How to Remove Wet Caulking

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Putty knife

  • Rags

  • Mineral spirits (for silicone caulk)

Removing a sloppy bead before it dries may prevent a tedious repair job down the line.
See More Photos

Getting the perfect bead of caulk isn't easy, and trying to smooth out a botched bead can be even harder. Often, it can be easier to remove the entire bead before it dries and start over again. Removing wet caulk can be a quick and relatively painless process, depending on what sort of caulk you're using and whether you picked up the proper cleaning materials ahead of time.


Video of the Day

Step 1

Remove the caulk using a putty knife or other flat-edged scraper. Scrape out as much caulk as possible, but don't take so long that the caulk begins to dry.

Step 2

Scrub the caulk residue away using paper towels or disposable cloth rags. For latex caulk, the rags can be moistened with hot soapy water. For silicone, mineral spirits are required.

Step 3

Wipe the area down with clean water to remove any residual soap or solvent. Dry the area using clean towels or rags in preparation for re-laying the bead of caulk.


Even if you only need to remove a small section of a bead, you may find it useful to remove the bead all the way back to a corner or seam. This can make it easier to mask the section of the bead where the new caulk meets the old.


It may be tempting to leave silicone caulk to dry before removing it. However, wet silicone will not stick to an existing bead of dry silicone. To get a seamless and watertight bead, only join wet silicone caulk to wet silicone caulk.