Getting Rid of Old Grout and Caulking

by Leslie
5 Materials
1 Day

Everyone either has it or has seen it before... disgusting old, moldy grout and caulking in the bathroom. We inherited an entire tub and shower full of it when we bought our house and decided on a simple "refresher" to get rid of it, rather than gutting the whole thing and re-tiling from scratch. We're so happy we gave it a shot because now it looks brand new! Before we go into the quick "how-to", here's a shot of what we were dealing with...

See the yucky caulking around the tub and the yellowing grout between the tiles? No amount of cleaning products or scrubbing was doing any good, so we decided to remove and replace both. Step One: Scrape out the old caulking. I used a putty knife.

Step Two: Grind out the old grout. I used a combination of a hand tool (you can buy them at the hardware store for a few bucks) and an electric multi-tool with a rounded blade. Here is the shower with some of that old grout gone (and no more caulking around the tub either!)...

Once you have all of the old stuff out, it's time for Step Three: Re-grouting. Using a grout float, wipe your grout (I used the pre-mixed kind) at an angle across the tiles and make sure it gets into the cracks. Tip: Do a small portion at a time because it dries FAST!

After you've gone over a small section with the grout, go back over that spot with a damp sponge to wipe off the excess. Tip: Your sponge should be only a little damp- not sopping wet! A too-wet sponge and using too much pressure will only result in wiping out all of your hard work completely! Take it from a couple who learned the hard way... When you've grouted the entire space and removed all of the excess, it's time for Step Four: Sealing it. Make sure to read all of the instructions on both the grout label and the sealant label for appropriate dry and application times. Step Five: Re-caulk the areas where you scraped out the old caulk. Tip: Use painters' tape to create straight lines first...

Apply the caulk and smooth it with your finger along your lines. Tip: One of the employees at Home Depot told us to make sure to have the bathtub filled for this step. The weight of the water will help keep the tub in place for caulking and help you avoid cracks in the caulk in the future.

Peel off the tape and let it dry. And now stand back and admire your fresh, clean, and "feels like new" shower and tub!

Click the link below for more details on the process as well as a TON of extra before and after shots of our "new" space! PS. Please note... the Cost and Time information given for this post may vary depending on your situation. The cost could be more or less depending on the size of your space and how many materials you will need to purchase. The time indicated does not include drying time.

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 17 questions
  • Dona Dona on Sep 05, 2020

    Not sure, but did you put 2 strips of blue tape down each side of tiles to caulk corners? Your tape appears large, as if you put one whole piece in corners? but how would the caulk go thru tape?

  • Bren Bren on Nov 01, 2020

    when I click on the “Go” button it does not take me to your blog. How do I get there?

  • Melissa tucker Melissa tucker on Nov 01, 2020

    ive got floor stripes in living room. some seems to be soming up alittle. can i take an iron with coth with no steam to press them down?

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3 of 179 comments
  • MonicaK MonicaK on Jun 18, 2021

    You said: "Apply the caulk and smooth it with your finger along your lines." If you use an icecube instead of your finger the caulking will be smoother and you fingers will be cleaner!

  • Sher Man Sher Man on Sep 06, 2021

    Really good tip about filling the tub with water before caulking to prevent cracks in the future. I did not know that, thanks. Looks great.