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How To Clean Up After Caulking

For every home improvement job, there is always a need to seal the areas that are prone to leaks and water damage, and this can be done by caulking. It's a pretty straightforward job that is pretty simple to do. However, it requires a bit of cleaning up, which is why in this post, we've looked into how to clean up after caulking your home improvement project. 

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How to Clean Up After Caulking:

  1. When using silicone caulk, wipe up the excess using a dry paper towel.
  2. Excess acrylic caulk can be removed using a damp sponge.
  3. Dried up, excess caulk can be removed by carefully scraping it with a sharp razor blade or a scraper.

There are different ways how to clean up after caulking, as well as ways how you can effectively prevent your project from using too much caulk. In this post, we will give you some tips and tricks for making your caulking a little easier. Keep reading as we also share with you the different types of caulk and where you can use them in your home improvement project. 

Craftsmen use silicone glue to fix glass work. sponge used to clean caulk. scraping excess caulk. How To Clean Up After Caulking

How To Clean Up After Caulking

For many homes, there are areas that will have gaps and spaces that can inevitably cause leaks and damage if not addressed immediately. In these cases, a good home improvement project requires another step to seal these unwanted gaps and spaces—caulking. 

One of the primary things that caulking does is seal any leaks and prevent elements like excessive air and water from entering the gaps. Aside from this, caulking also covers up any errors and mistakes during installation. Caulk is a moldable material that is made from silicone or acrylic, among many other types.

Hands of worker using a silicone tube for repairing of window indoor

Putting caulk on the gaps of your doors, windows, and other fixtures is easy and simple. Caulk can usually be bought in tubes and you can apply it to the area using a caulking gun. Depending on the needs of your project, you'll have to pick the right kind of caulk to ensure that it will properly seal and fill the gaps.

Check out this caulking gun on Amazon.

After your caulking job, it is important to clean up and prevent excess caulk from hardening. Forgetting to clean up the excess caulk often causes unsightly bumps and build-up that does not look like when the project is done. It will show up when you paint over the area and the excess caulk simply looks untidy.

Cleaning Silicone Caulk

To clean up excess silicone caulk, all you need to do is to wipe up the excess using a dry paper towel. Do this as soon as possible to avoid the silicon from drying, making it hard to clean up. If the caulk has reached that point, you can soften it up by using mineral spirits and by wiping it down with some rags.

Cleaning Acrylic Caulk

When using acrylic caulk, excess caulk can be removed by using a damp sponge. Keep the sponge clean by rinsing it frequently every time you wipe the excess or use a new one if it has started to harden. Doing so will prevent the sponge from smearing it even further.

Get this all-purpose sponge on Amazon.

Cleaning Dried Caulk

If you ever end up with excess caulk and it is already dry, you will need a few more materials to completely clean the caulking job. First, you will have to soften the dried-out caulk to make it easier to remove. Always have a utility knife or scraper on hand to cut out and remove the excess. Of course, don't forget the rags to make cleaning up a lot easier. 

1. Soften The Caulk

If you find that your excess caulk has hardened, you can use a caulk remover to soften the excess. Simply spray on the caulk remover and wait until it softens up enough for you to scrape it off.

Check out this caulk remover on Amazon.

2. Scrape Out Hardened Caulk

Using a utility knife or scrapers, carefully slice through the edge of the caulk and the excess. Make sure that your utility knife or scraper is sharp so that the edges of your caulk will not look rough and jagged.

See these multi-purpose scrapers on Amazon.

3. Wipe Down

After you've removed all the excess dried-up caulk, wipe down the area with some water to remove excess solvents. If the caulking job is really bad, you might have to just remove everything and start all over again. Otherwise, a nice clean-up of the excess caulk should do. 

worker using caulk gun applying sealant

Can You Prevent Excess Caulk?

If this is the first time you've ever used caulk, it might be a little difficult to take control of the caulking gun while you're running a bead of caulk in between your molding. Fortunately, you can practice it for a bit before you take on the job. You can also follow these simple tips to prevent excess caulk from seeping out and making your clean-up a lot easier. 

Tape It Off

Just like a paint job, painter's tape is definitely a godsend when you are trying to do a caulking job. Tape off the area above and below the area you are caulking to give you a defined area to work with. Run the bead of caulk through the gap slowly, and when you smooth out the caulk, the excess will slide on the painter's tape and hold itself there. 

To make a clean line with your fresh caulk, pull up the painter's tape while it's still wet. It will make a nice straight line and there will be no bumps and excess caulk on the edges of your molding or fixture.

Cut The Right Size

Caulk cartridges and tubes often have marks where you should cut off the tip. Before cutting it off, make sure you know how big the gap is to prevent cutting a hole that is too big on your caulk tube. A hole too big will cause the caulk to spread out when you squeeze and smoothen out the bead. It will then smear all over the place and cause a mess.

Start by cutting off a small portion of the tip and see if the caulk is easy to apply. If it's hard to squeeze out, simply cut it off bit by bit until the caulk moves and can be applied easily.

Don't Be Trigger Happy

A caulking gun can be a little complicated to work with if you are a first-time user. Most of the time, you'll find it hard to let go of the trigger once you've started the job. Unfortunately, this is also the reason why there's so much excess caulk after you do your caulking.

When running the bead through the gaps, make sure to run the caulking gun at a slow and steady pace. Squeeze the trigger with just enough pressure to prevent too much caulk from coming out of the cartridge. If you need to readjust your grip, stop moving and stop squeezing the trigger so that the caulk will not build up at the tip. 

What Are The Types of Caulk And Where Do You Use Them?

white silicone sealant cartridge and yellow-black sealant gun

There are many varieties of caulk for different projects, but we will discuss the most commonly used caulk for general use at home.

Acrylic Latex Caulk

This caulk is a general, all-purpose use caulk that is easy to clean up using soap and water. It is also paintable, so this is the most commonly used caulk when dealing with baseboards and trim. Acrylic latex caulk is best used in dry areas and it is used to seal gaps to prevent moisture, dust, and bugs from coming into the house.

Acrylic Or Latex Caulk With Silicone

A stronger version of the acrylic latex caulk, the addition of silicone makes this caulk moisture-resistant. It is indeed more flexible and durable than its predecessor, but most professionals find that it's a little harder to paint over. Nonetheless, it's easy to clean and you can use this caulk both indoors and outdoors.

Silicone Caulk

This caulk is a lot more expensive than the others, but this premium caulk is your best choice if you are working in a high-moisture environment. It is not paintable, but silicone caulk comes in many different colors that you can work with to match the walls and the trim.

Craftsman caulking a new window in the attic. How To Clean Up After Caulking

In Conclusion

Putting caulk on your home improvement project is easy, but even the pros do need to clean up after a job. Make sure to remove all the excess and make everything neat and clean when you caulk the gaps of your project to ensure that nothing will seep through the spaces. It will also ensure that your gaps are filled in nicely and that the paint goes on smoothly without issues.

Are you looking to learn more about caulking in your home? Look no further because we've got the perfect articles for you:

7 Types Of Caulk For The Bathroom [And Which To Choose]

How Long Does It Take Caulk To Dry Before Painting?