How to Remove Plumbers Putty: 5 Effective Plumbers Putty Removal Tips

Plumbers just welcome putty when repairing or sealing faucet assembly to sink or any water leakage. Also, some of them use it to the faucet base though it’s not necessary to apply putty there.

But the DIYers or even some plumbers tend to avoid the plumber’s putty when it comes to disassembling a sink drain. When the plumber’s putty dried out, it required a lot of elbow grease to remove it.

The reality is- eliminating the putty will be a piece of cake if you know how to remove plumbers putty. And in this guide, we will break down that, providing 5 effective tips. So, stay in tune with us.

How to Remove Plumbers Putty

What Makes Plumbers Putty?

As a plumber or DIYer, you know how helpful the plumber’s putty is. With it, you can seal a drain, faucet, or other plastic materials. You can even use it on porcelain, cast irons, and plastic sinks. But do you know what makes up a plumber’s putty? Though a professional plumber knows it, most of the masses or DIYers don’t know it.

Traditional plumber’s putty is made of linseed oil & clay with a small portion of fish oil. Some plumber’s putty in the market also uses limestone. Some brands claim they include a large portion of limestone to make putty. But most putty available in the market also uses linseed oil, which they hide from us.

We recommend you not use the plumber’s putty for sealing granite or marble sinks as it can stain those porous surfaces. In this case, it would be best to apply silicone sealant.

5 Effective Ways to Remove Plumber’s Putty

Most plumbers use putty as it stays soft & flexible for a long time and creates a watertight seal. The problem is- when it dries out, it will be a bit challenging to remove. But it is not true. Instead, the part you sealed with the plumber’s putty remains soft & easy to eliminate when you need to replace it. If you find it hard to remove the putty, follow the below tips to make the process easy. 

01. Use A Utility Blade or Knife

You can easily scrape away the putty using a blade or knife. Just hold the knife firmly and start scrapping the area with the utility blade. Ensure you wear a safety glove so that the knife doesn’t bring any damage to you. 

02. Remove with your fingers

We know plumber’s putty creates a watertight seal, but it’s not as strong as caulk adhesive. Pressing on the joint, you can break the old putty with ease. Then, use your fingers to suck away the remaining putty from the spot. 

03. Wash with soapy water

Yeah, you can pick away most of the putty leftover by scraping with a knife. But there may remain some filth of linseed oil that you can’t remove with a utility blade. Regarding this, rinse the spot with soapy water to wash off the residue. 

04. Utilize paint thinner or mineral spirit

Still, if you hassle to pick off the putty residue, you can use mineral spirits or paint thinner. First off, take a washing cloth and wet it with mineral spirits and start scrubbing the area vigorously. Alternatively, you can apply paint thinner to the affected area and let it sit for 15-20 seconds. Then, wipe it away using a rough cloth. 

05. Use A Heat Gun

Finally, we recommend you use the heat gun if any methods we mentioned above fail to remove the plumber’s putty. A heat gun can produce 1000-degree Fahrenheit to melt the putty or paint from the surface. Before using it, make sure you wear heat-protective gloves.

How to Remove Plumbers Putty Stain from Sink?

You already learned the Plumber’s Putty is specially formulated to seal stainless steel applications like a faucet, sink, or frame. Though putty creates watertight sealant, it starts degrading over time. So, you need to remove the old plumber’s putty to repair the plumbing issues. 

The best way to remove a plumber’s putty stain from stainless steel is to apply mineral spirits or thinner paint. Wet a cloth with mineral spirits and rub the stainless steel faucet with the cloth vigorously. It will help to pick off the plumber’s putty from the spot. 


How do you soften a plumber’s putty?

You can easily soften the plumber’s putty using water hand lotion. First off, remove the putty from its container and lay it down on a flat surface like a table. Then, pour one or two spoons (20-30ml) of water into the putty. Secondly, use your well-gloved fingers to mold knead the putty until it gets pliable. Thirdly, mix some hand lotion into the plumber’s putty and remold it. Still, if the putty stays hard, soak it with lukewarm water for 24 hours.

Is plumbers putty easy to remove?

We agree with you that the plumber’s putty creates a stubborn watertight seal. But it’s not a caulk adhesive. It means you can remove the putty from a fixture or faucet with ease. Just apply some pressure on the joint sealed with putty, and it will break down. Alternatively, you can use a utility blade or knife to scrape off the putty sealant from a stainless steel sink or pipe.

How do you remove the plumber’s epoxy putty?

The plumber’s epoxy putty gets hardened and adhered to by a chemical reaction. So, it will be challenging for you to dissolve it with any material. In this case, you can only remove epoxy putty by cutting and grinding it with a saw or Dremel tool.

What can I substitute for plumbers putty?

You can’t use the plumber’s putty on porous surfaces like granite or marble as it contains linseed oil. Guess what, the linseed oil can stain the granite. So, it would be best to find an alternative to the plumber’s putty. In this case, silicone will be the substitute you can use instead of the plumber’s putty.

Which is better: Teflon tape or plumbers putty?

Teflon tape provides a better seal compared to the plumber’s putty as it can withstand significant pressure.


Removing the plumber’s putty is effortless. As it’s not an adhesive, you can pick it off from a surface by putting some pressure on the sealant joint. 

If you fail to remove it by pressure, a utility blade or knife does the trick for you to scrape off the putty. You can use mineral spirits or thinner paint to suck away putty residue. 

We hope the tricks we mentioned above will help you to remove the plumber’s putty. Happy Plumbing!

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