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Theres a Better Way

Revive Old Caulk Tubes

comments (16) August 26th, 2009 in Blogs
grateful.ed Chuck Miller, editor at large

Video Length: 1:42
Produced by: Produced by John Ross

Nancy Hart Serum of Oakland, California writes:

In my experience, it doesn't matter if I insert a nail or a screw into the nozzle of a partially used tube of caulk. The caulk will still coagulate into a frustrating lump that renders the tube useless. To remove the hardened caulk, I use my utility knife to slit the entire length of the nozzle. Then I pry out the caulk lump, andtape the nozzle back together with electrician's tape.

posted in: Blogs, energy efficiency, remodeling

Comments (16)

Michaelmaloney1 Michaelmaloney1 writes: Hmmm I foresee this method of solving hardened stuff after taking tubes out from storage is going to work pretty well with pretty much any other form of substance that solidifies if left exposed. It's a really smart idea and thanks for sharing!
Posted: 10:02 pm on January 5th

Hammermomma Hammermomma writes: Well, I just substitute a coarse threaded 3" drywall screw instead of a nail. As the caulk sets up in the nozzle, I pull it all out on the screw. I have also left a caulk tube with nothing in the tip, then turned a screw into the set-up caulk and again, the screw pulls it out.
Posted: 9:26 am on October 19th

SMARTCAP SMARTCAP writes: Why don't you simply use the SmartCap. New, airtight caulking tube caps that prevent premature dryout & blockage!! This new patent pending product is Canadian made, and is in over 90 stores in 14 weeks. The SmartCap prevents dryout so far up to 22 months. Our product also has a built in membrane puncture tool...which means no more searching for a long nail or wire. Simply cut off tube tip, insert SmartCap, you've just punctured the membrane, caulk, recap and store. It's that simple!!!

Visit our website at

I invite everyone to take advantage of a long overdue product to save you money, and time.

The SmartCap Team.
Posted: 7:51 am on November 22nd

DemoToReno DemoToReno writes: I recently started jamming a nail set into the tube nozzle. Since the metal is tapered, you can watch the seal form between the nail set and nozzle as you apply pressure.

Started doing this two weeks ago, so haven't tested the longevity results. But since, I've noticed my Liquid Nails, which tends to dry out very easily, is fresh as can be after two weeks. After reading some other posts here, might add some electrical tape to avoid potential pushout problems.
Posted: 10:16 am on June 11th

$Pit $Pit writes: As the owner of an antique house I have had great success storing open tubes of caulk by taping the end with high voltage electrical tape. I use Scotch 130C Linerless Rubber Splicing Tape. It is a self-fusing ethylene propylene rubber tape that I buy in 1" x 30' rolls. I cut a 12" piece of tape from the roll and then stretch it so that the tape is approximately 1/2 to 2/3's of its original width and then wrap it around and over the end of the nozzle until I've used the entire length of tape. I then use a small piece of any tape that has adhesive on it to hold the high voltage tape from unwrapping until it fuses to itself. When I want to use the caulk again I cut the tape off the nozzle with a hook blade utility knife. The tape is $15 to $20 per roll,so it only costs 50 to 68 cents and about 1 minute of time to save an expensive tube of caulk. This method will keep polyurethane caulk usable for many weeks and silicone caulk usable for many months. You may have to go to an electrical supply house or online to find this tape. Scotch 23 tape with a liner works equally well. This tape uses a liner to keep the tape from fusing to itself on the roll. When you stretch the tape the liner will release and you peel it off and throw it away.
Posted: 7:34 pm on May 1st

cslipscomb cslipscomb writes: I Found a product on ebay "Caulk Blocker" that allows you to vacuum close a storage tube with a ball valve to your shop vac. You can store up to 3 tubes of caulk indefinately, it takes seconds to use, considering some of the premium sika caulks and adhesives can cost me up to $30.00 a tube. it was well worth the investment for me. Even the time cleaning the nozzles is saved.
Posted: 10:49 pm on December 13th

jagtech jagtech writes: I cut a finger from a (used) latex glove, and slip it over the nozzle of the tube. Squeeze a little of the tube content into it to expell any air, and secure it with a rubber band. Works great!
Posted: 10:22 pm on October 3rd

Mcdust Mcdust writes: I've found that all non water based caulk, adhesive, epoxy and even loaded paint brushes wrapped up last longer than steaks in my freezer. But I'm not married.

Posted: 7:55 pm on September 23rd

robbyrob robbyrob writes: I've been struggling with this problem for 25 years.
After a lot of trial and error, I've settled on this method:

. Take an empty standard 20 fl oz (1.25 pint) disposable
plastic water bottle

. With a utility knife, cut out the bottom a fat 1/4" -
3/8" inwards from the outer perimeter of the base.

. Now cut a series of radial slits spaced roughly 1/2"
apart going from the inside edge of the hole you cut to
just shy of the outside perimeter of the base.

. Wad up a piece of rag between the size of a walnut and
a golf ball

. Drop the wadded rag into the upside down capped bottle.
and ram it up to the cap with the tube,no fuss no muss!
Posted: 9:48 pm on September 10th

Tsquared Tsquared writes: When I buy a new tube, I take 3 or 4 tips from the bin. Time comes to start again, I just switch the tip. If I need what's left in the remaining tip, I scoop it out with a screw driver. C'mon, how much do your eally think you're losing?
Posted: 11:35 pm on August 31st

SANCBLDGCO SANCBLDGCO writes: For a small investment, buy a "Food Saver" vacuum system and a roll of bags for same. Simply seal one end of the bag, cut to a length longer than the tube of caulk, and seal the bag. The caulk will last indefinatly because there is no air to dry it out. Simply cut open to use and re-seal same bag when finished.
Posted: 3:19 pm on August 31st

BobboMax BobboMax writes: Ref nagar1's comment, yeah, I've seen those occasionally- seems like they tend to come w/ Euro products- some have both a removable nozzle AND a cap . Maybe we should start a campaign to get US manufacturers to go that way- it might reduce their sales, but it would also reduce the number of tubes of hardened caulk in landfills and my van. I'd certainly pay a bit extra for the feature and base some of my purchasing decisions on its availability.

I've found the removable nozzles easier to clean out- the taper runs the right way- and the larger opening in the tube when you remove the nozzle is a lot easier to open up if you do get hardening.

I'm a professional handyman, so I tend to use a 1/4 tube at a time. I've tried the little rubber condoms, but found them ineffective. I've had surprisingly good luck w/ masking tape- kind of a pain to install and remove, but better than buying another tube of caulk. I do one spiral wrap, bend the pigtail at the tip over and do another spiral wrap.
Posted: 12:13 pm on August 31st

grateful.ed grateful.ed writes: thanks demouser--that caulksaverplug sounds especially promising. Two other ideas that tipsters have shared for slowing down the hardening of the caulk in a partially spent tube:
1. Squeeze out just enough caulk to make sure there is no air in the tube tip, then cap it with an appropriately sized wire nut.
2. I haven't tried this yet, but it sounds like a good idea: seal the tube tip with hot-melt glue.
Anybody tried that one?
Posted: 10:38 am on August 31st

demouser demouser writes: I've found the vinyl caps from a companies like Caplugs ( or Stock Caps ( work great. Just slip a cap over the caulk nozzle when you are done. Keeps the caulk from drying out for months if need be. Polyurethane caulk tends to clog the inside of the cap after a few uses, but the caps are cheap enough to throw away. The difficulty is I haven't found anyone that sells these at the retail level. They would certainly be cheap enough, and companies can easily have their name printed on them as promo items, like "Fine Homebuilding".

There are other products like CaulkSaver ( and Caulk Saver Plug ( that go inside the nozzle. Haven't tried them but it looks like more work since they have to be cleaned for reuse.

To get a bit more caulk out at the end of a tube, wad up some of your used paper towels and put them inside the caulk tube body (a small chunk of wook works too). Sometimes your caulk gun runs out of travel before the tube is 100% finished.
Posted: 10:13 am on August 31st

jcanuck jcanuck writes: I found the tip about reviving old calking tubes a good one to add to my bag of how to's. While I still have this problem, although rarely, I would like to share another solution.
A local woodworking store sells what I call small rubber 'condoms' which if rolled over the tip of a partially used tube of calk it seals out the air and usually preserves the tube until needed.
Posted: 9:21 am on August 31st

nagar1 nagar1 writes: Over here in Israel our caulking tubes come with removable nozzles. When I buy a tube of caulk I grab a couple of extra nozzles and when the first one solidifies I simply screw on another one. Seems like an easier and faster idea to me.
Posted: 6:25 am on August 31st

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