You may want to remove a soap dish from the ceramic tile in your shower if it's at an inconvenient height, doesn't sit level enough for the soap to stay put, doesn't match your decor or has been damaged. Some metal soap dishes are simple to remove with a screwdriver, but most ceramic soap dishes require a razor scraper, hammer and chisel, and sometimes even a special grout removal tool. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris and wear a mask to avoid inhaling grout dust.
Removing Metal Soap Dishes
Some metal soap dishes attach to the drywall behind the shower tile using a mounting box similar to those used to secure ceiling fans or light switches to studs. To remove these metal soap dishes, locate the mounting screws on the face of the soap dish. Use a Phillips screwdriver or drill bit to remove the screws.
Use a putty knife to loosen any caulking around the perimeter of the soap dish and to encourage the metal to come away from the surrounding tile. Replace this type of soap dish with another metal soap dish for easy installation and removal. If you choose to install a ceramic soap dish instead, choose one that completely overlaps the existing hole so that you have enough space to apply glue grout around the entire back perimeter.
Glue-On Soap Dish Removal Method
According to Eclectic-Ware, several different methods for installing ceramic soap dishes exist. It's possible that your ceramic soap dish was attached to tile with glue on the backside and then sealed with caulk around the perimeter. Start by removing the caulk around the outside with a razor scraper.
When all of the caulk has been removed, you should be able to tell whether the soap dish is mounted to a tile or to the drywall. If it's mounted to the drywall, you'll need to move on to the "embedded" method. If it's mounted to a tile, you can continue to use your razor scraper to break up the adhesive behind the soap dish.
Eventually, you'll need to use some brute force. Use a rubber mallet to tap upward on the bottom of the soap dish near the wall. Use a wooden block in between the mallet and the soap dish if you are trying to spare the soap dish from damage as well. Tap along the upper edge and the sides until it gives way, and use a product like Goo Gone to loosen some of the adhesive if needed.
Embedded Soap Dish Removal Method
Removing an embedded ceramic soap dish without damaging the surrounding tile and/or the soap dish can be very difficult to do. Instead of sitting on top of a tile, these soap dishes sit on top of the same wall as all the other tiles and were grouted into place. To do the best job possible according to Bill's How To, you'll need an electric oscillating tool with a special grout removal blade attachment. You'll also need a chisel and hammer.
Use the grout removal attachment on your oscillating tool to grind out the grout surrounding the soap dish. With the grout no longer holding the tiles in place, an adhesive is all that's holding the tile to the wall. You'll need to crack the tile to insert a tool for leverage and pull the tile off the wall.
Use a chisel and hammer to create cracks on the face of the dish until a piece falls off or a crack opens up. Then insert the chisel into a crack (with the chisel parallel to the wall) and pry up the remaining tile.