Posted in how-to's

Remove Old Caulk in 5 Easy Steps

Several readers have recently asked us what the best method is for removing peeling, grimy and frankly, ugly, caulk around fixtures in their bathroom and kitchen. The answer is that this project can be very simple and even more gratifying with the right tools and a lot of patience.

What You’ll Need:

  • Caulk remover
  • Caulk scraper (removal tools by Nisaku are more effective to use than utility knives or blades)
  • Tweezers or needle nose pliers
  • Paintbrush, foam brush or toothbrush
  • Alcohol
  • Bleach
  • Clan rag or cloth

Step 1

Soften the caulk by applying a remover. This requires patience. Most product instructions require an absorption period of 2-3 hours, but the longer you wait, the more effortless it will be to strip the caulk. If the material is very old, hardened or was applied with multiple layers, it  is best to wait at least 24 hours before attempting removal.

Step 2

Using a specialty caulk removal tool, pry the caulk loose. Nisaku has 3 caulk scraping tools: a straight edge .3 inch blade, a straight edge .5 inch blade and an angled .5 inch blade.

We recommend homeowners and DIY enthusiasts use these tools because they remove caulk without scratching glass, painted surfaces, tile or stone. The long, thin applicator is strong, yet will flex under pressure for controlled use and precision, to ensure smooth perfection upon project completion.

Most professionals use a utility knife or blade, but unless you have a very steady hand, you risk easily damaging the shower, sink, tub or wall you’re trying to improve.

Most of the caulk should dislodge in long strips that you can easily peel away from the wall, though you may need some assistance from a pair of tweezers or needle-nose pliers to get those stubborn bits.

Step 3

Using a putty knife with a curved tip, like this 4-inch model from Nisaku, or the hook end on a painter’s tool, like this one from Nisaku (equipped with a hammer end if you need extra leverage) scrape away any material left behind.

 Step 4

Deep clean the surface with alcohol and then use a solution of 1/3 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water to eradicate any mold or built up mildew. Using a paintbrush, foam brush or even an old toothbrush, work the mixture into the gap and scrub it clean. Lastly, dry the area with a clean cloth.

Step 5

If you’re re-caulking the surface, be sure to use a formula that contains a fungicide to combat future gunk and grime.

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