How to remove silicone sealant from a bath or shower

Showers and bathtubs require the application of a sealant made from silicone. This is necessary to prevent water escaping across or under the floor or behind the sanitary ware. Applying it is not tricky, but removing it may be harder.

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The removal of silicone sealant is required not only for repairs, in anticipation of a bathroom refit, or as a tidying up exercise after the installation of new sanitary ware; it’s also necessary when the sealant itself needs replacing. Depending on the ventilation, moisture levels and humidity in a particular bathroom, this removal and replacement exercise may be a fairly frequent occurrence.

Engage a professional?

Regardless of the quantity of sealant that needs to be removed, the obvious question is whether to call in a tradesperson. Some people may want to engage professional help. In that case, Checkatrade is a good source of reputable and recommended tradespeople.

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For those who want to remove the sealant themselves, the first tip is to be cautious of YouTube. Although it can be an excellent source of DIY hacks, it is always wise to ensure you are following expert advice. When it comes to silicone sealants, there are a considerable number of YouTubers who recommend the use of WD40. Sadly, there are probably considerably more bathroom owners who have subsequently found that WD40 is not a particularly precise method of stripping away silicone. Yes, it will do the job, but it will also do more than anticipated. When the new sealant is applied, any lingering residues of WD40 will kick into action and start to strip it away.

In reality, the ideal silicone removal kit is not elaborate. It consists of a silicone removal tool – a flat-bladed craft knife with the sharp edge knocked off to stop it scratching enamel or plastic coatings is pretty much perfect – a solvent cleaner and a clean, dry cloth. Use the knife to cut the sealant where it adjoins the bath or shower. Next, apply a good quality solvent cleaner to weaken the silicone before using the knife again to scrape out the sealant. If more detailed instructions or assistance is needed, be sure to use a trusted, professional source, such as

Finally, once your silicone removal kit has done its job, it’s time to apply the new sealant.