I'd suggest that the Stanley knife is likely the easiest way to get it out. Place it against the tiles and make one long downward cut, then place it against the bench and make another cut along the wall. You should then be able to pull out the silicone bead. There is also the option of using Selleys 375g Silicone Remover to make the silicone soft. I'd normally not advise using it unless it's a last resort as it can make a bit of a sticky mess.
You don't need to remove 100 percent of the silicone, just the bulk of it exposing the gap.
Good to know as I thought no residue should be leftover whatsoever and was a bit worried about that because not sure all of it can be quite removed.
Treated the small mold/mildrew area with bleach overnight - that dark area shown in the photo image. Will probably take out the rest (untouched old sealant) today and do the whole lining.
BTW - I did end up doing the Stanley knife along the top and bottom, but still messy and not in one piece as I would have liked, but it does seem to go rather deep.
Bought some masking tape to "line" it up better, however, just from a local shop nearby so not what I would have chosen for the task so crossing fingers that works out despite it being wider than I wanted.
Will make sure it is cleaned with turpentine and dried before putting the new silicone in.
Adding: Will watch a few vids on that before actually doing it.
Any updates on your project? I trust it would delight our members to see your results.
Please let me know if you need further assistance.
Next time I'm hiring someone, but YES I did do the seal and although it isn't the finishing professional look I wanted I think it is definitely sealed and looks fine if not looked at too closely.
Have seen one dodgy UK job where it is far more noticeable in a very bad way and that was only noticed by chance - she was sharing a recipe or gardening tip or something. YouTube Vlogger.
1) The scrapers proved rather inefficient/ineffective and I ended up having to use my finger and water with a drop or two of dishwashing liquid in it.
2) As for the professional caulking gun I bought - the bench went deep at one end so balancing on a stool proved rather tricky to form one bead line properly - had to go over it a bit again which wasn't in my plan. (Photo 2)
3) Lastly, by mistake, for about the length of one tile and a bit when cleaning up the excess silicone I grabbed the rag with Turpentine accidentally and wiped it right across too quickly to catch it in time. Not exactly behind the tap so am hoping that didnt mess it up too much when it came to curing.
It is probably a job that is easy for those that do it as a profession, but not for someone that doesn't do it at all.
I'm just hoping it has been sealed properly.
Photo 1: Fine.
Photo 2: Off a Bit.
Fine though as the dishwasher is being put here so its not like it will be seen. A few parts like that, but from a distance not too obvious. This is probably the most noticeable section and can likely be cleaned up, but I'm not sure I want to attempt.
Will see what it is like between now and the next 6-12 months - if any issues will hire someone to re-do it professionally.
Next up is the benchtop dishwasher which has finally arrived!
That looks perfect, @MinB, and I think you are being a little hard on yourself. If someone told me a professional did that caulking job, I would not for a second question it. I did a quick inspection for my mother of an apartment she was purchasing before the sale. The caulking was nowhere near as nice as yours. There were no continuous caulk runs, just short sections overlapping each other, which changed from thick to thin to thick again and was generally horrendous. There were even sections they had failed to cover altogether.
I know for a fact that your job is far better than my first attempt, and I would struggle to get it as neat as you have done even now.
Many thanks for sharing your update and experience with us all.