How to Replace Bathtub Caulk

What You'll Need
Razor blade or utility knife
Bathroom white or clear caulk (must be for bathroom)
Small space heater (optional)
Rubbing alcohol
Kilz spray (optional)
Caulking gun (optional)

You will be able to tell when it comes time to replace your bathtub caulk. That’s because it will start to come apart or turn dark in color. Sometimes this is because it was installed improperly the first time; sometimes it is just worn out. If your bathroom experiences a high level of humidity and not enough air flow, the continual dampness can contribute to the weakening, peeling or darkening of your bathtub caulk. Before beginning the process of replacing your bathtub caulking, you should gather the appropriate materials to have at your disposal. Once you start applying new bathtub caulk you won’t be able to leave the job until it’s complete.


Step 1 – Remove Old Caulking

Remove the old caulking. This can be a tedious task, depending on how much is left and what type of caulking was used before. It is best to try using a new razor blade to scrape off the caulk as carefully as possibly. Using a dull blade may increase the chance of scratches to the surface of the tub. Removing all of the old bathtub caulk is vital to ensure the new caulking can adhere to the tub instead of being blocked by the debris.

Step 2 – Clean Thoroughly

After all the old bathtub caulk has been removed you will need to clean the surface of the area thoroughly with the rubbing alcohol. Rubbing down the area with rubbing alcohol will help ensure that all leftover residue is gone and that it dries out faster. Let the tub sit for 1 hour after cleaning.

Step 3 – Apply Mold Killer

This step is optional, but highly recommended; particularly if your bathroom is an area that is not well ventilated. Simply apply a product like Kilz to all areas that the new bathtub caulk will go. Allow to dry completely; at least 1 hour.

Step 4 – Apply New Bathtub Caulk

For this step it is a matter of personal preference to use the caulking gun or to just apply the caulk directly from the tube. For beginners it is sometimes easier to apply the bathtub caulk directly from the tube. This can be a messy step and is hard to make it look professional if you have no experience so plan on taking your time.

Apply the caulking in every crevice, being sure to leave no exposed areas. You will not be able to go back and redo so it’s important to get it all on the first time. After you have applied the bathtub caulk to a manageable area, go over it with your finger or a clean and dry cloth to smooth it out. Do this often so the caulking does not have a chance to dry.

This project is one that takes time and some effort to end up with a look that is clean and smooth and that protects your bathroom cracks and crevices from mold and mildew. Doing the job right will ensure the caulking stays put for some time.