If you’re a do-it-yourselfer around your home, you’ve probably had experience with silicone sealant. While this adhesive is excellent to use around windows or in bathrooms because of its weather-resistant properties, removing mold or otherwise cleaning around the sealant should be done carefully.
Bleach can damage silicone sealant over time. So, it’s wiser to use other alternatives like baking soda and vinegar to clean this rubber sealant. However, small amounts of bleach or infrequent applications won’t cause lasting damage to silicone. So, mixing bleach with other materials is also safe.
The rest of this article will discuss why bleach damages silicone sealant, how to properly use bleach, the best ways to clean mold and whiten silicone sealant, and the best way to remove silicone sealant.
Why Does Bleach Damage Silicone Sealant?
Silicone sealant is an excellent adhesive to use around bathrooms or windows because of its weather and water-resistant properties. However, with water often comes mold. And using bleach to get rid of mold might be your first instinct; however, using too much bleach around silicone sealant can break it down and ruin it.
Silicone sealant contains silicone rubber. Therefore, once the adhesive cures, the sealant becomes a rigid, rubber-like material, making it water-resistant.
On the other hand, bleach is a powerful chemical that can weaken the stiff rubber when applied frequently. So, if you want to remove mold and other bacteria from the sealant, non-bleaching options may work better. You can also combine bleach with other solutions.
Can You Use Bleach to Remove Mold From Silicone Sealant?
Mold can become a problem around silicone sealant because the rubber material is porous. Therefore, mold may appear on the surface after a while. While you can use bleach to remove mold from silicone sealant, there are other options to consider.
To remove mold from silicone sealant, use one part bleach and ten parts water and allow the mixture to soak on the mold for 15 minutes before scrubbing away. Alternatively, use white distilled vinegar on the mold and allow it to soak for around four hours before rinsing.
While bleach can kill mold faster, it’ll cause damage to the rubber sealant over time. Vinegar will kill mold, too, but the process is much longer. still, it won’t cause any damage to the rubber sealant.
Therefore, if you want to remove mold from your silicone sealant or around it without causing any lasting damage to the adhesive, I recommend using vinegar rather than bleach. But if you’re in a hurry, bleach won’t immediately damage the rubber unless you leave it soaking for too long.
How to Whiten Silicone Sealant
If your silicone sealant has become discolored and you just want to whiten it, you can use several materials.
While bleach is one of the most popular agents for its fast-acting features, it’s also toxic and can damage many surfaces. Similarly, ammonia is a common, toxic, yet effective cleaning agent. But it’s advisable to use less dangerous substances before you resort to these.
Non-toxic cleaning agents include vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide, often used to clean caulks.
So, here’s the best way to whiten silicone sealant:
Use warm soapy water to scrub at the sealant, spray a vinegar and baking soda solution to the area, and scrub the area. If stains persist, spray the area with a bleach solution and allow it to sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing. Then, rinse the area thoroughly with water.
Removing Silicone Sealant
If your silicone sealant has seen too many bleach cleanings or is just old and needs to be replaced, there are many ways to remove it, some easier than others.
I recommend the Motsenbocker’s Lift Off Foam and Silicone Remover from Amazon. This remover is fast-acting, as all you have to do is spray the solution on the sealant, wait at least three minutes, scrape it, and wipe it clean. It works to break down the molecular bond, making removal easy and painless.
Most people will simply use a knife or razor to remove the sealant, but this isn’t always as easy as it sounds. It can become complicated if the sealant sticks too firmly to the surface.
If you want to remove silicone sealant without buying several different products, check out this four-minute video on how to remove silicone sealant from the Youtube channel Everyday Home Repairs:
This video is straight to the point and offers an easier way to remove sealant with items you might already have around your home.
Will Bleach Remove Silicone Sealant?
Bleach won’t remove silicone sealant entirely. While it’ll break the sealant down over time, it’s not made to remove it altogether, and shouldn’t be used to do so.
Trying to remove silicone sealant with bleach will result in using a copious amount of this solution, making threats to you and the surface around it.
How To Safely Handle Bleach
All said, if you insist on using bleach on silicone sealant, you must take some precautions since it can be dangerous if you don’t do it correctly.
Using protective gloves is essential, as contact with the skin can cause irritation. In addition, wearing protective goggles is always recommended in case the bleach gets in your eyes, which will cause burning.
When using bleach, you should always have ventilation in the room, as inhaling bleach fumes can cause damage to your lungs. After using bleach, rinse the area thoroughly.
Related: How to Get Rid of Bleach Smell After Cleaning
Bleach can damage silicone sealant over time because the sealant cures into a rubber material, which bleach can weaken. When cleaning or removing mold around silicone sealants, it’s recommended to use vinegar or baking soda before resorting to bleach, as these non-toxic cleaning solutions work well to remove mold even though they take longer to do so.
Although bleach can break apart silicone sealant, it shouldn’t be used as a method to remove the sealant, as doing so can cause damage to the people and area around it.