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What do you do with the caulk when you don't need it all? Do you throw it away or can you cover it and store it?

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I wrap any adhesive tape I have on hand into a tube extending a short distance beyond the tip of the nozzle and pinch it shut at the end, then I dispense some product into the tape. This allows the product itself to seal the tube on the outside of the tube.

When you're ready to use the tube again, yank off the tape and the dried plug and you should have a fresh nozzle.

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It kind of depends on how long it will be before you expect to use it again. Often people try to store the caulk by wrapping the tip with plastic tape or plugging it with a nail or something; but if it will be months before you are going to use it again, then saving it may not work out. Once the tube has been opened, it's bascially just a matter of time before it dries up.

If it's sealed really well, it could last several months, but this is kind of a lofty goal.

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Unless I think I can use it within a few weeks I either:

  • throw it out
  • go around my house or the house I am using it in and try to finish up the tube. There is always caulking to do!

I myself used to tape the caulk ends and use it. But after a couple of sloppy/botched uses I decided it simply isn't worth the time involved. Think about putting iffy caulk in a tub, then getting water where you don't want it. Think about caulking trim after you paint, then the caulk goes on poor and you have to scrape it off and repaint it. Is it worth saving a $1?

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I've tried nails, tape, etc, and at best have only gotten a tube to last a few months. The tubes that come with a replaceable cap seem to last longer.

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I store it and when I need it later, I try to squeeze some out. If nothing comes out, I try to pull out the dried plug from the nozzle. If I can't do that, I cut the nozzle down till I get to the base of the nozzle. If I still can't squeeze anything out, I throw it away and buy a new one.

Honestly, it's usually 50/50 that it will still be viable (for me), so it's worth keeping.

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do what you can to keep it from drying out, but assuming that it does dry out, make a length-wise slit in the complete length of the plastic nozzle, pull out the plug and then wrap electrical tape around the nozzle to restore the function of the nozzle.

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Run a stainless sheet-metal screw into the end. It works great but still only buys you so much time. I have gotten a year out of tubes that way.

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