The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

The one in which I use the word CAULK as much as possible.

This is what my corner garden tub looked like when we first moved into this house 9 years ago.

Nature Boy reading to his little sister Mini-Me in my bathroom 7 years ago.

One of the first things to go when I started working on renovating this bathroom was the cultured marble backsplash around the sides of the tub.

Now the walls are primed, but there is another mess to deal with...

But removing that backsplash left an ugly ridge of dirty, old, sloppy, white caulk.

I spent the majority of the day yesterday trying to remove it.

This is a picture of my caulk.

I mean really. How gross is that?

I hate that when I bathe, I'm basically surrounded by dirty old caulk.

Apparently, the motley crew of unlicensed contractors who built this tract home 19 years ago were about as skilled with applying caulk as they were at properly disposing of their trash while they worked. As a result, my ductwork is full of old peach pits and beer cans and my bathrooms look like a bunch of preschool aged blind kids sealed my tub & tile work with hooks instead of hands.

Removing the remnants of sloppily applied caulk is really not that difficult, as long as you are willing to think outside of the box (the toolbox, that is).

Fortunately, being completely untrained in all manners pertaining to DIY home improvement, I was unaware of the official correct way to remove old caulk and had to rely on my wits and kitchen tools to get the job done.

You see, I had to be careful not to scratch the fiberglass surface of my tub. Thus, metal putty scrapers and razor blades were out of the question.

Instead, I used what I had on hand:

Goo Gone and a Nylon Pan Scraper from The Pampered Chef

Friends, I cannot begin to tell you how much I relished using something called Goo Gone to remove dirty, sloppy caulk from around my bathtub. If that’s not poetic justice, I don’t know what is.

A few drops of Goo Gone plus my nylon scraper and that nasty old caulk was off like my bra at dusk every day.

The second best part about using Goo Gone is that my husband absolutely detests the way it smells. I’ll have to remember to splash a little behind my ears on those days when I’m just not in the mood. (Like days that end in the letter “y.”)

Want to see my bathtub minus the wrinkly old caulk?

Bathtub rim after excess caulk-removal.

How awesome is that?

There was one other nasty prep job I had to do before I could move forward with painting the vanity, and that was removing these four old dried globs of the former backsplash adhesive.

These four brittle brown glue globs were left behind when I removed the old backsplash.

I had attempted to chisel them off with a putty knife and hammer, but that wasn’t working, so I had to think outside of the (tool) box again.

Here’s what I came up with:

My hairdryer is HOT HOT HOT, y'all! And see, I wasn't kidding about the mauve-accented linoleum floor. Gag.

That’s right, people. I used my hairdryer to warm up the old brittle rock-hard adhesive so it would be easier to scrape off with the putty knife! And guess what?


You should see what I can do with a waffle iron, some silly putty, and a maxi pad.

Here’s what it looked like when I was done with the scraping:

The old adhesive has been scraped off and it's ready to sand. Those peach circles are just stains from the old glue.

Then I used a hand held electric sander and smoothed all the nicks and dents.

And here’s what it looked like after I primed it:

Heated, scraped, sanded, and primed! Good as new! Now it's ready to be painted...if I ever pick a color.

Pretty sweet, no?

There will be a new backsplash surrounding the entire tub sometime soon, but I wanted to make sure it would be applied to a clean surface for maximum adhesion.

Besides, nobody likes a sloppy caulk job.

Can I get an Amen, ladies?

(Psssst. Please help me make the list of the Top 25 Funny Moms! Just click this link and then click the “thumbs up” sign next to my name to cast your vote. You can vote once a day until March 21st for all your favorite funny moms. Thank you!)

Hoping your weekend was lovely and didn’t require any Goo Gone in those hard to reach areas,




  1. AMEN! Sloppy caulk is a pox on a bathroom. I won’t show you mine.

  2. Brilliant! You’re my hero.

  3. It’d be so much funner to say if it was called “Goo B Gone.”

    (I know you just said that out loud, too.)

    You do a pretty bang up job, there. I can see why the man keeps you around.

    (BTW. You mentioned ‘box’ several times and blowing the bra off at dusk. If I close my eyes and shift my head to the left, that’s a bit pornographic.)

    Love. (You and your porn-ridden blog.)

  4. Ben (also known as my baby daddy because we’re not married and there isn’t a word that is more than “boyfriend” but less than “husband” except “partner” and then I sound like I am either gay or in business – and that was TOTALLY off topic…), so ANYWHO…Ben was a general contractor and used to do a LOT of really fancy bathroom remodels where people used to use colored caulk. And I distinctly remember the first time he came home with disgusting, filthy hands and I asked him what it was, and he told me it was black caulk. He told me he had it on his face earlier but managed to get it off. We still laugh about that.

    On a totally different note, I am impressed at your resourcefulness. I probably would have destroyed the tub and backsplash by scraping with something stupid like a steak knife.

  5. I use the exact same tool to remove caulk – thank you Pampered Chef! All those home parties I was guilted into going to were not in vain.

  6. Now I want to try some Goo Gone. Your project is very inspiring.

  7. That nylon Pampered Chef scraper has been in my kitchen for about 15 years and I’ve used it for more things than I can remember! It’ll get stickers off the car windows too!

    Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to use your hairdryer in the bathtub? Gurlll, you’re an accident waiting to happen…

  8. Love it. Love it. Just love it! Great DIY skills. I am so looking forward to the finished project. Girl, you’ve got some serious skillz with caulk.

  9. There really is no end to your talent … I have a fab handyman on call, and he brings his own caulk.
    I just don’t like to touch it …

  10. The publicist says that those scrapers from The Pampered Chef are fantastic. She uses them for everything other than their intended use.

    Your tub surround looks amazingly clean and free of caulk.

  11. Your blog gets better and better!!! Caulk references and DIY tips! Awesome! If you start putting in healthy, quick, cheap, delicious, and easy dinner recipes I…will….die!!!!!! (But will not hold my breath because those only exist in the land of unicorns.)

    • Ha! Thank you! All my recipes are either healthy OR quick OR cheap, but never all at the same time, just like them thar unicorns. I’ll let you know if I find something that fits the bill though! 🙂

  12. I love well-applied caulk. It stays where you want it and doesn’t leave rubbery remnants in crevices and hidden corners.

    Well done on the clean-up job. I can see I’ll need to call you in if I find some wrinkly caulk of any color around my home.

  13. I found a product at the hardware store called…(and I am not even joking)…Caulk Be Gone! I almost peed my pants in the aisle laughing so hard. Ok…so maybe I did pee my pants a little…another benefit of motherhood.

  14. Nothing worse than sitting there with caulk in one hand and Goo in the other. The only thing you can do is suck it up and just rub and rub until it comes off. Then maybe it’ll leave you alone long enough to watch “The Bachelor”.

  15. Rachel Fruitloop

    March 12, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I so love a good caulk joke! I don’t think they call it caulk here in England, I’ve only heard it called sealant. BORING. When I was a teen, (and still living in the States), I was dropping off a friend and her dad came out of the garage and waved his caulk at me. My friend didn’t find it very funny when I told everyone, but I still think it’s hilarious 20 years later.

  16. You are more handy than me. I can barely operate a screwdriver

  17. Dude, who ARE you??? Imma hiring you for my next home improvement project. I always give workers lunch and brews at the end of the day. You in?

    Btw, I think the same jackwads who built your tract home built mine. They must have migrated north after they got all washed up and ran out of peaches and built mine 8 years ago~!

  18. Amen! got to go vote.

  19. My house was built in 1978, apparently by the same bumpkins as yours. Anytime you want to bring those DIY skilz West of the Mississippi, I have projects for you!

  20. Seriously does this stuff just spew forth from your mouth. I was literally LOL so I know DH wants to come in and read this post…hahahahahah…..what’s so funny he just asked.

  21. The best part of the whole blog is that I totally have the same nylon scraper and would absolutely use it for something like that!

    Way to think outside of the box!!

  22. Girl after my own heart….sometimes you just have to improvise!

  23. Wow! Looks amazing.

    So glad you were able to get rid of the dirty old caulk – no one likes having that around. That contractor must have really loved unloading his caulk gun…Did you know caulk guns have a THRUST ratio?! No seriously, they do. Check it out here:

    Here a few snippets from the description:
    ‘This high-thrust caulking gun makes adhesive cartridges of all sizes a pleasure to use.’
    ‘We love the combination of a smooth trigger, stability, and light weight — and the rotating barrel comes in handy in tight spots.’

  24. I vote for you on the daily because my asexual lesbian drunken love of you, cupcakes and books knows no limits.

    I cannot wait to see the maxi-pad backsplash you have planned!

  25. I was left so speechless by your flagrant use of the word caulk in what should have been a harmless DIY post that I was just going to leave you an empty comment box. But then I realized that I’d just be shooting blanks.

    • How much do I love a man who can sashay in here and fling a zinger about “shooting blanks”? THIS much (holding my hands about as far apart as a standard tube of caulk). Thank you for stopping by and sharing your “spirit.” 😉

      • We should probably clarify because the Internet has jaded me into thinking a standard sized tube of caulk is much larger than it really is.

        • OMG Brandon, stop making me love you. Don’t you wish we could shop for caulk the way we buy our coffee at Starbucks? There is no small…only Tall, Grande, and Venti. (We’ll take the Venti, low fat, no foam, five pumps, extra hot, TO GO please.)

  26. Nothing worse than sloppy caulk. I have the caulk in my house straightened out (of course I do). Now I just have to teach my husband to put the caulk back where it belongs when he is through with it.

  27. Oh yes goo goo gone for bad caulk jobs… we need this in other areas of our lives 🙂

  28. Ah, fun of freshening up, spring cleaning, renovations. Take your pick. We are building a new house this year. So the husband decided that our bathroom needed renovating. Came home last Friday, my big tub was GONE. Now there is a big hole where it was. Next, is tile removal. Yay. You did a fabulous job on the caulk. You for hire?

    • Thank you, Gina. No, I’m a private contractor only, and a pretty slow moving one at that! 🙂 Good luck on your bathroom remodel and new home building. That is really exciting!

  29. Thanks for the tip.
    In fact, I’ll be putting Goo Gone behind my ears tonight.


  30. I hate going to bed and thinking about sticky caulk that I’ve left in the bathroom.

    You did a great job.

  31. Now I know who to call the next time I leave my maxi-pad on too long and it gets stuck to my undies. FedEx, baby. Keep an eye out for the hot delivery guy.

  32. p.s. you should see the thick white caulk in my house.

  33. I don’t care that you’re officially “the competition,” that Goo Gone tip for caulk removal is worth its weight in gold. GOLD baby! Great blog!

  34. OMG Iris your bathroom remodel is going well I see. So glad you were able to get the caulk removed and so creatively at that. Nothing like nasty caulk residue all over when you’re trying to bathe. Uggh!! Or maybe that’s why we need to bathe some nights. Hee Hee! You do good work with a hair dryer too. I’m impressed with your ingenuity. Can’t wait to see more updates on the remodel. Still working on mine too. Don’t forget, I luv to paint. I meant it when I offered to come help. Let me know.
    Will be staying away from the goo gone behind the ears for now. I could use some lovin’, if ya know what I mean. Wink, Wink. Don’t want to offend any hot prospects ya know. 🙂
    Keep up the good work! Luv ya! A~

  35. For scrapers you can get bodywork putty scrapers at the dollar store or local automotive parts place cheap and usually get 3 per package.

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