Step 6: Clean up

Clean up the excess caulk, smears, and your fingers with the paper towel. Stick a long nail in the tip of the caulk tube to keep it from drying out. And good job you've now successfully completed a caulk job!
I've always used dawn dish soap on my finger. Smooth.
<p>Over the years, I have used many things to smooth out the caulk, but a 3x5 card, or other form-able non corrugated cardboard (cereal boxes) works very well. You just shape it in your fingers and smooth the caulk with the radius. Don't laugh, it works great......</p>
There is so much wrong with this post. I learned 25 years ago fabricating corian that to achieve a proper bond all surfaces must be wiped down with solvent alcohol prior to applying 100 percent silicone. an Alcohol soaked rag or paper can be used to clean up any excess. I would NEVER introduced water in any way when applying silicone. You would beJust asking for bonding issues, as well as an awful mess. There are a number of rubber caulking tools readily available which work quite well to smooth the caulk. The easy way out is to use acrylic tub and tile caulk which is easier to use and clean up but as a previous commenter said will crack in time. As long as it is properly applied silicone is by far the best for kitchen and bath applications. I have been doing high end residential remodeling for almost 30 years and can't tell you how many times I've had to come and redo poorly done caulking
I just keep it simple, and put the caulk in the crack. To each their own though ;)
If you cut the tip at an angle, and control the angle of the gun to the surface that you are caulking, as well as looking ahead to see where you can go faster, and where the opening is larger to slow down at, you can get away with a much thinner, factory-looking bead, with nearly no smoothing required. A lot of craftsmen have spent a lot of time figuring out how to do this so it is a skill, and you have to figure out yourself what the angles are. Every time I caulk, I remember the rebukes of the pros I once worked with who accused my smoothed-down thick bead as looking 'real bad' (expletive deleted).
I've used washing up liquid on my thumb before as the caulking can't stick to that. In fact, at one point where I was doing a LOT of work I had an old pill bottle with washing up liquid in so I could just dip the tip of my thumb and then scrape it off against the edge so I didn't waste so much. You only need a very thin layer for it to be effective.
I was taught never to smooth the caulk with my finger. It supposedly thins the edges and thin edges peel more easily so water can seep underneath the caulk.
Water is good. But ice is better! <br> <br>Just grab an ice cube, rough it into the radius you want and run that along the caulk. Eliminates sticking, need for re-wetting finger, and also provides a much more consistent line than your fingers can. <br> <br>Also, somebody mentioned Latex caulk. While it is much easier to work with, it dries out and cracks over time. Much better to put the practice time in and silicone!
Try spraying both your hand and the caulk with Windex the next time. It makes the whole thing smooth like butter!
I use a wet sponge for doing this instead of using my fingers =)
To avoid sticking your finger with silicone, soak it in water+detergent. Water only, does not work. <br> <br>To close the tip of the cartridge, you must 1) take off the conic tip; 2) cut the threaded part of the cartridge so the inner be cylindric (5 or 6 mm under the end); 3) find a solid rod, metal or plastic, that fits tight in the hole, about 2 inches or more. Doing this you can keep the used cartridge for 4 or 5 months perfectly. <br> <br>BTW, good and useful instructable.
yep sounds good! thx
Great Instructable! It is a good idea to mention the use of silicone caulk for use around the outside of windows, bathroom fixtures and, kitchen fixtures. Latex caulking can be used anywhere else where moisture is not a problem.
yep! thx for the input

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Bio: A country boy...live on forty acres, shoot guns, hike, hunt, fish, play soccer, and more!
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