How to Get the Silicone Off Quartz Countertops


Quartz countertops are popular in kitchens and bathrooms because of their durability, stain resistance, and aesthetic appeal. However, silicone caulk is often used to seal the joints between quartz countertop slabs and between the countertop and backsplash. Over time, this silicone can become dirty, discolored, or damaged. Removing the old silicone properly is important to allow new silicone to adhere and provide a waterproof seal. With some effort and the right products, you can successfully get the silicone off your quartz countertops.

Supplies Needed

Before starting to remove the silicone, gather the following supplies:

  • Painter’s tape
  • Plastic putty knife or paint scraper
  • Mineral spirits or silicone remover product
  • Clean rags
  • Acetone or denatured alcohol
  • Safety gear like gloves and eye protection

Make sure you have adequate ventilation when using solvents like mineral spirits. Open windows and use fans to circulate fresh air.

Prep the Surrounding Area

To avoid damaging the countertop or backsplash during removal, prep the area:

  • Clear countertops of any items or appliances.
  • Tape off edges with painter’s tape where the countertop meets walls or cabinets.
  • Cover nearby surfaces like floors or cabinets with plastic sheeting or cloth drop cloths.

This protects surfaces from drips and scratches.

Scrape Off Silicone

With your putty knife or paint scraper, start gently scraping at the edge of the silicone bead. Take care not to gouge the quartz. The silicone should start separating from the surface.

Continue working the putty knife along the length of the caulk, scraping and lifting up the silicone. Remove as much as possible; some residue will likely remain.

Tip: Heat guns or hair dryers can soften the silicone to make scraping easier.

Use Solvents to Remove Residue

Once you’ve scraped off the bulk of the silicone, solvents help remove the remaining thin film.

Dip your rag in mineral spirits and rub over the residue. Acetone, denatured alcohol, or silicone remover products also work. Apply solvents sparingly and work in small sections.

Let the solvent sit for several minutes before rubbing. The residue will begin softening. Wipe it away with clean rags.

Caution: Don’t allow solvents like mineral spirits to sit too long, as they could damage the sealant used for quartz countertops.

Sand Away Stubborn Residue

If any noticeable silicone residue remains after scraping and using solvents, you can carefully sand it away. Use 220-grit or finer sandpaper and gently sand just the affected areas.

Clean off dust and reapply solvents to remove any remaining traces. The quartz should now look residue-free and ready for new silicone application.

Clean and Re-seal

Once all silicone is removed, thoroughly clean the surface with soap and water. Allow countertops to fully dry.

Apply painter’s tape along the edges to create clean caulk lines. Follow silicone caulk directions to apply a new bead and smooth it into place. Remove the tape before the caulk dries.

Let the silicone fully cure for 24-48 hours before exposing it to water. Your quartz countertops now have fresh, clean caulk seals!

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of silicone should I use to re-seal quartz countertops?

Use a high-quality, mold-resistant silicone caulk made for kitchen and bath applications. Look for 100% silicone (not latex) and follow manufacturer guidelines for application and cure times.

Can I use a razor to slice off old silicone?

It’s best to avoid razor blades. They can easily scratch or gouge quartz. Scrapers are safer and minimize damage risk.

What if silicone drips get on the quartz surface?

Immediately wipe away any drips with a rag dampened with mineral spirits. Don’t let silicone residue dry on the countertop.

How can I prevent silicone caulk from turning yellow over time?

Using a high-quality 100% silicone meant for kitchen/bath use will resist yellowing better than cheaper latex caulks. Avoid exposing caulk to excessive moisture.

Do I need to use anything special to prepare the surface before reapplying silicone?

Clean thoroughly with an appropriate quartz cleaner to remove residue or film. A light sanding can help “roughen” the surface so the new caulk adheres well.


Removing old, dirty silicone and re-sealing is an important maintenance task for quartz countertops. With proper products, technique, and safety measures, you can successfully clean caulk lines without damaging quartz surfaces. Fresh silicone helps protect against leaks and keeps your countertop joints looking neat. With some labor and care, you can renew the look of your kitchen or bath.