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How to apply silicone

Learn how to apply silicone sealant to create a clean, tidy and waterproof seal in your bathroom, kitchen or other areas of your home.

Applying silicone sealant effectively is a great skill to learn that will help you with a range of different home improvements and DIY projects. Whether you’re sealing a shower, a splashback, around a vanity or a benchtop, follow these general steps for applying silicone for a clean, professional finish.


What you need:

  • Silicone
  • Small disposable container
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Soft cloth


Step 1: Clean the surface

The surface where you plan to apply the silicone sealant should be clean, dry, and free of any dirt, dust, or grease. Use a clean cloth and some rubbing alcohol to clean the surface if necessary.


Step 2: Prep Your Soapy Water

Before applying new silicone, make a solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid in a small container. This solution must be discarded after you use it, so don’t use any containers you intend to retain – a small clean takeaway food container is a good choice. Ensure that the water and dishwashing liquid mixture is extremely slippery.


Step 3: Open the Silicone

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


Step 4: Apply the Silicone

Squeeze the silicone tube gently to apply a smooth and even bead of silicone along the joint or seam you want to seal. Use steady pressure and move the nozzle in a smooth and continuous motion. Hold the silicone tube at an angle and drag it away from you rather than ‘pushing’ the silicone along the joint.


Step 5: Smoothing the Surface

It can be tricky to get a perfectly smooth finish when sealing with silicone, but a mixture of water and dishwashing liquid makes the smoothing process much more straightforward.

Simply dip your finger in the slippery liquid and drag your finger along the silicone line with as little pressure as possible. If you encounter resistance or silicone build-up, simply pop your finger back in the water and detergent to remove the grime and make it slippery again.


Step 6: Wipe Any Excess

Wipe away any excess silicone with a clean cloth.


Step 7: Allow the Silicone to Cure

The curing time for silicone sealant can vary depending on the brand and type. Check the instructions on the package for specific curing times. Avoid touching or disturbing the silicone while it is curing.


Step 8: Clean Up

Always clean any tools or surfaces that have come in contact with the silicone with a damp cloth before the silicone dries, because once the silicone is cured, it can be difficult to remove.


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