If you want to remove an old caulk from a caulking gun, make sure that you have the right tools.

PVC-based materials are found in most modern caulks. This means they are water-resistant at first, but over time may become less flexible. Over time, the caulk becomes crumbly and difficult to use, and it must be removed from your caulking gun before you can replace it with a new caulk.

Removing old caulk from a caulking gun is easy if you have the right tools. A dull knife may work in some cases, but for tougher jobs, try using an ice pick or a single-edge razor blade.

How to unload a caulk gun

  1. Prepare your work area and gather the tools you will need to remove the caulk from your caulking gun. These include a cutting tool or knife, paper towels, water, and soap (if desired).
  2. Hold the caulking gun in one hand with the barrel facing upwards. Turn it upside down so that it is pointing towards the ground.
  3. Remove the plunger from the end of the caulking gun that is facing up. Use a pair of pliers to grip the edge if it is too tight to turn easily with your fingers alone.
  4. Once you have removed the plunger, wipe away any caulk remaining on either surface of the gun.
  5. Rinse the inside of the plunger and the end of the caulking gun’s barrel with water.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 for both ends of your caulking gun if they are full of caulk, or only for the end that is most full of caulk.
  7. Insert one end of your cutting tool or knife into the opening at the end of your caulking gun.
  8. Push down on the cutting tool while pulling upwards with one hand and pulling downwards with the other to empty your caulk tube.
  9. Wipe away any remaining caulk from both surfaces of your caulking gun, and set it aside with the plunger removed from its end.
  10. If you have an empty caulking tube still inside your gun, either turn it over and insert a cutting tool or knife into the opening on that end, or remove an ice pick from the other. Push down with one hand while pulling upwards with the other to check that all the caulk is removed from your caulking gun.
  11. Run water through the inside of your plunger and outside your caulking tube to rinse away any remaining caulk, soap residue, or debris.
  12. Wipe both surfaces clean with paper towels before replacing either end of your caulking gun, if desired.

open a caulk gun

How to open a caulking gun?

To open a caulking gun, first remove the plunger. Hold it with one hand and turn it counter-clockwise until you feel resistance; then hold the entire plunger and pull it out of the case. Once you have removed the plunger, use your fingers to pry open the end of your caulking gun where you removed the plunger. If needed, insert a thin tool like a single-edge razor blade or an ice pick into the opening and pull it towards you to open the end of your caulking gun.

How to preserve a tube of caulking?

After caulking, clean any residue from the surfaces by wiping them with paper towels. If you are planning to use your caulked area again later the same day, wipe both sides of the plunger and reinsert it. If not, clean both sides of it and store with all components removed so that the caulk tube remains unclogged. Remove the caulk tube from the caulking gun and place it inside a plastic bag to protect it from air and contamination.