How to Remove Silicone Caulk from a Countertop

a caulking gun with silicone oozing out.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 15
What You'll Need
Utility knife
Mineral spirits
Needle nose pliers
Kitchen cleaner
Plastic scouring pad
Plastic scraper
Duct tape
Goof off

During the installation of countertops, silicone caulk can leak out and remain on the surface leaving an unsightly look. Silicone caulk can also damage some surfaces if left unattended. Removing the caulk is not difficult and most DIYers can tackle it easily with the right tools and know how.

Step 1 - Examination

The equipment necessary for removing silicone caulk from a countertop will usually depend on several factors, mainly the length of time that the caulk has been in place and the material that it is to be removed from. If the material is delicate and/or the silicone application is recent, you will need to ensure that you only use tools that will not scrape or scratch. If there is a large amount of caulk to be removed, you will need to ensure that you have sufficient cleaning solution.

Step 2 - Remove Excess

Start by using a plastic scraper to remove the silicone caulk, which will often allow you to remove the majority of it. This step must be undertaken carefully to ensure no damage is caused to the surface of the countertop. Holding the scraper flat, position the blade edge to the base of the caulk and firmly push to dislodge it. Follow this procedure on all sides, if it proves to be firmly affixed. Gather up and dispose of all the loose particles of caulk once complete.

Step 3 - Treat

rubber glove and a rag cleaning a counter

Where you find that remnants of silicone caulk still remain, treat them with mineral spirits. Depending on the position of the caulk to be removed, it may be prudent to use duct tape or painter’s tape to protect existing fixtures, fasteners, or joints where no removal treatment is required. Apply mineral spirits to the Caulk and leave overnight. If possible, carefully pour the liquid over the caulk or alternatively, dampen a cloth with it so that you have more control. Once it has been left in place overnight, or for at least eight hours, you will find that it has helped to soften the caulk. Using the plastic scraper, remove what remains and use a pair of needle-nose pliers to lift away any large stubborn particles. If these options don’t work, try a stronger chemical like Goof Off. Be sure to test in an inconspicuous spot before using.

Step 4 - Clean

In some cases, you may find it possible to rub at any remaining stains of silicone caulk with a soft cloth or sponge. Alternatively, a kitchen cleaner can be applied to the staining before it is vigorously rubbed with a cloth. In the event that the countertop is made of a more hardy material, you may find that gentle use of a plastic scouring pad can prove beneficial. If this does not work, repeat Step 3 before trying again.