• Video Series: Tile a Bathroom
    Video Series: Tile a Bathroom
  • Magazine Departments
    Magazine Departments
  • 7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
    7 Trim Carpentry Secrets
  • Master Carpenter Videos
    Master Carpenter Videos
  • Read FHB on Your iPad
    Read FHB on Your iPad
  • Basement Remodeling Tips
    Basement Remodeling Tips
  • Deck Design & Construction
    Deck Design & Construction
  • 7 Small Bathroom Layouts
    7 Small Bathroom Layouts
  • Energy-Smart Details
    Energy-Smart Details
  • Remodeling Articles
    Remodeling Articles
  • All about Roofing
    All about Roofing
  • Tips & Techniques for Painting
    Tips & Techniques for Painting
  • 7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
    7 Smart Kitchen Solutions
  • Design Inspiration
    Design Inspiration
  • Clever daily tip in your inbox
    Clever daily tip in your inbox
  • Install a Vinyl Privacy Fence
    Install a Vinyl Privacy Fence
  • 9 Concrete Countertop Ideas
    9 Concrete Countertop Ideas
Theres a Better Way

How to Keep Things Clean When Caulking Trim

comments (11) September 22nd, 2012
grateful.ed Chuck Miller, editor at large

Video Length: 1:19
Produced by: John Ross and Chuck Miller

Don't wipe your hands on your clothes or a messy rag when caulking crown moldings, casings, and baseboards. Use this handy tip instead


When you're caulking trim, you're going to have a lot of caulk left over on your fingers. You could just wipe it on your pants, or on a rag, or something else, but it's going to get on everything. There's a better way.


This is a tip from Byron Papa from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Byron has found a really good alternative to wiping caulk on a rag or you're pants. Byron just gets a pad of paper. When he wipes the caulk and he has that excess on his fingers, he takes the pad of paper and he puts the caulk on that. When he's got that first sheet of paper loaded up with caulk, all he has to do is tear it off, fold it up, and toss it. And he's ready for the next sheet of paper. That's a great tip, Byron. Thank you for sending that.


posted in: painting

Comments (11)

jptch jptch writes: I you puh thecaulking forward it puts alot less on nd very little left ater you wipe. try it I dare you. I've been doing it that way for 25 years and no watefull paper into the land fill.
Posted: 6:17 am on October 1st

TechnoTed TechnoTed writes: I've used my fingers for the longest time until I've had several contractors tell me that they use a wet sponge to wipe the caulked area after they are done and don't even use their fingers at all. They then wash the sponge in a bucket of water. I've tried this and it is amazing how well it works, creates better caulk finish than I could with my fingers too.
Posted: 2:54 pm on September 29th

jonnyjonjon jonnyjonjon writes: When I did high work on suspended scaffold we used old phone books...they're usually in abundance and free! We'd fold a page onto itself, turn the page and keep going! I still keep one in my van for caulking.
Posted: 8:11 pm on September 27th

alan_t alan_t writes: Up here in Canada, we had this show called the Red Green show a few years ago, with a segment called Handyman's Corner. You should check it out. Sometimes I think There's a Better Way takes its inspiration from that show. :)
Posted: 7:54 pm on September 25th

suburbangeorge suburbangeorge writes: This is a two part comment with both parts aimed at having less caulk to wipe.

First, I use a little metal tip which screws onto the end of the caulk tube tip. It has a smaller opening than you can make in the factory tip. Works best with latex caulk as you can clean it after use with water and a toothpick. They are not easy to find for sale. Best to ask at an older independent paint shop.

Second, work in the oposite direction with the tip pointed toward the un-caulked area. By careful control of the caulk gun, you can keep a little bead of caulk in front of the tip. As you move along, the tip tools the caulk and leaves an almost perfect bead. Most of the time you just wipe with a damp rag for perfect caulking.
Posted: 1:06 pm on September 25th

mikeymo mikeymo writes: Is this one of those April Fool's tips? You're just wiping the ecxess on a different surface. What *I* do is just use the new edible caulk, and lick it off the trim as I go along. Plus, you don't have to stop for snacks! The cinammon is good in the morning, but get the honey mustard compound for after-lunch caulking.
Posted: 10:55 am on September 24th

Ted W. Ted W. writes: A damp rag works better for a couple of reasons - it cleans off your finger at the same time, and you can use the rag to wipe excess caulk from around the joint if it gets out of control. It's no big deal to keep a bucket of water handy to rinse the rag occasionally. Another benefit of a wet rag on a hot day is it's sort of refreshing. :)
Posted: 7:41 am on September 24th

CapnJohn CapnJohn writes: Why not lay a small bead that requires a minimum amount of wiping?
And wasting paper is not very Earth friendly.
Posted: 6:51 am on September 24th

remodelremedy remodelremedy writes: I have been using this trick for years. It also works great for mixing small amounts of bondo for repairs. It gives you a nice smooth mixing surface and makes for easy clean up!
Posted: 6:42 am on September 24th

elgin elgin writes: You might be able to use a magazine instead of a new pad of paper. Simply turn a few pages and continue.
Posted: 6:42 am on September 24th

jeremiahschwenger jeremiahschwenger writes: Think I will use this one on bigger jobs. small ones a rag will do.
Posted: 7:01 am on September 23rd

Log in or create a free account to post a comment.