Shower caulking refers to the process by which old caulk from between shower tiles and the shower wall is removed and re-applied or recaulked. Since we use our showers on a daily basis, it is important to clean it regularly in order to avoid the build-up of mildew and other unpleasant substances that could turn your shower into an unhygienic environment.
Recaulking a shower is one of the main ways of maintaining your shower and although it is an unfortunate part of shower maintenance, it needs to be performed annually. The reason for this is that the older the caulk between tiles and shower walls become, the more likely it is to leak. Leaks develop due to the age of the caulk as well as due to tiny cracks that form in the caulk itself. As soon as water gets into a crack in the caulk or joint, it will widen and can cause serious problems.
If recaulking a shower sounds like a huge chore, keep in mind that regular shower maintenance also eliminates black mildew stains that are often tough to remove. Some mildew stains simply cannot be removed. This is because the stain sits behind the caulk, not on top of it. In such a situation, recaulking your shower is your only course of action.
Many people choose to recaulk their showers themselves while some prefer to leave it up to the experts. The first step in the recaulking process is the application of a caulk softener. As soon as the caulk has softened, it can be scraped away and the joint can be cleaned out and dried. The mixture used to clean the joints can often be noxious and therefore this step needs to be performed in a well-ventilated area. After the mixture has killed the mildew, a hot air gun (or hair dryer, if you are doing it yourself) is used to thoroughly dry the area. The tiles are now ready to be recaulked. Caulk is applied to the joints and smoothed on using a caulk spreader. It is important not to touch the caulk while it is drying.