How to remove silicone Sealant
By far the best way to remove silicone sealant is when the product is still wet. Whilst it is still in its curing phase and before it has formed a skin, excess or incorrectly applied silicone is best removed just using a dry paper towel. Certain cloth cleaners can also be used but remember to use them dry. The friction of a wet towel (especially a paper-based one) will remove uncured silicone better than a wet cloth which will tend to smear it. Whilst the silicone is still wet you do not need to use any other cleaning liquids.
For partially cured silicone, you can use a solvent to help further soften the adhesive prior to attempted removal physically. Solvents that may help with this process include IPA, toluene, xylene or mineral spirits. Please remember to follow all necessary safety precautions when using any of these products. Dow Corning OS Fluids can also be used to help soften cured silicone and/or remove silicone residue after it has been removed from a surface using a blade. Dow Corning OS Fluids will generally be a lower volatile organic compounds (VOC) option to standard solvents as well.
Fully cured silicone adhesives and sealants are generally quite difficult to remove. This is because to a certain degree they are designed to be solvent and chemical resistant. If the sealant is accessible then manual removal with a sharp blade would be the best method with any small parts or residue being softened and removed by using a solvent such as the Mykal Sealant Remover Spray (take care not to damage surfaces when using a sharp blade.) You may also try the above solvent products again to try and soften the material but this may be a long and slow process if there is a lot of material. There are products on the market that can break down and digest cured silicone. However, these products should be used with caution as they can be quite aggressive to materials and humans. They can also affect other surfaces they come into contact with. Once again they should only be used where the vast majority of silicone has been physically removed, they are not designed just to dissolve large amounts of cured silicone rubber. Dow Corning DS-2025 Silicone Cleaning Solvent can be considered in this family of materials.
- Steven Davidson