Trouble removing excess silicone from sink

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by mntentman, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. mntentman

    mntentman New Member

    Messages:
    68
    Hi,

    I installed a new pop up assembly (Peerless) in this sink, and made a bit of a mess of it, I guess by not getting the excess silicone all cleaned off quickly enough. Still, I figured I would be able to get it removed, got to be a fairly common problem, I would think. But this stuff just doesn't seem to want to come off... that spot at the 7 o'clock position especially. I suppose the best route is to disassemble, scrub it, and redo, being a little more careful. But I'm concerned I still won't be able to get those marks off. I am wondering if there is something I could clean it with that would get it off? Lacking that, it is possible to find a slightly larger flange that I could replace the current one with to cover up any discoloring I can't get off? Thanks!

    Attached Files:

  2. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Try something like a sharpened (chisel-ended) popsickle stick so you can scrape hard without damaging the surface of the sink.
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

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    3,826
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,245
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Try alcohol, but it may not work now that the silicone has set. That is one of the the reasons few plumbers use silicone.
  5. mntentman

    mntentman New Member

    Messages:
    68
    Thanks, all. You're right... I should have used putty, but I wasn't thinking. Instructions said silicone, I used silicone.
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    There are some well-known colleagues on the internet that use silicone exclusively. In my experience, the secret with silicone is cleanup before it sets. You need to treat it just like you do dap.....smoothing the bead if there is one, and totally wiping the excess. The caveat is that of course you can't do this with a wet finger or damp rag. You must use solvent. Two that work well are denatured alcohol ( not rubbing alcohol ) and mineral spirits.

    For your situation, you should be able to carefully scrape with something very sharp. That can be a carefully split popsicle stick, a new plastic putty knife, or even a sinlge edge razor blade. Held at a low angle, that will not damage the porcelain.

    LEARN SOMETHING EVERY DAY: Found this on a GE Silicone website:


    • [*]Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) is a commonly-used solvent and has proven useful for most non-porous substrates encountered in architectural construction applications. Xylene and Toluene have also been found useful on many substrates. When handling solvents, refer to manufacturer’s MSDS for inform

    Isopropyl is rubbing alcohol, and I had always used denatured methanol, because I thought it was 'better' !!! It is cheaper.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  7. mntentman

    mntentman New Member

    Messages:
    68
    I dissembled the popup to better get at the staining. Tried razor blade, Goof-Off, etc. but nothing worked. Then I tried a pumice "scour stick" and it worked great... took a little elbow grease but it's all nice and clean now. Going to use putty when I reassemble...
  8. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,826
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    I spent a lot of years in rental units where the landlord or handyman lathered way too much silicone everywhere, sometimes leaving handmark smudges all over that later harbored mold. I vowed never to use silicone except where necessary and to carefully mask off the area to not get it all over.

    Glad you got it cleaned off and hopefully you won't discover other smudges after mold sets in.
  9. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    The only absolute solvent for not dry silicone is or was MEK methyl ethyl ketone, but may be banned now.
  10. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    I knew some MEK huffers....it fries your brain.
  11. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    I know a few PVC cement huffers that get pretty goofy in old age - mostly plumbers. Be careful.
  12. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Messages:
    1,331
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    We used to use zippo lighter fluid it contains napatha and worked great tooling and cleaning uncured silicone.
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