During cosmetic or major repairs, you often have to deal with the removal of various kinds of stains and dirt that building materials leave behind. Silicone sealant is often used not only during global work on the improvement of an apartment: it can be used to seal the joints of the bathtub and walls, tile joints or perform other minor works in the current mode. The article is devoted to the features of cleaning tiles from silicone sealant.
Features of the use of silicone
Before considering the various options for removing this tool, you need to familiarize yourself with its composition and scope. Silicone sealant is a material widely used in construction and finishing works with good elasticity. It is recommended for sealing joints, small cracks, joints in order to prevent the ingress of water, dust and other contaminants there. It has high water-repellent properties, which is why it is recommended for use in rooms with high humidity (bathroom, kitchen).
Silicone-based sealants can be one-part for household use and two-part (industrial version).
Depending on the main composition, products are divided into:
Information on the composition of the material is very useful when choosing a product for cleaning it from a tiled surface.
Silicone compounds perfectly adhere and seal a wide variety of surfaces and substrates. The antimicrobial additives included in their composition ensure the complete absence of mold and prevent the development of fungus in the seams and joints. During finishing and renovation work, the silicone mixture often gets on the surface of the tile. The choice of a cleaning method for a product depends on several parameters: the main composition of the sealant, the degree of old-age contamination, the material from which the tile is made, and so on.
To begin with, remember that not all types of silicone sealants can be cleaned without residue at home from the surface of the tile. Therefore, it is necessary to apply the product as carefully as possible without rushing. It is best to remember or write down the brand of the sealant so that you can later choose the right solvent if contamination still could not be avoided.
A high-quality sealant quickly adheres to any surface, and it can be very problematic to wipe it off. There are several ways to do this today, each of which has its pros and cons.
If we talk about the freshest stains, then they can be removed quickly and easily with a soapy solution and a sponge. Use a moistened piece of foam rubber or other soft material to carefully wipe the contaminated area in a circular motion. Still soft silicone will easily move away from the tile. All that remains is to wipe dry ceramic or other tiles with a clean cloth.
If the silicone is already frozen, then soap and a sponge will not save you. We'll have to use more radical methods, which are conventionally divided into several groups.
This option means scraping the product from a ceramic or other surface. This procedure should be performed very carefully and accurately, without leaving traces (scratches) and without damaging the surface. Various sharp objects can be used for scraping: a stationery knife, a razor blade, special scrapers or spatulas, sandpaper, and so on.
You can try to wipe off small traces of dirt with ordinary table salt. Fine abrasive particles should be carefully rubbed into the stain with a damp sponge and left for a few minutes. Next, the surface is washed with a napkin soaked in soapy water or dishwashing liquid, rinsed with clean water and wiped dry. If the simplest methods do not help, you can move on to more radical ones - using chemistry.
In cases where it is not possible to remove dirt from the tile in the first way, or you simply do not want to risk and scratch the cladding, it is recommended to use chemical agents. Most often, various available solvents are used for these purposes, for example, acetone or white spirit.
You can wash the tiles with a cotton swab or a disc soaked in such a solvent. The agent is carefully applied to the silicone and left until the sealant swells to such a state that it can be easily removed from the surface. This usually happens after about an hour. The swollen material is pushed with a sharp blade and removed from the tile in large or small fragments. This procedure can be repeated if necessary.
Acetone and white spirit are versatile solvents that are suitable for removing different formulations from surfaces made of different materials. The modern industry also offers specially created formulations designed to cleanse silicone sealants. Most often they are available in the form of aerosols, pastes or foams.
Among the most popular and high-quality products, the following products can be noted:
- CRC Gasket Remover.
When working with these materials, you must proceed from the instructions for use indicated on the packaging. If the spots are quite voluminous, then it is best to first try to scrape off the main part, and already treat the remaining stains on the surface with a product.
When working with chemicals, do not forget about basic safety rules. To protect the respiratory system, you should use a respirator, wear rubber gloves on your hands. For work, a brush or spatula is used. The room must be well ventilated.
In addition, chemicals can have adverse effects on the tile itself., walls, skirting boards, plumbing fixtures and so on. Solvents can damage enamels, paint, rubber, plastics, and other materials. To prevent this, even at the stage of working with the sealant, it is best to use masking tape, which should be carefully pasted over the rows of tiles, forming an even, neat seam.
Before use, the cleaner in an aerosol can is thoroughly shaken and sprayed in a fairly thick layer onto the contaminated surface. After 20-30 minutes, the silicone should soften. Next, we use a sharp spatula and carefully remove the remnants of the sealant. The gel-like product is applied with a brush to a dry surface. After softening, the silicone is removed, and the surface is wiped with a damp cloth and wiped dry.
To choose the best option for cleaning, knowledge of the composition of the sealant will come in handy. For example, acidic materials are removed with concentrated vinegar. Alcohol-based silicone will help wash away medical and technical alcohol compounds. Neutral sealants can be cleaned well with acetone, white spirit, gasoline or kerosene.
If you can't remember the base or name of the sealant, it is best to use a product that works on all the main compounds. Such a solvent is, for example, "Penta-840".
Before using any cleaner, test it on an inconspicuous, small piece of tile.
Silicone lends itself well to softening when exposed to a very high (350-400 ° C) temperature. To do this, you can use a building hairdryer. However, not all materials from which the tiles are made can withstand such severe heating. Before using this method, it is necessary to clarify the maximum permissible heating temperature of the lining.
Mechanical and chemical methods are the most popular; thermal heating is used less frequently. When working with complex surfaces (porous tiles, not covered with enamel), combined cleaning methods are used. In this case, the solvent is applied several times to the stain and carefully removed with a pumice stone or spatula as it softens.
It is sometimes necessary to remove the sealant residues not only with careless handling of the cylinder. After several years, the silicone joints of the ceramic lining of the bathroom or kitchen begin to deteriorate, become dirty, lose their sealing and water-repellent properties. In this case, the old seam is removed using one of the proposed methods. The surface is thoroughly cleaned and degreased. Next, a fresh sealing layer is applied.
For information on how and how to clean silicone sealant from tiles, plastic and fabric, see the next video.