How to remove caulk from tile?

by Abby

How to remove caulk from my tiles?

  56 answers
  • Linda Linda on May 15, 2019

    You will need to remove the bad caulk with a screw driver or you can buy a device to scrape it out. Then clean the area and let dry over night. Make sure it is good and dry. Then apply new caulk.

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on May 20, 2019

    Use a butter knife it works great get the end started and pull

  • Nan W. Nan W. on Aug 02, 2018

    I have successfully used (gently!) a razor blade.

  • Debbie Fulton Debbie Fulton on Feb 13, 2018

    The only way I know is to cut it out, with a razor. There may be a caulk cutting tool. I've never used one. So I don't know how well they work. I've been a professional faux finish painter for years. I also hang wallpaper, garden,sew, and work full time job in fabric department.

  • Gail lichtsinn Gail lichtsinn on Jan 02, 2016
    try heating a small section with a blow dryer to make it even 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Slgibbs1 Slgibbs1 on Jan 05, 2016
    CAREFULLY use a heat gun if the area is porcelain..not fiberglass
  • 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.
  • Eloise Eloise on Jan 19, 2016
    I've had good luck with nail polish remover (acetone). The acetone softens the brittle caulk which you can then pull off in long strips.
  • Connie Mar Connie Mar on Jan 19, 2016
    I had a similar problem with our tub. Looked like there were 3 layers of caulk, some very hard and even grout. Took me many hours over the course of several days to remove everything so I'd have a clean surface for re-grouting. Used denatured alcohol to soften, but it still took a lot of elbow grease and trials of various tools to find what worked best. Filled the tub with water at one point, but it didn't make enough of a difference and made reaching some edges too hard on my back. Did most work sitting in the tub and had a vacuum cleaner handy to clean up so I wouldn't track all those small pieces and our cats wouldn't eat the longer pieces. Hopefully next time we need to re-caulk it will be easier, since I took the time to do it right this time. Edited to add that I bought a caulk kit with tools for spreading the caulk and a plastic tool for removing caulk. The removal tool was worthless unless the caulk was soft and pliable (worked great on our patio door where my husband caulked a few years ago). Found that a wet finger worked best for spreading new caulk.
  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Jan 19, 2016
    Warm it up with hairdryer it comes out easier
  • Tconley66 Tconley66 on Jan 19, 2016
    I just removed all the caulking from my shower with ease using Goo Gone Caulk Remover and a paint scraper.
  • Karen Heaney Karen Heaney on Jan 19, 2016
    I use an old fashion church key (can opener). It has a pointed end that is perfect for removing caulk.
  • Julie Julie on Jan 19, 2016
    Most paint stores sell paint can openers. They are made of a strong metal and look like a beer bottle opener or large key, but the end of it is flat. I used it to scrape the tub caulk and it worked great.
  • Janie Janie on Jan 19, 2016
    Use a utility knife & a window scraper. Cut the caulking next to the wall then cut it next to the tub.
  • Bleu Bleu on Jan 19, 2016
    Try saturating with isopropyl alcohol. This may reduce the caulk adhesion.
  • Montana Bear Montana Bear on Jan 19, 2016
    a very well sharpened chisel, a utility knife, and some elbow grease
  • Jen Jen on Jan 20, 2016
    we JUST took out our old shower doors......Believe me when I say we had caulking! Tried goo off...and tried the 7 way tool..finally struck me to use rubbing alcohol....and then we used the alcohol with fine steel wool. Worked like a charm! Done in no time :-)
  • Terri Terri on Jan 27, 2016
    Scrape along the edges with a razor blade scraper. This gets every single piece of caulk, grout, mildew or soap scum that was there- gone in 1 step. There's all kinds & sizes of razor blade scrapers so just go to the hardware store & see what suits your need this time. Grab an extra one or 2 and extra razor blades, you'll be hooked- most useful tool you can have outside of a hammer ...🛠
  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Nov 03, 2021

    Bought a caulk remover tool from Home Depot, it worked perfectly, any residuals were scraped off with a single edge razor.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Nov 03, 2021

    I would recommend using a plastic scraper as to not scratch or damage your tile. You can pick up a removal and application tool for under $10 at Lowes. Let me know if you want me to locate a link for it.

  • You can use a caulk remover first, which softened the caulk a razor blade or butter knife to cut along the edge.

  • Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree on Nov 20, 2021

    You can use a utility knife or putty knife, slicing through the caulk and peeling it away. For multiple layers of caulk, needle-nosed pliers might work best. There are also specialized caulk removal tools designed to tear away caulk cleanly.

  • Deb K Deb K on Jan 09, 2022

    Hi Abby, I use a scraper razor, gently run is along both sides of the caulking to loosen it and peel it away, use the razor flat to scrape residual caulking off the surface, hope this helps you out.

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Jan 31, 2022

    scrab it off

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Feb 01, 2022

    Anything that will dig in and you can lever up should do it. A Dremel would be good.

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Mar 31, 2022

    use a scraper to remove it after all dries out

  • You can use a metal scraper or a razor blade with a safety handle.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Aug 28, 2022

    Use a Dremel machine.

  • A 3 in 1 caulk tool will do the job. Check in your local hardware or home improvement store.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Feb 21, 2023

    Use a Dremel!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Nov 26, 2023

    Use a Dremmel!

  • Dee Dee on Dec 10, 2023

    Use either a screwdriver or a nine in one tool. You may need an exact knife to start removing the caulk.