How to Clean Silicone Caulk from Hands or Work Surface

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Things You'll Need

  • Plastic grocery bag

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Mechanic's hand cleaner

  • Canned compressed air

  • Putty knife

  • Gloves

  • Razor blade

Silicone caulk helps form watertight seals in wet areas of your home.

Silicone caulk is commonly used to create a watertight seal in wet areas of your home, such as in the shower. The caulk has a curing agent that transforms it to a rubbery consistency after approximately 24 hours. After applying silicone caulk, it is not uncommon to have caulk remaining on your hands or work surfaces. Unlike latex caulk, which is water soluble, silicone caulk is more difficult to remove both from your hands and work surfaces.

Cleaning From Hands

Step 1

Rub your hands together quickly to attempt to scrape some of the caulk off your hands.

Step 2

Place a plastic grocery bag between your hands, then rub your hands together with the bag between them to help scrape the caulk off your hands.

Step 3

Apply rubbing alcohol to your hands to loosen the silicone caulk, then rub your hands together. Rinse your hands using running water to remove the alcohol and caulk.

Step 4

Wash your hands using a mechanic's hand-cleaning solution. These solutions are available at most auto parts stores and contain stronger chemicals capable of breaking down the bonding agents in the silicone caulk. Follow the instructions on the solution's label for proper usage.

Cleaning From Work Surface

Step 1

Hold a can of compressed air approximately 2 inches from the caulk, then spray the compressed air onto the caulk. The cold air will lower the temperature of the caulk, making it more rigid and easier to remove.

Step 2

Pry the caulk off the work surface using a putty knife. Putty knives have a thin blade that allows the knife to penetrate between the work surface and the bottom of the putty. Use caution when using a putty knife to remove caulk from fiberglass surfaces, as the knife could scratch the fiberglass.

Step 3

Slice through the silicone caulk using a razor blade in small passes (less than 1 foot). Always wear protective gloves when working with sharp objects such as a razor blade, and use extreme caution so you don't damage the surface below the caulk.


Andrew Todd

Andrew Todd has been writing since 2006. He has written for the Consumer Search website and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida. Todd has a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from the University of Central Florida.