How to Caulk Without a Caulking Gun

How to Caulk Without a Caulking Gun

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So, you need to apply some caulking to seal gaps or to seal that bathtub, but you don’t have a gun. What do you do? The fact of the matter is that it is possible to caulk without a caulking gun.

Today we are going to discuss three different ways of how to do just that.

Can (and Should) You Caulk Without a Caulking Gun?

While a caulking gun is the best way to apply caulk to any surface, strictly speaking, it is not 100% necessary. As you are about to find out below, there are a few different ways that you can use caulk without a caulking gun. The three ways to get this done include using sausage tube caulking, a plastic bag with a hole in it, or some sort of device as a plunger to squeeze it right out of the tube.

Sure, the gun makes it all a lot easier, but it’s easy enough to accomplish without a gun too.

Caulking Gun

How to Caulk Without a Caulking Gun

Keep in mind that when outlining these three following methods, we won’t talk about the prep work, as this is the same for all three methods, as well as how to smooth the caulking once applied. For more tips on how to prepare an area for caulking, and on how to finish the job, read the section below on tips and tricks.

Method #1: Using a Sausage Caulking Tube

The first method for applying caulking is to buy a special type of caulking tube known as a sausage tube. These tubes are soft instead of hard. Now, they are generally used in specialized sausage caulking guns, but due to their soft packaging, you can also squeeze them by hand without the need for a caulking gun.

Follow the steps as outlined below to put this method to use.

Step 1: Cut the Tube

Get some normal but sharp scissors and cut a small hole in the front of the sausage caulking package, just enough to allow a small bead to come out. Make sure that the opening is not too large, or else you will end up making a mess.

Step 2: Line Up The Bead

Now you just have to hold the sausage tube with your hand and line up the opening with the gap that you need to run the caulk along.

Step 3: Apply the Caulk

While holding the sausage tube with your left hand (if you are right-handed), use your right hand to squeeze the tube to dispense caulking. Make sure to curl your hand and apply steady pressure to allow for accurate and steady application.

Keep folding the sausage tube over where the caulking has been squeezed out.

Sausage Caulking

Method #2: Using a Plastic Bag

The second method at your disposal is to use a plastic bag to dispense the caulking. This is what you need to do if you have a hard-case tube of caulking, but no caulking gun. This can get a bit messy, but it does work.

Step 1: Put the Caulking in a Plastic Bag

The first thing that you need to do here is to empty that caulking tube out into a plastic bag.

Now, in terms of the best type of bag to use, any kind of large Ziploc bag will work. The main point here is that the bag needs to have square corners. Fill the plastic bag with the caulking, making sure to not fill it more than three-quarters of the way, because you need to twist the top of the bag to prevent caulking from coming out the top.

Step 2: Cut a Hole

Just like for the sausage tube above, use sharp scissors to cut a hole in the bag. You want to cut off just a small part of the corner, enough to dispense a small caulk bead, but not so large that you end up dispensing too much at once and making a mess.

Step 3: Apply the Caulk

All you have to do now is to line up the opening with the gap being caulked. Hold the bag with your left hand, making sure to stabilize the tip. You can squeeze the caulking out of the bag two different ways. You can either just apply pressure with your other hand, or you can continue twisting the top of the bag shut. Every time you twist the bag, caulking will come out.

Method 3: Use Some Sort of Plunger

Quite honestly, this is not a commonly used method as it is quite cumbersome, but it is technically possible nonetheless.

Step 1: Cut the Tip

Use sharp scissors or a utility knife to cut off the tip of the caulking tube at a 45-degree angle.

Step 2: Find the Right Tool

To squeeze out the caulking without a gun, you will need some sort of tool or device that features a flat and round head with a long handle, something that you can use as a plunger to push the caulking out of the tube.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips, & Tricks

Let’s go over some of the most important tips for you to follow when applying caulking without a gun, for the best results:

  • Never apply new caulk over old caulk. When the old caulk comes loose, the new stuff will too.
  • Always use a scraper to remove any old caulk. Then, use a water/bleach mixture to thoroughly clean the area. Never caulk over debris.
  • Make sure that the area is 100% dry before applying caulk.
  • If using the bag method, make sure that the bag is in good condition. You don’t want the bag to explode when you squeeze it, because you will make quite the mess.
  • If you are using silicone caulk, wear silicone gloves to prevent it from adhering to your hands.


There you have it, three different ways of using a caulk with a caulking gun.

In all reality, if you are only going to be applying caulk once, buying a caulking gun probably is not worth the cost. However, if you plan to do a big job, or work with caulk regularly, we do recommend spending a few bucks on a basic gun or even getting a power caulking gun, as it will make your life easier.