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bathroom caulking Tips

Bathroom caulking is easy to do yourself. And the results packs a big decorative punch.

Dingy, cracked, or mildewed caulk can make even a sparkling clean bathroom look dirty and unappealing.

If you've resisted replacing bathroom caulk because it seemed like a big job, hesitate no more. You can make this simple repair yourself, with little effort and minimal experience required.

don't just cover the dingy caulk - remove it.

One of the common mistakes many people make when they notice that the caulking around a tub or shower stall has become stained or mildewed is to simply to spread a fresh layer of caulk over the dingy or crumbling area and call it a day.

It does brighten the bathroom - for a week or two. Then the underlying mildew eats its way up through the new layer of caulk, treating the recent arrival as a little snack.

Before long, you and your bathroom are back to dingy and crumbling square one.

However, even the mechanically challenged can usually remove caulk the right way by following a few simple steps:

  • Using a stiff putty knife and a small, inexpensive razor scraper, remove all old caulking material.
  • Dig out as much old caulk as possible so that a shallow groove is formed along the entire edge between the bathtub and the tile or the tub or shower surround.
  • Thoroughly scrub the entire area with a bleach-based cleaner and a stiff-bristled brush. Rinse well, and allow to dry completely.
  • To speed the drying process, temporarily direct a fan at the area.

fill in the groove with a latex-based tub-and-tile caulk.

Using a latex-based tub-and-tile caulk (in either a squeeze tube or a caulking gun), fill the shallow groove with a thin, continuous bead of caulk.

While the line of caulk is still fresh and before a skin starts to set and harden - within a few minutes, at most - moisten your fingertip and use it to smooth the caulk out and push it thoroughly into any gaps.

Then carefully wipe any excess caulk with a damp cloth.

The trick is to use the least amount of caulk necessary to fill the small gap between two different materials and surfaces.

It should be nearly invisible when complete, and not protrude any farther than the tile or the edge of the tub or shower.

Otherwise, it can act as a trap for moisture and allow mildew to grow. Let the caulk set for as long as the package directions indicate (it's usually overnight).

Finally, you can probably avoid ever having to do this job again by regularly drying tub surfaces, shower walls, fixtures, and caulked areas with a clean towel. If stains do appear, try cleaning the caulking with a mildew-killer or other commercially available grout-and-caulk cleaner.

Ready to get started? Check out the caulking products and tools at the Clean Organized Home Store.

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About the Author

Tara Aronson

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.