Silicone caulk is one of the best seals for showers because it’s extremely water-resistant by the time it dries. Unfortunately, that means that it’s seemingly impossible to remove it once it cures all the way. It’s also made even harder by the porous texture of fiberglass.
So, do you want to know how to remove silicone caulk from a fiberglass shower stall? Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Wipe away moisture from the surface.
- Use a putty knife to scrape it off.
- Dab rubbing alcohol on the area to loosen the remaining bits.
- Wipe it down with a rag.
- Vacuum any remaining pieces off of the ground.
- Wash the area with soap and water.
- Wait 24 hours before reapplying any caulk to the area.
Throughout this article, you’ll also learn what supplies you need, how to remove it in detail, and how you can prevent accidents before they happen.
Preparation to Take Caulking Off of Shower Stalls
If you catch the spill right when it happens, then you can easily wipe it away with a rag. However, it’s always a good idea to take all of the precautionary steps mentioned in the next section to prevent a tougher mess.
Whether it’s big or small, a silicone caulking spill can be annoying to deal with. You can take the weight off of your shoulders by preparing yourself for the task ahead.
Here’s what you need to do before you start cleaning up the mess:
- Start by clearing the area of anything that could get in your way. It might seem obvious, but you can spread silicone all over towels, fiberglass surfaces, and even the floor. By removing everything, you’ll be able to have a clear path for working.
- Get all of the tools that you’ll need. The most important part of all is a putty knife. They allow you to scrape away at the silicone without damaging the shower stall. Try out the Warner ProGrip Putty Knife if you want something that’s flexible and durable enough to last for plenty of years to come.
- You’ll also need rubbing alcohol. It works wonders when it comes to removing silicone from surfaces. You’ll be able to loosen the extra bits after scraping away at the silicone for a while.
- Get a few abrasive rags or sponges to scrub the area. Make sure that they’re not too soft; Otherwise, you won’t be able to remove the hard-to-get bits of silicone that are stuck on the shower stall.
- Finally, you’ll need some dish soap. You could use bar soap or hand soap, but they’re usually not strong enough to remove all of the silicone caulking. Dish soap is perfect for fighting grime, which is exactly what you’ll need it for.
Removing Silicone Caulk from a Fiberglass Shower Stall
Now that you know everything that you need to get before you get started, it’s time to start breaking down each step in detail. Without further ado, here’s the step-by-step process to remove silicone caulk from your fiberglass shower stall:
- Use a dry rag to wipe away moisture from the surface. Excess moisture can make it harder for the putty knife and rubbing alcohol to work. It can also prevent you from removing the seal that’s formed between the silicone and fiberglass.
- Grab the putty knife and locate the furthest end of the silicone caulking that you’re trying to remove. At a 25-degree angle, slowly scrape away at the caulking. Usually, you’ll be able to remove the bulk of it in one or two scrapes, but old sealant can be a bit tougher since it dried out already.
- Use cotton rounds to dab alcohol on the surface of the remaining bits of caulking. The goal is to loosen it up, even more, to make it easier for you to scrub it away. Alcohol naturally loosens and cleans fiberglass and other surfaces, so you’ll get the best of both worlds from this step.
- Take another unused rag and wipe away the alcohol after about 30 to 45 seconds. This step will remove the rest of the silicone caulking, but it’s not quite the end of the process just yet. Although the bits are gone, there’s still stains or mildew that could be present underneath the caulking.
- Use a vacuum to suction any bits of silicone that might’ve fallen during the process. Never, under any circumstances, should you allow silicone caulking to go down the drain of your shower. It’ll cause massive clogs that might require professional cleanings to get it all out.
- Wash down the area with warm water and dish soap. You can scrub it a bit to build suds, let it sit for a minute, and then proceed to use a sponge or rag to wipe it away with more water. This step is crucial if you want to prevent stains from occurring, not to mention that it removes any bits that you might’ve missed.
- Let the area dry for at least 24 hours before you apply more sealant if you have to. Fiberglass can be porous, so moisture stays within the cracks and gaps that you can’t see with your eyes. Applying silicone caulking on a moist or humid surface can prevent it from forming a fully cured bond.
As you can see, it’s not too challenging to remove silicone caulking from a fiberglass shower stall. By using the correct tools and following each of the steps mentioned above, you’ll be able to ensure that the silicone is removed and stains won’t appear. If you want to prevent such accidents, proceed to the next section.
Note: According to H2ouse, you can remove silicone caulking with a blowdryer, but it might take quite a while and consume a high amount of electricity. It’s still very useful if you don’t have the tools from this section.
Related: Can You Caulk Over Caulk?
Silicone caulking can get messy, but there are all sorts of preventative measures that you can try to prevent it from getting out of hand. Try some of these suggestions:
- Use blue tape to line the edges of the surface you’re sealing. For example, if you’re caulking the edges of a bathtub, applying Scotch Original Painter’s Tape around the sides of the gap before you open the tube. That way, you can remove stray silicone caulking by pulling off the tape.
- When you’re cutting the tube open (unless it has a preset hole size), considering cutting a small hole to limit the amount of caulking that comes out. If it’s not enough, you can slowly increase the size. It’s always better to have too little than too much!
- Make sure that you allow the silicone caulking to dry properly. Run a few fans or leave the bathroom ceiling fan on the circulate the air and dry the caulking. If it drips, you’ll have to clean up a mess. Drying it faster reduces the chances of it spreading around. Here is an article on the best fast-drying caulk.
Using silicone caulking in a fiberglass shower stall can be risky business, but by following the removal and preventative steps found in this article, you’ll have no problem dealing with it all. Since it’s such an effective sealant, silicone caulking should still be your go-to choice, even if you have accidents every now and then.
Remember that it’s always easier to prevent issues by using blue tape and clearing the area than it is to have to clean it all up. Get some of the Scotch tape mentioned above, as well as a putty knife before you get started. Work slowly and you’ll cruise right through the clean-up!