How To Remove Silicone Off Shower Base Or Tiles

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Due to the waterproof qualities of silicone sealants, it is considered a perfect product to use in the bathroom to seal bathtub, sink, or even water pipes. It is easy to apply and, however, challenging to get rid of. If you wonder how to remove silicone off the shower base or tiles, let’s look at some quick and easy solutions.

First, you will need a sharp knife, scraper, methylated spirit, and a sponge. Get the products, and let’s begin.

  1. Start the silicone sealant removal process by digging in the edge of silicone with the knife blade.
  2. After all of the silicon is loosened up, you can use your fingers to pull it off or use a scraper to do the job.
  3. Once the silicone sealant is gone, wet the sponge with some methylated spirit and clean up the area.

Of course, plans don’t always go accordingly. You could follow the steps above and still have trouble removing the silicone. In that case, you might want some examples to give you a good start. Additionally, you might want to learn about other tools that can help you achieve your goal. If you’d like to learn this and more, keep reading ahead. 

A man smoothing bathroom silicone, How To Remove Silicone Off Shower Base Or Tiles

Removing Silicone Off A Shower Base Or Tiles

The above steps are an easy way to get rid of silicone sealant. However, if the silicone sealant in your bathroom is stubborn and refuses to corporate, let’s go over some silicone sealant solvents that can aid in removing it.

Smoothing out silicone sealant in the bathroom

What Will Dissolve Silicone Sealant?

To understand what chemicals would dissolve silicon sealants, you first need to know what a silicon seal is. The silicone sealants available in the market get produced by mixing two main elements, silicon, and oxygen. When these elements combine, they create a substance called siloxane polymer.

They bond with other components, such as carbon and hydrogen. Due to this bond removing silicone sealant is difficult.

However, the following are the five chemicals you can use to break the bonds between silicone caulking.

Mineral spirits

It is a colorless liquid distilled from petroleum which would generally get used as a paint thinner. However, it works excellent to dissolve silicone solvent on concrete or marble surfaces.

Isopropyl Alcohol

This is another colorless solvent like mineral spirit. However, unlike mineral spirit, isopropyl alcohol is flammable. You might know this liquid as rubbing alcohol as well. Isopropyl alcohol works great on plastic and painted surfaces only. Make sure to get 99% industrial isopropyl alcohol as medical-grade rubbing alcohol is not strong enough to dissolve silicone.

Acetone

Though it is not as aggressive as other solvents on the list, acetone can still remove small amounts of silicone caulking.

Toluene & Xylene

Unlike 99% Isopropyl Alcohol, Toulene and Xylene work on every surface except plastic and painted surfaces. Also, as these solvents are hazardous, use them only if other options are unavailable and wear a mask when working with them.

Examples

It works better if you have a visual idea of how you can use them. So, here are two YouTube videos to help:

Does Vinegar Dissolve Silicone?

Yes, vinegar, predominantly white, can dissolve silicone sealant. However, this is neither as strong nor as fast as the other silicone sealant available in the market. It is why you would need to apply it multiple times to work. 

But the good news is that white vinegar is ultimately the same to use. Unlike many other silicone caulking digesters, white vinegar does not damage the surface, and you can use it on every type of surface.

The only problem you might face while working with vinegar is that it leaves a strong smell behind. You can rub baking soda on the working surface to get rid of the said smell.

Does WD-40 Remove Silicone?

Yes, WD-40 silicone is one of the best solvents to remove silicone sealants. The best part about WD-40 is that it works on multiple different types of surfaces. If you want to remove silicone sealant from the tile or mirror, WD-40 will help you achieve your goal.

How Long Should You Leave WD40 on Silicone?

WD-40 is one of the most potent silicone sealant digester/eaters in the market. However, many people cannot make it work. It is best to let the WD-40 solvent sit on the silicone sealant for an hour before you try to take off the silicone.

For an even better result, cut the silicone sealant with a knife first, apply the solvent, and remove the silicone sealant off the bathroom surface after an hour.

Still, you might want to proceed with caution. Some users have had some horror stories to go along with using WD-40 to remove silicone. Here’s one such case: 

As one professional tiler in the comments suggests, you should clean the tiles with an oil and grease removing substance if they are porous.  

Does Hydrogen Peroxide Destroy Silicone?

Yes. However, pure hydrogen peroxide is highly reactive and can even destroy your grout. So, if you have no option and want to get rid of your silicone sealant, use a 3% of hydrogen peroxide solution.

However, wear protective gear, i.e., gloves, mask, and goggles when working with hydrogen peroxide. And in case of contact with skin, rinse it off immediately and contact a doctor.

Why Does Silicone Sealant Go Black?

Mold in the silicone sealant of the bathroom

The main reason why silicone sealants go black is due to mold infestation. Mold needs permanent moisture to grow, and usually, water slides off the silicone sealant. But if the silicone sealant in your bathroom is going black, then it could be because of one of the following three reasons:

Lack of adhesion

Sealants need strong adhesion to stick to the surface (tiles, bath, etc.). However, due to lack of bonding, there can be space behind the silicone sealant. Water, soap, and grease can quickly accumulate in these tiny spaces and create a favorable environment for mold to grow in.

Grout & Plasterboard Failure

Most of the grouts available in the market are porous. The grout itself does not allow mold to grow. However, if you have tiles directly fitted on plasterboard in your bathroom, this with an absorbent grout combination can be damaging. 

The grout will allow moisture to reach the plasterboard, which acts like a sponge. And hence, this can lead to a moldy silicone sealant situation.

Other than these three main situations that can lead to mold infestation, sometimes the silicone sealant gets damaged. Whether the bath moved during installation during use, even a tiny crack can let the water in and act as a favorable environment for mold to grow.

How Do You Remove Black Mold From Silicone Sealant?

Cleaning mold and mildew on the kitchen sealant

Did you detect mold in your bathroom’s silicone sealant and want to get rid of it? You can do it by yourself by using ingredients from your kitchen pantry. Here are some of the things you would need to remove black mold from silicone sealant:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Rag
  • Wet sponge
  • Stiff-bristled brush
  • Bleach
  • Cool water

Now, follow these steps:

  1. Using 1 cup of white vinegar and 2 to 3 tsp of baking soda, create a paste.
  2. Dampen the rag and, with the help of it, apply the baking soda vinegar paste on the moldy silicone sealant. Ensure a thick layer of paste covers the adhesive. 
  3. Let the paste sit for 5 minutes.
  4. After 5 minutes, clean the surface with a wet sponge and rinse the sealant with cold water.
  5. Repeat 2 to 3 times if the stain has not left.
  6. Kill any lingering spores of the mold with 1 part bleach, 4 part water solution.
  7. Let this solution evaporate, and then rinse with cold water again.
  8. Dry with a dry towel, and that’s it.

Do You Have To Remove All Sealants Before Applying New Ones?

Yes, it is crucial to remove all of the old silicone sealants before applying the new one. The reason is that the new layer of silicone sealant has to touch the tile or other surface to adhere best. The new layer does not stick on the old silicone sealant. Moreover, if the old silicone is leaking, applying a new one on top of it will not help.

How Do You Maintain Silicone Sealant?

Once mold has grown on silicone sealant in the bathroom, it will likely come back unless you take severe measures against it. Here are two tips to prevent it from growing back on silicone sealant.

  1. Clean your bathroom, floor mat, towels, and other furnishings regularly to remove lingering mold.
  2. Open the windows in your bathroom to get rid of the moisture in the air. If your bathroom does not have any windows, you can use a dehumidifier as well.

Final Takeaway

Applying silicone sealant along the sides of a lavatory

Removing silicone off the shower base or tiles shouldn’t be a cause for headaches. With a bit of research, we hope you have an idea of removing the sealant a lot easier. This way, you won’t have to go through countless tries with no success. We hope you found the information above helpful!

Before you go, are you planning to remove silicone from a specific area? Do you need to remove it from an acrylic tub? If you’d like to learn more, check out our post here.

What about glue removal? Are you planning to remove a glued-down carpet? We can give you some tips! For more information, check out our post here. Until next time!

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