Keeping Your Caulk From Drying Out

wax_ringI’ve got a number of tubes of caulk in my basement, on my shelves, that are dried out. And that number is 10. Yes. Ten 1/2 full or 3/4 full tubes of caulks of assorted colors and types that have all dried out.

I discovered this the other day when I, of course, needed to do some caulking. And, of course, I didn’t buy any caulk because I knew I had at least $40 worth of caulk on my basement shelves. However, when I went down there to get it, I quickly realized that all of those tubes were no good.

I had used them earlier and had never sealed them correctly to prevent them from drying out. And, as a result, they dried out.

Well, I know that I can at times be pretty dumb when it comes to home improvement stuff, but I also know that I’m not the only one. So, I thought I’d share with you two great ways I discovered after that experience that will help you keep your caulk ready to use.

METHOD 1: The Wax Ring Method

The first way is my favorite and I owe credit to a wood working blogger I discovered here.  This method is very simple, very cost effective, a little gross (when you think about it), and very cool.  Here it is:

  • Buy a wax ring for a toilet from a hardware store.  (Should be under $4 in price.)
  • Take the wax ring and put it in a small container that you can seal.  (you could use a tape cannister, possibly film cannisters, or anything along those lines.  The goal is to put the wax in a container that you can seal so it stays pliable, but also so it doesn’t get all over the place and make a mess).
  • When you’re done caulking for a day or for a month or whatever, simply open up this cannister with the wax and press the tip of the caulk into the wax (preferably a couple inches).

The wax will fill the nozzle perfectly and will create a perfect seal.  When you’re ready to caulk again, simply pop the tube into your gun and squeeze the trigger.  The wax seal will be expelled just ahead of the caulk–which will still be perfectly good!

METHOD 2: Latex Gloves

Another method I’ve read about for sealing up a tube of caulk in-between jobs is this:

  • Start by taking one of those little latex “doctor’s” gloves and then cutting the finger off.
  • Drape this “cut-off finger” over the nozzle of the tube of caulk and then wrap some tape around the base to seal it.
  • When you’re ready to use it again, simply pull the seal off and your caulk should still be usable.
  • Now, while both of these methods are inexpensive and should work well, I still like the simplicity of the wax  ring idea.  I don’t have to mess with tape, I don’t have to worry if I got the little finger thingy taped down tightly enough, etc.  And, best of all, when I want to use the caulk again, I just pop it in the gun and pull the trigger.  I don’t have to mess with pulling tape off after it’s been sitting on a tube for 4-5 months.

If you do any amount of caulking, give one of these methods a try–either one is way better than the old “put a nail in it” method and will produce much better results!

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