GBA Logo horizontal Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Picture icon Hamburger Icon Close Icon Sorted

Community and Q&A

Bath and kitchen caulk for the chemically sensitive

Scotty81 | Posted in Green Products and Materials on


I need to recaulk my bathroom with white caulk and also my kitchen with clear caulk.  The bath is definitely a wet application.  The kitchen area won’t get too wet, but I’d consider it a wet application too, just to be on the safe side.

I’ll plan to have my chemically sensitive family member out of the house when I caulk, but does anyone have any product recommendations so that any smell will be gone in 24 hours?

Many thanks in advance.


GBA Prime

Join the leading community of building science experts

Become a GBA Prime member and get instant access to the latest developments in green building, research, and reports from the field.


  1. Expert Member
    Zephyr7 | | #1

    Just about anything will offgas a little as it cures. Probably the best advice is to provide lots of ventilation for 24-48 hours after application to clear out any fumes. Open some windows and put a fan in the window nearest the area you’re workin in with the fan blowing out. You’re trying to exhaust any fumes to outdoors and bring in fresh makeup air through other windows elsewhere in the house.

    I’d go with a good silicone, which pretty much offgasses acetone as it cures. Silicone will be durable though, so you wont have to recaulk for a long time. This gives you a longer period of time before you’ll have to do any work that will require your chemically sensitive family member out of the house again.


  2. Expert Member
    Akos | | #2

    GE silicones use acetic acid (white vinegar) as the curing agent. Probably your best bet.

  3. Trevor Lambert | | #3

    It would help if you indicated which chemicals they are sensitive to. Literally everything is a chemical, so saying someone is chemically sensitive really doesn't say anything.

  4. Scotty81 | | #4

    Hi Trevor,

    I should been more specific. It's not that my family member is chemically sensitive to the chemicals in traditional caulk, although that might be true. It's just that they find the odors particular offensive. So, I'm trying to reduce the odors released from the caulks that I apply.

    I do see that there is a "hospital grade" caulk, but that type of thing would be close to $200 per tube, and therefore way out of my budget. So, I'm looking for low odor ones. Having it be non or less toxic would be a bonus too, for all involved.


    1. Expert Member
      Zephyr7 | | #5

      I wouldn’t count on “hospital grade” caulk being less noxious. It might even be worse. I’ve worked contracts in hospitals before. “Hospital grade” usually means the materials used to make whatever is “hospital grade” resistant to the nasty disinfectants the hospitals use to clean things. They use pretty nasty biocide cleaners to help keep disease from spreading In their facilities. “Hospital grade” electrical outlets, for example, are no different from “spec grade” (regular commercial grade) except for using plastics (usually nylon) that won’t degrade when exposed to the nasty cleaners the hospitals use. I’d expect any “hospital grade” rated caulks to be similarly resistant to those cleaners.

      Basically don’t expect any “hospital grade” rated building materials to be less noxious/toxic/smelly/etc — they’re probably just rated for exposure to harsh cleaning compounds that the hospitals use to clean their facilities.


Log in or create an account to post an answer.


Recent Questions and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |