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What are some effective ways of sealing an opened tube of caulk so that the contents do not dry out? In the past I've used a large nail and some tape, but that doesn't seem to last for more than a few weeks.

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14 Answers 14

I always leave a blob of caulk on the tip that's large enough for me to grab onto. It dries and seals the rest of the tube. When I'm ready to use the tube again, I just pull it off.

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Will this work with all types of caulk? – glenviewjeff Oct 7 '15 at 12:28

Plastic wrap (Saran wrap) and an elastic band.

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I have used plastic wrap also, works great. for short term storage, the plastic caps in the paint dept of box stores also work pretty good. 2 caps for like $3.00 – shirlock homes Jan 14 '11 at 19:43
I usually use black electrical tape (unlike elastic bands, I always have some in my main tool box), and I've had caulk that's lasted for a year that way. If you relieve the pressure and cover it, naturally there will be no air in it and so it stays ready to use. – gregmac Oct 9 '12 at 1:52
I do this, but with the addition of pumping out some additional caulk/glue so it blobs (so a combination of this and the blob method) After the first use, I reuse the same plastic-wrapped blob if it has not hardened all the way through. – Ecnerwal Nov 17 '15 at 22:30

I've always used a drywall screw. It seems to last a few months depending on the type of caulk.

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I too have used this method. IMO it does not work great but is better than nothing. – auujay Jan 14 '11 at 15:12
Some will rust in the nozzle and then stain the caulk. – Rob Oct 8 '12 at 12:02
Galvanized does pretty good at preventing that, plus the screw can draw the set plug or bore through it if long enough. I've had caulk set despite using the red rubber caps and end up driving a drywall screw in anyway. – Fiasco Labs Oct 8 '12 at 14:53

I use screw on electric caps. I always seem to have a few around, and you don't need a screwdriver or drill to get it on the tube. It works well, but like most of these solutions it is only a short term solution, once you open a tube of caulk it has a shelf life and if you don't use it you lose it.

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The actual name is "wire nuts" or connectors and is my preferred method. And "lose" is spelled l-o-s-e. – Rob Oct 8 '12 at 12:01
@Rob Actually, they are Twist-on wire connectors. "Wire nuts" are Ideal Industries version. – Tester101 Oct 8 '12 at 16:38

Lee Valley Nozzle Caps or Twist and Seal Stoppers

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anyone know of a UK supplier? – flamingpenguin Jan 18 '11 at 15:38
They ship Internationally so I called to see what the estimated cost of shipping 1 unit of each of the above items to London would be. The shipping came in at roughly $9-17USD for UPS so definitely not economical. She couldn't give a better estimate without a full shipping address. – CapitalBoo Jan 19 '11 at 19:01

My dad uses electrical tape. It will eventually fall off, about the same time that the caulk would be useless anyway. Has the advantage that the black tape is easy to spot and is a reminder that the tube has been opened.

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The best solution I've found is to fabricate a container out of PVC pipe and two end caps, found at any hardware store. I cut the PVC pipe to about 12", permanently glue one end cap onto the pipe and use the other end cap to seal the pipe without glue. I place a small rubber cap from my junk drawer onto the open/cut tip, spray a small amount of Bloxygen into the PVC pipe, insert the caulk tube and place the second cap onto the pipe. I keep the containers standing upright with the tip facing downward to ensure that the Bloxygen encapsulates the tip instead of any air that might remain inside. This is because Bloxygen is heavier than air. I've also used clear acrylic tubes with caps, which work better because I can see what's inside and they have a flat bottom, which enables them to stand up while stored. It's just hard to buy a small quantity of these since they're sold in bulk. You can find out more about Bloxygen at: http://www.bloxygen.com/ It costs about $11.00 per can plus shipping. Note: I have no connection with, or interest in, Bloxygen other than as an end user of the product.

No, this is not spam. As I mentioned, I am an end user of the product and have no connection whatsoever with Bloxygen. I'm just a guy in the same boat as many in trying to find the best way to save partially used caulk tubes. I came across this product a while ago and have been able to save a lot of expensive paint, adhesives, caulks, etc. I just thought my suggestion might be helpful to someone. If not, just ignore it.

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I'm not sure if this is spam or not... It does answer the question, but it also sounds kind of promotional... – ShoeMaker Apr 5 '13 at 0:13

I use clear packing tape. Cut a 6-inch section, fold it over the caulk tube tip so the sticky sides face each other, press down and twist. Gives you a good seal and is easy to remove.

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I tend to use a 3" deck screw. The coating makes it less likely to rust (but I still squeeze out some caulk into the trash until it runs clean). And the 3" is usually long enough to reach the caulk that hasn't dried. The benefit of the screw is that you pull it straight out with a pair of pliers and it will take any dried caulk out with it. If there's too much dried caulk to pull it straight out, I'll often cut the tip larger.

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I prefer a hot-dip-galvanized 16d common nail; something in the zinc seems to slow down curing a little. If the caulk still dries in the tube, I curse myself for being so all-fired cheap and go buy another tube - each tube costs less than a pack of cigarettes, a gallon of gasoline, or a cheap meal.

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I've been using Little Red Caps for the past two years; they're little rubber caps that you roll over the end of a caulk tip, and they seem to make a nice tight seal.

I've used them with drywall glue, construction adhesive, and silicone caulks, and all were easy to use and reuse. I've been using one particular tube of silicone caulk for six months, about once a month, and every time I roll the red cap off, the caulk is as fresh as new.

I used to use a drywall screw, but that method only works for smaller tips, and also can rust closed if there is even a slight imperfection in the seal.

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I supposed one could seal it easily with some polycaprolactone. It's a thermoreversible hard plastic which remelts to a clear putty like state when dipped in boiling water for a minute. It can be reused over and over and when cooled back down returns to hard white plastic. it bonds extremely well to other plastics like the plastic used for the nozzle of caulk tube, would definitely seal it off probably as good as a new tube is sealed off. I have some and came across this and just though about it and will try it just thought I'd pass it on. Also if it won't be used for more than a few months consider also sealing the bottom, most caulk rubbers cure by moisture in the air (humidity) finding its way in and doing the irreversible crosslinking. and the bottom plunger does not seal it off perfectly otherwise it wouldn't slide.

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Please report back once you know if this works. – Niall C. Aug 20 '14 at 2:28
I just tried it with a new tube of clear silicone sealant. It made a decent form fitted cap/plug from PCL but when twisting it came off making it a releasing cap/plug for me, good enough for short term. Adhesives are usually made from polyproyplene PP since most things do not bond to it apparently not even PCL, although pcl bonds much better to wood, metal, and pvc. I use cheap polyethyelene gloves when handling pcl and or jersey gloves with poly gloves overtop because it sticks to vinyl and nitrle gloves probably would latex too. A hot glue stick designed to bond to PP may be another option. – Pete Aug 20 '14 at 4:04
I just read someones report that shoe goo sticks to polyproyplene. I have a tube of E6000 got at dollar general which according to all the specs having read it last month is the generic equivilent of shoe goo and amazing goop. All 3 having the same shore hardness, elongation percentage at break and available in clear, and all featuring proprietary polymer as the main constituent but unpublished. worth a shot for long term. Hypothesis that even with perfect seal top and bottom the initial air introduction will entrap moisture rendering viability less than a year >90% of cases. – Pete Aug 20 '14 at 4:41
Concerning sealing of the bottom plunger: it's a problem that has always been felt a lot. Already in the '80s: google.com/patents/US4217995 I hope they found a way nowadays to do it properly. – OlafM Nov 18 '15 at 14:24

I found a pretty good product at Menards called Seal-A-Tube made by Core Gear. It's a plastic cap with a long plastic pin inside of it that goes into the caulk hole that you've cut open. They cost less than $2 each. I tried one out and liked it so much I bought about 5 more. So far, every tube I've taken this cap off of was ready to go again and not dried out.

Seal-A-Tube made by Core Gear Product Page

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A blob of your kid's modeling clay works great. It will hold up for the long term, too. Make sure you use the oily reusable modeling type of clay that never gets hard. Roll a three-quarter-inch ball, stick it over the hole, then pinch it around the top of the nozzle to seal off the air.

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