A high degree of adhesion is a necessary property of any high-quality sealant. Thanks to this property, it fulfills its main function – it ensures the tightness of the joints. But unfortunately, the material is not able to determine by itself the surface to which it should not stick. As a result, excess silicone and accidentally left contamination have to be removed. It is easy to do on fresh traces, but it is more difficult to disassemble than to remove silicone sealant that has hardened.
If fresh contamination needs to be removed, it can be done with any solvent and even plain clean water. To eliminate old formations, mechanical and chemical effects are used both separately and by combining these two methods.
In principle, any available tools are suitable, preferably thin or even sharp. Let’s list the most suitable and those that are most often at hand:
- Metal spatula. This tool does an excellent job of cleaning flat surfaces from various materials. Before starting to use a spatula to remove silicone, it is necessary to make sure that its working edge is even. Otherwise, it will not only clean poorly, but can scratch the surface.
- Razor blade. Not everyone has a spatula, so improvised means are used at home. The blades are made of high hardness metal and can leave scratches even on such a strong material as glass if used carelessly.
- A knife . The best option is a wallpaper knife, but if you don’t have one, any table knife will do. This tool is most often used to remove large accumulations of sealant.
- An invalid bank card will not scratch or damage anything, as it is made of soft plastic. But there is also a weakness in this, as it is beyond her power to remove significant layers of silicone. It is good to use the credit card after preliminary treatment of pollution with chemical means.
- If the above tools remove excess material from the surface, then table salt, pumice stone and a metal washcloth will help to wipe them off. Fine powdered salt is used as a soft abrasive that will not damage the glossy surfaces of glass or ceramic tiles, which cannot be said about pumice stone and metal scouring pads.
The effectiveness of any solvent depends on the composition of the sealant to which it is applied. If we are talking about ordinary construction silicone, then in the vast majority of cases it has an acid base, as evidenced by the characteristic smell of vinegar in an uncured product. Since this type of sealant is now used everywhere, it is most likely necessary to prepare to remove it, and for this you will need concentrated vinegar , preferably 70%.
In addition to the acid base, there is a neutral base, which includes alcohol, amide and oxide agents. 96% alcohol , both potable and technical, is suitable for cleaning alcohol . The rest is removed with purified gasoline, solvent, white spirit, acetone, and other solvents.
Some types of putty after complete polymerization can only be cleaned mechanically. They primarily include all polyurethane sealants. The absence of volatile substances in their composition makes attempts at softening with any solvents unsuccessful. All that can be done is to slowly peel off the contamination with a thin, sharp object. If the polymerization is not completely completed, it can be washed with 647 solvent or acetone , which is also not entirely easy. There is also no way to remove it from the hands after complete drying, it remains only to wait until it gradually comes off during the natural renewal of the skin. To avoid such problems, it is enough to lubricate your hands with liquid silicone before work, during which it is possible to get the sealant on the skin.
When using aggressive cleaning agents, it should be remembered that some cleaned materials may be affected by them. For example, it is not necessary to wipe silicone from varnished wooden doors with acetone or 647 solvent. These substances, together with the sealant, can lift the varnish layer.
In any case, you should not expect comprehensive results from chemistry, especially in cases of significant accumulations of sealant. The solvent cannot completely remove the hardened material, it only softens it, which makes further removal easy and safe for the surface being cleaned.
To get the most satisfactory result when removing silicone stains, you need to use a comprehensive approach, taking into account the material being cleaned.
From tiles, ceramic tiles
The process of removing sealant from ceramic tiles or tiles is not much different from cleaning a bathroom, but there are some nuances that should be taken into account.
- Cut large fragments of sealant with a spatula or wallpaper knife. You can use any thin object that seems more convenient for a particular case.
- Wet the cloth abundantly in the solvent and apply the mixture to the contaminated areas. This should be done in such a way that the liquid stays for some time and can soak into the hardened mastic.
- We wait 5-10 minutes for the solvent to soften the dirt as much as possible. After that, wipe with a coarse cloth, slightly moistened in the same agent that was used for softening. You can remove the remains of the solvent by wiping the tile with a soapy solution.
You can remove sanitary sealant from textured tiles in a faster way.
- Scrape off large accumulations of sealant with a wooden scraper, spatula or knife.
- Apply purified gasoline with a paintbrush to the remaining contamination (if it is not available, any solvent will do).
- Immediately after treating with gasoline, we take a metal washcloth for washing dishes and wipe off everything that remains.
- Wash with a soapy solution or dishwashing liquid.
From the bathroom
For this, you will need a wallpaper knife, table salt and a clean cloth napkin. Having prepared all the necessary tools, we proceed to the removal of silicone contamination:
- Carefully cut with a knife the layer of sealant that protrudes beyond the level of the upper plane of the bathroom along the entire perimeter of the abutment.
- Prick the mastic from one side and try to remove it. To do this, we begin to pull the strip of sealant with one hand, and with the other we blow it up with a knife or spatula from the adjacent surface.
- Then wipe with a damp cloth, pre-moistening it with fine-grained table salt.
- Remains of the sealant can be washed off with a solvent or table vinegar.
If the contamination has not yet hardened, it can be removed without any mechanical effects by wiping with white spirit.
From a glass surface
Sealant can be cleaned from glass by both mechanical and chemical methods, for this you need:
- Cut off the excess with a blade or other suitable object.
- Wet silicone stains with gasoline, kerosene or solvent.
- Wait half an hour or until the cleaning agent evaporates.
- Wipe with a coarse cloth soaked in a soapy solution.
These include shower trays, various types of plastic shelves and window sills. It is quite simple to wash off any silicone sealant from such materials:
- We apply the solvent to the contaminated area;
- We wait 10 minutes;
- Wipe the softened remains with a cloth.
Significant accumulations of silicone putty must be cut with a spatula beforehand.
From hands and clothes
If silicone has just gotten on clothes, you need to act promptly to prevent complete polymerization.
- Carefully, without smearing, we remove most of the contamination.
- Wet a soft cloth abundantly in concentrated table vinegar and wash the stain.
After that, the clothes can be washed in the usual way, but it no longer requires urgency.
We remove hardened silicone sealant from clothes in the following way:
- First scrape by hand using a thin, sharp object. For greater convenience, the fabric can be stretched.
- Next, we apply the same concentrated vinegar, abundantly impregnating the treated area with it. For a greater effect, rub the stain with a brush.
- After half an hour, wash with a soap solution or powder , then wash the clothes completely according to the regime recommended by the label.
If the desired effect is not observed from vinegar, substances containing alcohol or solvents that are safe for the fabric can be used for soaking.
You can wash your hands from dried silicone using table salt and pumice stone:
- Add salt to warm water to make a strong salt solution;
- Pour the resulting mixture into a container and place your hands there;
- We wait 5 minutes, take a pumice stone and gently rub it.
To clean the sealant from polyurethane, the procedure will most likely have to be repeated several times.
If it is not possible to determine the basis of the contamination, it is worth paying attention to special products for silicone – with their help, you can remove most of its varieties. In addition, the probability that they will harm is minimal.