The silicone caulk that lines the seams and edges of a smooth granite countertop can spill over the narrow gaps that the caulk is meant to hold together. When it does, it can cause unsightly bumps or globs along the otherwise pristine lines. A glob of silicone caulk can ruin the shining granite countertop.
Before You Begin
Whether it's bulbous runs of caulk stuck along the seams of the granite or a thin layer that was somehow smeared and left to dry on the surface of the stone countertop, the caulk needs some roughing up. By rubbing your hand over the unwanted bits of silicone, you can remove loose bits of the rubbery material.
This will cut down on the amount of work you will have to do in the long run. Use your fingernails to scratch away at the silicone until you get to the base of the silicone that refuses to lift from the granite surface.
First Steps to Remove Caulk
A plastic putty knife works well to remove unwanted caulk. When used correctly, it won't damage the countertop and will do a good job of getting globs of gunk off the granite.
Slip the blade of the putty knife under the silicone at a 30-degree angle to the granite countertop. Gently lift and push against the silicone to remove it from the surface. Continue to do this until the slick, natural stone surface is completely smooth and free from the rough silicone.
Wipe the area down with a wet rag and buff dry to make the granite shine like new. If there are any leftover pieces of silicone, then you may need to repeat this process.
Chemical Silicone Caulk Remover
Acetone works well as a chemical silicone caulk remover, as long as it isn't poured directly onto the granite or quartz countertop. Pour a small amount onto a soft, clean cloth and rub it into the silicone to lift the adhesive from the surface.
To remove silicone from a quartz countertop, don't use any acidic or abrasive cleaners directly on the surface, as recommended by HGTV.
Removing Stubborn Silicone Caulk
If the simple methods of removing caulk aren't doing the job, or if the spot of caulk is rather large or thick, then you may need to try some other recommended silicone caulk remover techniques. These tips also work well to remove silicone from tiles.
Use rags that are soaked in rubbing alcohol. Place the rags snugly into the caulk areas or over the top of the blob of caulk. Allow them to sit for a day or two to loosen the caulk from the surface of the granite. Slip the tip of a knife around the edges of the softened silicone glob or vigorously rub the thin layer of silicone that has marred the granite surface.
A hair dryer or heat gun can also loosen the caulk from its firm hold against the slick countertop surface. Aim the heat at the glob, being careful not to overheat the area. Use a razor or flat end of a putty knife to lift the now-malleable, unwanted silicone from the granite.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.