tile to get rid of the additional dirt that might cause a hindrance when you are trying to remove the excess silicone caulk. To properly clean the tile flooring, use a tile cleaner and a brush to wipe the floor properly.
If you don't have a tile cleaner at home, you can use the dish-washing powder or detergent you have at your kitchen, by mixing it with some warm water. Now, use a mop to make the floor completely dry.
Step 3: Now, take a sharp razor or a utility knife to cut out the excess silicone caulking on the tile. Make sure to only cut the portion above the tile’s surface to avoid damaging the tile or its fixation with the other pieces of tiles.
Keep slicing the bead of silicone on both sides and repeat the process until you find a loose end of silicone that can be peeled off. Only use the tip of the knife or razor to avoid cracking the portion of the silicone caulking which is binding the tiles together.
Step 4: Now, peel off the loose portion of the silicone like a banana or a scotch tape. At certain points, the silicone might be too resistant to come off. You can use an ice scraper or a putty knife in places where such instances occur.
Step 5: Dig the remnants off by using the tip of a knife or a razor.
Step 6: Lastly, take a scouring pad and moisten it up by putting some acetone on it. You can use mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol as an alternative as well. Rub off the residues of the silicone from the surface of the tile with the scouring pad.
Avoid rubbing too harshly to avoid damaging the tile's surface by moisturizing it too much, and hence making it turn into the perfect place for mold to breed in.
Method 2: Without Using Chemicals
Sometimes, when your tile is made of stone or any material other than porcelain, using chemical cleaners might damage the costly equipment. But don't worry, there is a chemical-free home-remedy that you can use to get rid of that excess caulk and have a tiled floor as good as new.
Using Hair Dryer and Razor: Yes, you read it right. Just by using your hair dryer, you can remove the caulk that is ruining the sleekness of your tile very easily. You don't have to remove the whole tile.
Also, make sure that you know how to properly regulate its temperature, as too much heat can cause damage to the silicone caulking binding the tiles together.
Step 1: Take any hair dryer and set the temperature to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. In the Celsius scale, that would be about 100 degrees. Be careful with the heat as it might burn any part of the body that it comes into contact with.
Step 2: Apply the heat on the excess silicone caulk for about 30-40 seconds, covering an area of 8-10 inches at a time.
Step 3: Use a razor to slice and cut off the amount silicone caulking you wish to remove.
Tips: Follow "Easily Remove Silicone Caulk without Chemicals" posts that can help you to remove silicone caulk without using chemicals
Method 3: Removing Moldy Silicone Caulk Residue
If the excess silicone caulking has already been affected by mold spores, you can use the following method to get rid of it:
Step 1: Wash the caulked tile surface with hot water first.
Step 2: Then take another gallon of warm water in a pot or jar and mix 3 to 4 cups of Clorox bleach with it.
Step 3: Let the solution settle in the bottom for 3-4 minutes. Then use a foam or a piece of sponge to remove the molds from the caulking.
Step 4: Finally, after you’re done removing the molds with the bleach solution, rinse the tile surface clean with hot water. Make sure to dry it afterward as leaving it wet might harbor mold spores again.
Precaution: Using a bleach solution might produce fumes. So if you are allergic to it, then you are advised to use a respirator while cleaning the molds.
Method 4: Replacing Old Silicone Caulking with New Silicone Caulking
When the silicone caulking becomes aged and old, the moisture inside the bathroom creates a thriving environment for mold spores to grow. If it is left like that for too long, the mold grows, becomes black and laden with bacteria.
In such cases, you may want to replace your old caulking with brand new silicone caulking. The method to do so may be complicated and lengthy, but very useful.
Step 1: At first, wear a pair of gloves to prevent your hands from getting dirty and coming in touch with bacteria from the mold.
Step 2: Now apply warm water on the dried and peeling caulk to make it soft. This makes it easier to remove the old caulking layer with a razor. Remove as much of the old caulking as you can before moving on to the next step.
Step 3: When no more caulking can be removed with the razor, take a cup, put flour and water into it and prepare a paste-like solution.
The amount of ingredients you use will depend on the amount of area you are covering. The consistency of the paste should be thick. So don’t add too much water to the flour and make the solution diluted. Also make sure to use white flour instead of whole wheat flour.
Step 4: Use a good brush or gloves to spread the paste evenly over the old layer of caulking. After properly applying the paste, let it dry and then proceed to the next step.
Step 5: Once the paste has dried completely, wash it off with water. You will notice that the old caulking has also been washed away with the dried flour paste and the tile corners are all ready for the application of a new layer of silicone caulking.
Everyone likes having a clean bathroom with a shiny tiled floor. We hope that by following the methods prescribed in this article, you will be able to get rid of any excess silicone caulk that is making your tiles look messy and old.