Solvent to remove silicone caulk [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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08-05-2007, 10:51 PM
Can someone recommend a good solvent for use in removing 100% silicone caulking from around a shower door frame?


Terry :ducttape:

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08-05-2007, 11:21 PM
razor blade and/or piano wire. :)

08-06-2007, 05:38 AM
From GE's FAQ:
How do I remove silicone products?
It is VERY difficult to remove silicone from a surface. However, if you must remove it, follow the suggestions below.
To remove silicone sealant from surfaces, first remove as much as possible by cutting/peeling/scraping excess sealant from surface.

For ceramic tile, marble, Formica, fiberglass, etc., use 100% mineral spirits (turpentine) and a non-abrasive scouring pad. Test solvent on a hidden area of the surface to ensure that discoloration will not occur. If discoloration does occur, contact the manufacturer of the surface for further assistance.

For glass surfaces, use a razor blade to remove as much as possible, then apply mineral spirits. Remove excess as much as possible, then apply mineral spirits. Remove excess with a towel or other suitable cleaning utensil that will not mar the surface (such as a non-abrasive pad).

08-06-2007, 07:13 AM
I bought an aquarium that came in with silicone smeared all over the place. Called the manufacturer and they said to use pvc cleaner and a new razor blade. Worked great. Also leaves no residue. I wouldn't recommend using the paint thinner mineral spirits. It leaves a petroleum residue that will have to be cleaned off with acetone or some other strong cleaner.

08-06-2007, 09:27 AM
Thanks for the suggestions! I already scraped off most of it with a new razor blade but there's still some residue. I like the PVC cleaner idea.


08-06-2007, 10:05 AM
PVC cleaner? Neaver heard of that.

Is there a trade name for that (i.e. Windex for glass cleaner)?

08-06-2007, 10:42 AM
The stuff you clean pvc pipes with before cementing them together with pvc cement. Buy it at any HD.

Dave Taylor
08-06-2007, 10:50 AM
Here is one.

Stuff is available at most any hardware or big box.
Prolly' take the hair off'n a dog.... dunno about sillycone' though.

chuck stevenson
08-06-2007, 11:01 AM
Denatured alcohol also works.

08-06-2007, 12:12 PM
I noted silicone and methanol didn't get along too well on the race car. Silicone would swell and partially dissolve. Methanol had an appetite for aluminum as well, IIRC.

Likely a number of alcohol-base products would work. I haven't tried vodka yet... :D


08-06-2007, 12:47 PM
PVC cleaner is commonly called PVC primer. As stated in a earlier post, it's the first pookey you swirl on a PVC fitting prior to adding the cement pookey.


Dave Taylor
08-06-2007, 01:02 PM
Let's get back to trying Vodka.... that was a thoughtful suggestion.

I'll keep an ol' eye on the sillycone' one my end and try a glass or two.... you do the same on yer' end.... and the first one-o-us what can't see no sillycone' no mo' can declare it dissolved.

08-06-2007, 01:14 PM
Heh, mine's already in the freezer and ready to go ;) :D

Seriously, I just removed a 40 year old bypass shower door in our bathroom that had the original silicone on the tile and iron tub. Razor blade removed 99% of it and some nail polish remover handled the rest. Pretty painless, surprisingly. Put up a curved shower curtain bar instead. No silicone necessary :)


08-06-2007, 04:48 PM
I got sick and tired of worrying about having to clean up silicone after caulking, so I started putting down tape before I caulk now. Not only does it make for a super clean, profesional looking job, but no cleanup afterwards!! Just watch the tape when you pull it off because it will obviously have all of the wonderful pookey on it. :tup1:

08-07-2007, 10:23 PM
Razor blade removed 99% of it and some nail polish remover handled the rest. aren't thoses PVC cleaners mostly acetone? I thought I read that on the label awhile back. I know that's what I use on plastic pipe and it seems to do just fine. Would think it would be good for silycone.

08-07-2007, 10:35 PM

Not definitive, but indicates you are likely correct (about PVC cleaner). I know nail polish remover is essentially acetone.


08-13-2007, 11:31 AM
So PVC cleaner is the same as the primer? Around here, the primer's purple. Would think that might cause more problems. I'll try the acetone first, after the razor blade, or course...

08-13-2007, 11:34 AM
The primer is purple because it shows that the area has been primed. (for inspection). Otherwise they are the same. There is purple and there is clear.