I'm trying to remove caulking from my shower so I can replace it.

It's not coming out easily. One piece, about 8 inches, came out and that was good, but others are very short. This is going to take forever. I've been using the tool here by trying to put it under the caulk and pulling it up. I think it's intended to be a burnisher, left over from my art major days long ago, but the curved end is helpful. I read somewhere where a person had trouble getting caulk out because it was hard and brittle. This caulk isn't like that. It just doesn't want to pull out like I want it to. Ideas?
q i m trying to remove caulking from my shower so i can replace it, cleaning tips, home maintenance repairs, house cleaning, minor home repair
  65 answers
  • Gail lichtsinn Gail lichtsinn on Jan 02, 2016
    try heating a small section with a blow dryer to make it even softer..you might try to take a small utility and cut it at the top and the bottom heat it and then try your tool..If you have an idea what kind of calk it is it might have a solvent for the left over crumbs but it also might damage surrounding surfaces.Its doing what its supposed to do..Stick and seal
  • M. How M. How on Jan 02, 2016
    Louise: Try using Lacquer thinner. I know it softens latex paint enough to allow you to scrape it off. After it is softened, use a narrow plastering trowel to lift it away from the edge of the tub. Use more lacquer thinner if it is not soft enough so you won't scrape the finish on the tub and tiles. Gail is also on the right track -- softening it will help a lot. Please post your success so others who have the same problem will know how to proceed. Good luck.
  • K Jones K Jones on Jan 02, 2016
    A repair man once told me he heated up the end of a flat head screwdriver to remove it. Said it picked it right up. I've never tried it myself though.
  • Regina Regina on Jan 02, 2016
    I just removed mine in the kitchen. I used a caulk remover first, which softened the caulk and made it much easier to remove. I also used a razor blade to cut along the edge.
  • 512181 512181 on Jan 02, 2016
    You might try a 5-in-1 tool. If you have a Dremmel, I found this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR-2TLqZ-b8
  • Tara Kotry Tara Kotry on Jan 02, 2016
    There is a hard plastic V shaped tool you can get at the hardware store that works great. Go on you tube and type in bathtub caulk removal. It will show you how also.
  • Lisa Cosentino Wattley Lisa Cosentino Wattley on Jan 02, 2016
    I used a combination of the caulk softener (give it time!), razor and the plastic V. I had to replace the V with a flat head screwdriver because the V hurt my hand and didn't work as well as I had hoped. Oh, also, I have small bent head needle nose pliers because I make jewelry - that was very helpful. You could try regular needle nose pliers or find the jewelry making one for a few dollars at a craft store. My caulking was a hot mess. It took time and patience but was worth it. Put on some music and have fun!
    • Louise Louise on Jan 02, 2016
      @Lisa Cosentino WattleyI have some jewelry-making tools, too, so maybe they'll also come in handy.
  • Armada157 Armada157 on Jan 02, 2016
    Generously coat caulk with Mayonnaise over night, simply peel off before you shower in the morning.
  • Sdholly5 Sdholly5 on Jan 02, 2016
    Try professional strength Goo Gone, it will soften and desolve the caulk.
  • BeckyCaldwell BeckyCaldwell on Jan 02, 2016
  • Connie Connie on Jan 02, 2016
    Caulk softener/remover, allow to work and a single edge razor blade held flat to the tub or wall surface works for me too.
  • Sondra Bolinger Sondra Bolinger on Jan 02, 2016
    Thanks for asking this question. I have been trying to ignore my yucky caulk. Maybe these ideas will give me the kick in the backside to get on with it.
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    • Louise Louise on Jan 02, 2016
      It seems that every job I start, and think it's going to be quick and easy, turns out to be NOT that, but trickier than I thought. BUT doing it myself saves money. Things I simply canNOT do, I'll hire someone to do. :-(
  • Karen Holsopple Karen Holsopple on Jan 02, 2016
    I'll be trying the mayonnaise tonight! Hope nobody has to shower after I do it! lol Thank you soooooooooo much for sharing y'all~!
  • Betsy Woolford Betsy Woolford on Jan 02, 2016
    Try using a blow dryer to soften it. Also, Home Depot sells a caulk remover tool that is plastic and won't scratch the tub or surround.
  • Catsburg Catsburg on Jan 02, 2016
    As a Handyman I have replaced a lot of caulk. I use a wallpaper scraper (the kind with the replaceable blade). I use it to slice off the caulk. Run it along the wall and along the tub/shower floor into the corner until the caulk separates. Sometimes for hardened caulk I use it like a chisel. Also helps getting off nasty silicone caulk. Which, by the way, I do not use or recommend for tubs/showers. I use Tub & Tile caulk such as Kwik Seal or Polyseamseal. Unlike silicone, you can work it with a wet rag and you finger to get a nice clean bead.
    • See 1 previous
    • Gail lichtsinn Gail lichtsinn on Jan 08, 2016
      @Louise you can smooth it with your finger but its a lot sticker than acrylic clak so when you pull your finger up it leaves a peak..Silicone was designed originally created for glass and to stop the leaks in aquariums to stop leaks..It is harder to use and while it does repel water its much harder to use and remove
  • Diane Blank Diane Blank on Jan 02, 2016
    I have been successful in taking a pointed ice pick to pry out the calk. Once you have removed a small piece of calk you should be able to insert the pointed tip of the ice pick behind some of the calk. Then just push it out. If you use a razor blade/cutter to score it you may not be able to remove the entire section of old calk however if you have a single edge blade you can scrape the edge along the top and/or bottom to help loosen the calk.
  • Patty Patty on Jan 02, 2016
    I do the same as @Catsburg's answer,,works like a charm to get the caulk off.
  • Hey Girl Hey Girl on Jan 02, 2016
    I read to run a strip of painter's tape along the wall and on the tub before removing and reapplying caulk it prevents scratching and make a neat finish joy
  • Karen Karen on Jan 02, 2016
    I've used one of those razor blade scrapers and it worked great.
  • L_j2622658 L_j2622658 on Jan 02, 2016
    Heat gun on low setting?
  • Kathy Bitzan Kathy Bitzan on Jan 02, 2016
    Yep, I used a razor blade scraper too worked great.
  • Lynn Lynn on Jan 02, 2016
    I used Krud Kutter House Wash with purple label to clean my shower stall and it dissolved/removed all my caulk! My mom told me to use it but she didn't tell me what color label to clean with.She had used a blue or green label, I can't remember now. I did not want to remove my caulk then, lol. I had to pull it out after this solution sat on it for a little bit. Maybe that will help you.
  • Lori Lukes Kelly Lori Lukes Kelly on Jan 02, 2016
    Acetone works too. And a razor blade. Be patient no to scratch it up. If there is any silicone caulk residue left, make sure you use silicone again. Tape it off with painters tape above and below. A little time consuming but worth it.
  • Duv310660 Duv310660 on Jan 02, 2016
    I don't know for sure, but I think there is a particular angled hook thing that you pull on to remove calk and grout. Call a tile store and see what they say... looks like a vintage Letraset burnisher you have there; you need something that cuts it off so you can brush out the pieces and scrape off the bits. I think...
  • LD LD on Jan 02, 2016
    Here's a video on removing caulk with a caulk removal tool. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=m_otNbut9ro
  • Janis Hill Janis Hill on Jan 02, 2016
    Fill your tub with water, as the weight will help to separate the caulk from the wall, so you have a larger gap to work with.
  • Jim Jim on Jan 02, 2016
    Use a box cuter knife cut from the bottom and then the top and it should peel off if it is silicone
  • Patti Patti on Jan 02, 2016
    Be VERY careful with acetone...it will ruin some surfaces!! Denatured alcohol is often recommended and should be safe for most surfaces.
  • Robin Payton Langkamp Robin Payton Langkamp on Jan 03, 2016
    There is as tool called a grout saw. You can find it with the tiling tools.
  • Donna Donna on Jan 03, 2016
    I've heard that the heat of a hair dryer will soften the caulking, enabling you to pull it off easier. I haven't tried it, but might be worth a go.
  • Catsburg Catsburg on Jan 03, 2016
    Louise, Tub & Tile caulk like the brands I mentioned are also mold resistant, but the truth is unless you are obsessive about cleaning your shower, you will get mold eventually. I always try to get the smallest amount of caulk in the joint as I can and still get the job done as it gives a much better appearance. The key there is don't start off with a giant bead of caulk and use caulk that can be easily worked. The caulk I recommended is water based, so working it with your finger and a wet rag is super easy. Silicone requires mineral spirits (paint thinner) to work it and remove excess, which is a big negative for me. And one can still wind up making a big mess. Since caulk will eventually mold and need to be renewed, you will find that water based caulks are also more easily removed. I can't tell you the amount of time I have spent scraping and scraping to get silicone caulk off. There seems to be a philosophy out there that if a little silicone is good, then a lot must be even better!
  • Pam Pam on Jan 03, 2016
    Use a utility knife, as Jim said, right up against each side of each surface. Push all the way to the opposite surface. You should be left with only a small area that may or may not need to be dug out (depending on it's condition) if still rubbery and smooth and no discoloration, leave it and recaulk; if not, dig it out. Regardless, all surfaces should be cleaned smooth (once again use that knife flat against the surface to scrape if needed) and dry before recaulking with a tub and tile caulk. This is not a fun process but well worth it. When you do recaulk use painters tape on each side, use a small bead and smooth with your wet finger, remove tape while caulk is still wet, and you will be left with a nice caulked joint. Good luck, you can do it!
  • Marsha Morgan Marsha Morgan on Jan 03, 2016
    There is a product called Caulk Remover that I got at Home Depot. Spray it on the caulk and it will dissolve the caulk.
  • Pam Delnevo Pam Delnevo on Jan 03, 2016
    Did you score the caulk on both sides with a razor blade first?
  • Cathy Figahs Cathy Figahs on Jan 04, 2016
    I lined the area with paper towels and sprayed vinegar let it soak over night ray before bed and it was easy to remove
    • Patty Patty on Jan 11, 2016
      @Cathy Figahs Love that Idea? I will give it a try. Did you remove silicone caulk or white caulk?
  • Slgibbs1 Slgibbs1 on Jan 05, 2016
    CAREFULLY use a heat gun if the area is porcelain..not fiberglass
  • Bananas! Bananas! on Jan 07, 2016
    There is a product you can buy at Home Depot or any home center, it's gooey, but you brush it on, leave it for awhile and the caulk comes right off. I've used it a few times and it's magic.
    • See 1 previous
    • Patty Patty on Jan 11, 2016
      @Pam I've used it too! It's called 3M Caulk Remover. I found it in the same aisle as the caulk. It was the only product that help me remove Silicone caulk.
  • DORLIS DORLIS on Jan 07, 2016
    My problem is loose grout between quarry tile, need to remove without damaging the tile.
    • See 1 previous
    • Jim Jim on Jan 12, 2016
      There is a tool that you can buy at any hardware store in the Tiel department it is made just for removing grout . It works great and removes grout quickly It only costs about $10
  • Teresa Tomasulo Teresa Tomasulo on Jan 10, 2016
    When re-applying the new chalk/silicone, spray denatured alcohol on the chalk then smooth it out. This is an old trick of professional installers of tile and granite countertops. Good luck!