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How to Remove Caulk from Bathtubs & Sinks

You'll need to learn how to remove caulk if you buy an older home like we did. Much of the seal around our bathtub was dark with mildew and even cracked or peeling on some parts. We weren't ready to renovate the entire bathroom (still on the longterm wish list, sigh) but we wanted it to at least look fresh and clean. It was incredible what a difference this little detail made.

More important than looks, peeling or cracked caulk isn't doing its purpose, which is to create a watertight seal. Any water that seeps into your walls is a recipe for very bad stuff indeed, especially in an area where you already may have a budding mildew or mold problem. You don't want that stuff growing in your walls, believe me. Nor would you want termites or wood rot, two other problems that go hand in hand with an available water source, like bathroom leaks.

Once you have learned how to remove caulk, your next step will be to learn how to caulk properly to replace the old stuff you took off.

But first, lets focus on the removal of the nasty old stuff...

old caulk how to remove caulk

As you can see, we had both mildew darkening as well as cracks. It was also a pretty sloppy job in the first place.

I like to use this plastic caulk removal tool by Hyde, which usually is sold in a combo pack with another handy tool for caulking for less than ten bucks. Sure, you can try your luck with razors but they are way, way more likely to scratch your surface. Since my caulk was sealing the gap between the tub and ceramic tile I had to be sure not to scratch the ceramic tile. This is why this little plastic tool works like magic. Hard enough and shaped just right to scrape it off with a little muscle, but won't scratch.

hyde caulk removal tool caulk removal tool

So you start by using the "V" part of the tool to remove most of the old seal. Depending on the age, this will either still be rubbery or quite hard and brittle. After most of it is off, use the sides of the tool to scrape off the rest. The cleaner you get your surface the better your new seal will look and work.

old caulk removal scrape off tub caulk

Now when you are done, you'll have a nice little pile of gunk. You can see what my tub and tile join looks like with all the caulk gone below.

removed caulk removing caulk from tub

See that little space between my tile and tub edge? That is bad news for letting water in, time to seal it and here is Step Two: How to Caulk A Bathtub.



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