What is Plumbers Putty – Usages, Benefits, Problems

If you ask me about the most crucial element of plumbing, it will be the plumbers putty.

The effectiveness, ease to use, and fast-drying abilities make such an important element of plumbing projects. The market has lots of alternatives to this putty, but none of them are successful in replacing it.

If you are new in the plumbing industry, you may ask 

What is plumbers putty?

That is because everyone in the industry already knows about it. It becomes a part and parcel of the plumbing tasks. No matter if you want to seal a faucet or want to solve a leakage problem, plumbers putty is a must.

What is Plumbers Putty

Due to such popularity, a lot of myths have grown about it. Some people call it forever liquid where some people think it is super adhesive. You will even find some people who think the putty is toxic. 

Are those true? 

Let’s see.

What is Plumbers Putty?

The plumbers putty is a pliable and soft sealing compound. It is much thicker than glue or adhesive and thinner than a solid compound. Plumbers use it to make watertight seals in plumbing areas, faucets and drains. The main purpose of it is to ensure a watertight seal. Plumbers use it for many reasons including

100% watertight seal

The main reason why plumbers use plumber putty is its watertight sealability. Most of the plumbing tasks require water exposure. Using any random sealant may not withstand the water exposure. Water pressure is another main problem with sealants. 

Not many sealants can handle water pressure, though they might be effective in common water exposure. When plumbers use plumber putty, it ensures a solid seal against water pressure. It is 100% waterproof. 


Another reason to use plumber putty is its quick-drying ability. Other putties or sealants may take a day to dry after applying. As a plumber, you do not have that much time to invest after every seal. It will then take a day to complete a simple project.

In contrast, the plumber putty dries quicker than you think. You do not have to wait a day after applying. If you are working with the faucet, you have no other option but to use the plumber putty since it will dry quickly. Make sure you check the putty before letting it get exposed to water.

Easy application

The putty is easy to apply. Since it is like soft clay, you can use your hand and apply it where necessary. The softness is perfect as we mentioned above. It is neither so hard nor so soft. It will stay in shape when applied yet will not take any effort to bring in the shape. You can even soften or harden it using chemicals. But that will not be necessary at all.

Easy to remove

One of the biggest advantages of plumber putty is it stays soft permanently. That means once you apply it, you will find it flexible after 10 years. You may wonder why this is important. Well, after a certain period, you have to remove or uninstall the plumber parts.

It can be because of repairing, removing, or re-installing purposes. No matter what, you have to remove it. It is a hassle and tiresome work to remove a hard sealant. But when it comes to plumber putty, it stays flexible which makes it easy to remove.


Finally, inexpensiveness plays a vital role in the popularity of plumber putty. Compared to chalk and silicone, the plumber putty is inexpensive. You can get a bucket of plumber putty for around 5-10 dollars. In contrast, a tube of chalk may cost you almost that range.

Frequently asked questions

Do you have any questions? Then go through the questions below.

What is plumbers putty made of?

Plumber putty is not an adhesive or silicone. So you cannot expect the same materials like silicone or any adhesive. It is a combination of very basic elements. The plumber putty is made of powdered clay and linseed oil. These are the primary components of putty. However, fish oil, limestone, epoxy sealants, and others might be added depending on the types and companies.

Does plumbers putty harden?

Well, the plumber putty is made of clay; of course, there are some other materials too. Every clay in the world hardens over time. The plumber putty is not different. But due to the use of chemicals, it takes time to harden. Even after getting hard, the plumber putty stays flexible when it comes to removing compared to any adhesive.

What is plumbers putty used for?

There are many uses for plumbers putty. However, most people use it for sealing purposes. It can effectively seal around faucets and drains. That is the reason you will find this putty in every plumber’s bag. Along with that, some people use it for the undersides of their sink strainers. It is also used in pop-up drain fittings for different tubs or sinks. That means the use is versatile.

Is plumbers putty toxic?

The main ingredient of this putty is clay. You can easily assume that the clay is not toxic. However, the other chemicals mixed in the clay may make it toxic. Linseed oil, fish oil, limestone, and epoxy sealants are also used in the putty. Some companies even use unknown chemicals to make the putty even better. Those chemicals might be toxic, who knows. The best thing you can do is to check the ingredients and find out whether the ingredients are toxic or not.

Can you make your own plumbers putty?

Yes, it is quite possible to make your own plumber putty. All you need is modeling clay and linseed oil. Take wax paper and 16 ounces of white modeling clay. Place the clay on the paper and bring a bowl shape. The shape should hold 1/4 cup of liquid in its center. Now, wait for a few hours so that the clay can soak the oil. After that, mix the oil and clay. Try hard and ensure the best mixture. Then use 2 tablespoons of oil and spread it throughout the clay. Then mix again and your clay is ready to use.

Does plumbers putty go bad?

Everything in the world goes bad. If you do not use the putty and keep it for more than 24 months, chances are high that it will go bad. Also, after using, if you keep the lid open and let the air mix with the putty, it may go bad as well.


Every plumber should know about plumber putty and its uses. If you ask “What is plumbers putty?”, chances are high that you are a rookie plumber. People have been using it for a long time. Now you will find lots of alternatives but none of them can replace putty.

Many plumbers are trying to use silicone and chalk. However, the time chalk and silicone take to dry after applying makes it not a suitable option. The only thing you can rely on is plumber putty. You can use it for versatile purposes with lots of benefits. Rarely do any other options give you so many benefits.

2 thoughts on “What is Plumbers Putty – Usages, Benefits, Problems”

  1. Hi,
    Had a stainless steel sink installed about a month ago. I noticed something soft recessed around part of the sink drain but not all the way around the drain. I figured some type of putty/sealant. Is there a probability of future problems due to the putty/sealant not being all the way around? If so, is there any easy way I could remedy that? Thank you.
    Ms.70 year old Worrier
    Very informative article

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