How to remove a silicone sealant

Jerome
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How to remove a silicone sealant

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Project Overview

You can freshen up your whole bathroom just by removing silicone that’s discoloured, stained or untidy. We show you how to cut and scrape out the old silicone. Plus, how to take off any residue so the surface is clean and ready for resealing.
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Finish silicone

To give silicone a smooth finish, some people use a bit of saliva on the end of their finger. Then six months later they wonder why their silicone has started to go mouldy. The bacteria in your mouth will happily grow in silicone, which creates those darks stains. To get a smooth finish that won’t discolour, use a wet rag dipped in fresh water instead.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Cut along where the silicone joins the wall
2 Scrape inside the gap
3 Wipe the surfaces clean
  • Step 1. Cut along where the silicone joins the wall

    Use a sharp knife and cut along the silicone, running the metal blade along the wall. Then gently run a flat-blade chisel against the tiles so the silicone pops out.
  • Step 2. Scrape inside the gap

    Use a flexible plastic or metal blade to scrape out the deeper remaining silicone. Push and pull the blade backwards and forwards between the gap. The silicone will grip the surface of the blade and start to come loose. 
  • Step 3. Wipe the surfaces clean

    Once you have removed most of the silicone, wipe the remnants off using a cloth. You can make the job a bit eaiser by soaking the cloth in methylated spirits. The methylated spirits act as a solvent, breaking down the last of the silicone, making it less sticky and easier to wipe up.

Tools and Materials

Tools

  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Scraper
  • Sharp knife
  • Wood chisel

Materials

  • Cloth
  • Methylated spirits

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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