How to Caulk a Shower

Follow these simple steps to remove and replace caulk in the shower and bathtub when it starts to mildew and pull away from the shower wall.

Caulk is a homeowner’s best friend, sealing all the little cracks and crevices in the home and keeping water, air and critters from entering. But caulk doesn’t last forever. Here's how to caulk a shower to avoid water damage.

White Shower

White Shower With Fresh Caulk

This shower features all white tiles, silver faucet and fresh, new white caulk.

Photo by: Jalynn Baker

Jalynn Baker

Materials Needed

  • caulk gun
  • silicone caulk
  • gloves
  • cloth rag
  • mineral spirits
  • plastic putty knife
  • utility knife
  • sponge
  • baking soda

Tip: Use a silicone caulk that’s rated for at least 15-year durability; it pays to spend the extra dollar or two so you don’t have to do this all over next year. If your shower is all white, purchase a white silicone caulk. If it’s anything other than white, you may want to use a clear silicone.

Step 1. Remove Old Caulk

Start by scraping the old caulk away with a plastic putty knife (Image 1). Avoid using a metal scraper if possible, as it could damage your porcelain. Once you’ve scraped off as much of the old caulk as possible, pour a bit of mineral spirits onto a rag to scrub away the last of the residue (Images 2 and 3).

Step 2. Clean the Area Thoroughly

If you notice any grime or soap scum where you’ll be recaulking, wipe the area down with a wet sponge, then sprinkle baking soda over the wet surface (Image 1). Finally, use the sponge to scrub away the baking soda and the soap scum along with it (Image 2). Let the area fully dry.

Step 3. Recaulk the Seams

With the old caulk removed and the area cleaned, you’re ready to reseal all the cracks and seams in your shower. Use a utility knife to cut the tip of your caulk tube at a 45-degree angle (Image 1). You’ll need to puncture the inside of the tube through the tip to get the caulk flowing. Run a bead of caulk along the seams slowly (Image 2). Don’t use too much on your first pass. The simplest and most effective way to apply caulk is to lay a continuous thin line and then smooth it into place using a wet finger (Image 3).

How-To Tip

How to Use a Caulk Gun

Learn everything you need to know about caulking right here.

Get Professional Looking Results

This will create a seamless transition between the two surfaces and won’t be as noticeable to the eye. If you need to stop or take a break, remember to press the pressure release lever on the back of your caulk gun so the caulk doesn’t continue to flow. After caulking and smoothing, you may find an area that needs another layer. Apply another thin bead of caulk and smooth using a wet finger. Tip: Keep a wet cloth nearby to wipe your fingers on. You can use it to wipe away any mistakes as well.

Step 4. Clean Up Edges

Caulking is a bit of an art and takes some getting used to. You may have applied too much in one area or left a smudge on a wall. If so, that’s okay. Take a wet cloth and wipe away the smudges. If one of your seams is too wide and there’s unwanted caulk left on the surface, run the wet cloth along the edge to wipe the excess away.

White Shower

White Shower With Fresh Caulk

This shower features all white tiles, silver faucet and fresh, new white caulk.

Photo by: Jalynn Baker

Jalynn Baker

If you haven’t used an entire tube of caulk, you’ll want to seal the tip to make sure it doesn’t dry out and will be ready for use the next time you need it. If any caulk has dried on your hands, you can clean it off using a rag and some mineral spirits. Congratulations! Your shower is now clean, sealed and ready for years of use.

How to Caulk a Shower
Loading Video...

Next Up

How to Clean Soap Scum From Shower Doors

Learn the best soap scum removers and how to get your glass shower door looking as good as new.

How to Replace a Faucet

Replacing a faucet that's outdated or always dripping is a relatively easy DIY project.

How to Clean a Mattress

Learn how to clean dust build-up and treat stains such as sweat, beverages and urine. Plus, find out how to protect and prolong the life of your mattress and get the simple cleaning techniques to keep your bedroom clean.

How to Hang a Door in an Existing Jamb

Replacing an interior door in an existing opening is well within the reach of the average homeowner. Follow these simple steps.

The Best Showerheads to Update Your Bathroom

Upgrade your bathroom with a new showerhead. We have the top picks for rainfall, low-flow, adjustable and even Bluetooth.

Turn a Vintage Dresser Into a Bathroom Vanity

Customize any bathroom by using a vintage dresser or buffet instead of a builder-grade vanity. Scour thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets for a piece that is the right size for your space. You may even be able to shop your home!

How to Replace an Outdoor Water Spigot

If your outdoor hose spigot is leaking from the spout, it’s time to replace it. Here’s how to knock out this project in no time at all using a few simple tools.

Make a Tie-Dye Shower Curtain

It only takes 24 hours to brighten up a basic bathroom.

How to Clean a Shower

Here's how you get rid of soap scum and shower grime so that your once-sparkly shower can shine again.

How to Remove a Stripped Screw

Keep all your projects moving and say goodbye to stripped screws once and for all with these helpful tips and tricks.

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.