Silicone is a plastic polymer popular for sink caulking and other applications. It is a non-porous material that’s ideal for adhering non-porous materials like stainless steel. Silicone is popular for sink caulking. It is long-lasting than other caulking options like acrylic, rubber and latex. Silicone caulking is an ideal option for areas exposed to constant running water like the sink because it is flexible and has a long lifespan.
Silicone caulk won’t last forever. It reaches a point where we need to replace with a new one. So, knowing how to remove silicone from stainless steel is important so that you can reapply new silicone. Silicone caulk acts as a sealant and with time it can wear down. When this happens, we might need to replace with new silicone caulk immediately to prevent water from leaking. Also, silicone caulk becomes discoloured with time creating an impression of a dirty sink, prompting that we need to replace. The same applies to other silicone application areas where silicone is used as an adhesive.
How to remove silicone residue from a stainless steel sink?
There are two ways on how to remove silicone residue from a stainless steel sink – physical and chemical methods. Using chemical will make work easier. You can soak the silicone caulk in acetone before trying to remove it. If you are going the physical way, use a sharp object to scrape the caulk until you get rid of all the silicone caulk. If you are struggling to get the caulk loose, try heating with a hairdryer. I also recommend wetting the caulk before attempting scrape since wet silicone is more malleable than a dry one. Gently but firmly use a sharp knife to scrape. Once you are happy with the results, clean properly and start again with fresh silicone.
How to remove silicone sealant from plastic
Removing silicone sealant from plastic is simple if you have the right tools. Get a sharp and agile knife because this tool is going to do the majority of the work. A standard kitchen knife can do the job as long as you clean properly after use. You can also use a chisel although the whole process will become too laborious and it will take a while before the job gets done.
Start by chipping away the excess sealant and being careful not to cut into the plastic material. Remember a sharp knife will get rid of anything along the path including the paint. Be gentle and remove as much sealant as possible. Use the fingers to remove the rest.
If you don’t want to do the dirty work, let the silicone eaters do the dirty job for you. Soak the silicone with the silicone eater product to dissolve the sealant and then wipe the sealant once it’s loose. It’s not much different from how to remove silicone from stainless steel, although you must have the technical know-how on how to remove silicone sealant from plastic for the job to be perfect, or else you will start renovating again.
Silicone remover to soften the caulk
Silicone is notoriously difficult to remove from the surface. But that is its primary advantage for its use in the first place. However, it reaches a time when getting rid of the silicone caulk is inevitable for various reasons. Maybe to renew, to use another kind of adhesive and more. Luckily, we have solvents that can take away the struggle of removing silicone from the surface. Although they are not safe for home use, you can still use the safer options of silicone remover to have the job done effortlessly.
Silicone caulk can last for many years, but it wears out at some point. When it happens, there is the need to remove it before you can apply a fresh one. These household silicone solvent products can soften the silicone caulk but none of them dissolves as they are often advertised. So, the common rule of the thumb is to have the caulk softened and cut through with a sharp object or knife. After removing the bulk part of the caulk with a sharp knife, add the same solvent and use a scouring pad to get rid of the silicone residue.
Silicone softening solvents
You can use household mineral spirits to get silicone off surfaces like marble, tiles and concrete. But use isopropyl for painted or plastic surfaces. Use regular alcohol to soften the caulk, although we recommend using industrial-grade options with 99 per cent purity which is strong enough to do the job right. We also have toluene and xylene silicone solvents to use but always read through the instructions because some materials may not be compatible with certain solvents.
Removing the silicone residue
The residue that remains after the caulk is gone can still hinder new caulk from adhering well to the surface. Rubbing with an abrasive or sandpaper is not a good strategy because the caulk forms small balls that will stick to the pad. Soak the residue with more solvent and use the scraper until the residue is completely removed.
We have seen how to remove silicone from stainless steel and other surfaces. Silicone caulk is painstaking to get rid of if you don’t have the right strategy and tools. Silicone caulk can last for a long time, but at some point, it wears off, prompting for its removal so that we can apply a fresh silicone. The silicone used in a stainless sink, for example, when it wears off needs replacement with a fresh silicone caulk immediately to prevent leakage. Other surfaces where silicone is used as a sealant is the same. Removing silicone caulk using physical means can be too laborious and time-consuming while using solvents makes work easier. Although solvents do not dissolve the silicone as most products claim to do, it helps soften it and from there, you can easily remove the silicone using a sharp object. How we wish there was a strong solvent to dissolve silicone completely!