Silicone is a versatile material used for various household and professional applications, like installing glass windows. Despite its importance, cured silicone is difficult to remove from glass.
Removing silicone from glass involves applying silicone solvents and scrapping the cured sealants. The solvents weaken the adhesion while scrapping mechanically removes it from the glass. The most daunting task is getting the right solvent that will remove the silicone without damaging the glass.
This article provides a guide on how to remove silicone from glass. It describes silicone sealants and their common uses, different chemicals that dissolve it and the best cleaner available to use. It finalizes with a step-by-step process of removing dried silicone sealant from the glass followed by materials required to carry out the process successfully.
What Is a Silicone Sealant?
Silicone sealant refers to a versatile, weather-resistant, and long-lasting adhesive used to seal surfaces. The sealant is gel-like and is often applied using a cartridge gun. Unlike superglue, silicone sealants need time to cure.
Silicone sealants have many common household and professional uses because of their weather-resistant properties and compatibility with many items. Therefore, they are mostly applied in DIY projects.
They are used in sealing sinks, toilets, and showers. Silicone sealants are also used to fix pipes and water lines by plumbers. They are also effective at installing glass windows.
Why Is Silicone Tough to Remove From Glass?
Silicone readily combines with oxygen to form a long chain of siloxane polymer. The polymer can combine with other elements like carbon to form complex compounds.
The polymer chains cross-link when the polymer cures. This process is irreversible. The newly-created cross-linked silicone has stronger bonds that cannot dissolve in solvents.
Silicone’s insoluble nature makes its sealants and caulks tough to remove when they cure on glass surfaces.
What Chemical Will Dissolve Silicone?
A solvent dissolves a solute by breaking the solute from a larger crystal of molecules into smaller molecules that can disperse in the solvent. However, silicone solutes do not dissolve this way. This is because of their cross-linked bonds, which are too strong to dissolve.
There exist various chemicals that can soften silicone bonds. This process is more of digestion than dissolution. One chemical that will effectively dissolve silicone from hard surfaces like concrete and tile is mineral spirit.
Isopropyl alcohol is another chemical that can help dissolve silicone from plastic or painted surfaces.
Acetone can also be used to dissolve silicone from surfaces. Also, Dimethyl adipate can be used to remove silicone from surfaces. It is commonly used as a cleaner for polymeric residues.
What Is the Best Cleaner to Remove Silicone From Glass?
There are many cleaners in the market used to clean silicone from glass. Motsenbocker’s lift-off spray foam & caulk remover on Amazon is the best cleaner that can be used to remove silicone from glass.
One benefit attributed to the cleaner is that it is fast and simple to use. The process involves spraying the Motsenbocker’s lift-off spray foam & caulk remover on the surface to be cleaned, wait for a couple of minutes, then scrape and wipe the surface.
You will see how the spray easily removes silicone from glass. It breaks the molecular bond between the silicone sealant and the surface instead of solving the silicone caulk. This allows the silicone to pill off the glass easily.
The spray is also eco-friendly with no harsh smell or fumes. It is safe to use because it is made using a water-based biodegradable formula.
TIP: Apart from glass, the spray can clean multiple surfaces, including steel, wood, ceramic, granite, tiles, and more. It is effective and does not damage or react with any surfaces.
How Do You Remove Dried Silicone Sealant From Glass?
Here’s what you need and a step by step guide to complete the task:
- sharp knife or blade
- hairdryer or heat gun
- hand gloves
- a piece of cloth
- Motsenbocker’s lift-off spray foam & caulk remover
1. Ensure safety first
Wear protective gloves before cleaning the silicone sealant. Ensure the area is properly ventilated.
2. Soften the residue using heat
Heat the spot with the silicone sealant. A blow dryer or heat gun are the best equipment to use. Apply heat for a least 60 seconds.
The heat will soften the silicone material. Test the area using a sharp knife to see if it is softened enough to continue cleaning the glass.
3. Apply a softening agent
Once the silicone sealant has been softened using a hairdryer and scrapped off a bit, the next thing to do is to apply a softening agent. The Motsenbocker’s lift-off spray foam & caulk remover is the best agent to use in this case.
Spray the agent on the spot with the silicone residue. Wait for a few minutes for the agent to emulsify the silicone. The agent is meant to weaken adhesion between silicone and the glass.
4. Scrap the silicone sealant off the glass:
A sharp blade or razor is used to remove the silicone where the sealant meets the glass. One should be careful to avoid injuries or scratching the glass in the process.
5. Clean the surface:
The glass surface should be cleaned using fresh water and a piece of cloth after scrapping off the silicone sealant. Use a damp cloth and ensure it has no metals on it.
Does WD40 remove silicone from glass?
WD40 effectively removes silicone from glass surfaces. It is important to ensure that the surface is properly cleaned and dried of any residual WD40 afterward. Failure to do this will lead to damage because WD40 reacts with surfaces.
Will methylated spirit remove silicone?
Methylated spirit will remove silicone off surfaces. The methylated spirit makes the silicone less sticky and easy to clean using a piece of cloth or sponge.
Does vinegar remove silicone?
Silicone and vinegar are chemically similar because they both contain acetic acid. Therefore, vinegar is another solvent used to clean silicone. Vinegar softens silicone, making it easier to wipe it off surfaces.