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Does Plumber Putty Harden? Important Fact About Plumber’s Putty 


Does Plumber Putty Harden

The plumber putty is simply a pliable and soft compound for sealing purposes. Plumbers use plumber putty for plumbing, drainage, sanitary, etc. 

The plumber putty is among the most important components in the plumber’s tool kit. Meaning, it’s their go-to solution for almost all their plumbing projects. 

However, you have to know how to use plumber putting before purchasing. As mentioned, plumber putty is mostly used in sinks; it seals them, preventing water leaks. 

Plumber putty is a solution to many problems, and for whatever reasons, you may want to know whether plumber putty hardens. In this post, you will answer the commonly asked question. 

Does Plumber Putty Harden 

The plumbers putty harden or dry after a very long period. It can take up to 10 to 15 years for the plumber putty to dry

You should note that using the plumber’s putty is possible to use the drain fixture after installation immediately. 

The plumber’s putty should be easy to roll and very pliable. If the putty is quite hard to roll or cracks each time you try to give it shape, then it’s dried out and old. You will have to purchase another putty tub. 

Ensure to keep the tub of putty sealed; this will help the putty last for a longer period before it gets hard. The putty eventually dries out in the tab, but this happens after years. 

Always read the plumber’s putty label before applying it on porous surfaces. The plumber’s putty is a petroleum-based product and can therefore stain certain materials like granite. 

You will know the right surfaces to apply the putty on from the label. However, there are strain-free plumber’s putty types that you can use on porous materials and stone. 

What Is Plumber Putty Made Of 

The plumber putty comes in different blends, and each is made with a unique formula and ingredients. The popular plumber’s putty ingredients are licensed oil and powdered clay. 

Other plumber putties use fish oil blends, talc, and limestone. Overall, the different brands have different variations. 

Usually, the ingredients used to make plumber’s putty are not toxic, but they might become toxic if certain ingredients are added. 

Each time you buy the plumber’s putty, you should always read the label to know if it includes any toxic ingredients. 

For example, crystalline silica is harmful; you must avoid any plumber’s putty with this component. 

Always keep the plumber’s putty from children’s reach; it looks like clay, and thus small kids can surely mistake it for clay. Ensure the small kids do not contact the plumber’s putty. 

The Perfect Use Of Plumber’s Putty

The plumbers mainly apply the plumber’s putty on sinks, pop-up drains, and faucets. The other name for this component is “sink drain putty.” 

The plumber’s putty has been specifically designed to fix the specific plumbing issues. You can use it to stop small leaks, but it won’t be efficient in all situations, like sealing pipes with pressurized water

Plumbers also apply it before installing a faucet or sink since it saves effort and time. Plus, it protects the drain’s upper part because of its waterproofing qualities. The plumber’s putty is applied by simply rolling it to a narrow and snake-like shape. 

After applying the plumber’s putty, gently press it. Extra putty will squeeze out, and you can remove it using a damp cloth. To apply the plumbers putty, follow the procedure you used before installation. 

However, when you apply the plumber’s putty for the first time, pretty much of it will go to waste. However, you can put it back into the tub for later use. 

Things To Consider Before Using The Plumber’s Putty 

You should consider two main factors before applying the plumber’s putty to your sink, faucet, etc.

1. Clean surface 

Before applying the plumber’s putty, you need to clean the surface and remove any undesirable particulates thoroughly. It’s because they can cause holes in the putty after some time. 

The best way to clean is by wiping the surface with a wet rag, then cleaning with a dry piece of cloth after applying the plumber’s putty. The cleaning process is essential, and you should never ignore it since it might bring issues later. 

2. Using Heat

As mentioned, the plumber’s putty is clay-like and quite soft. Therefore heat is quite important in its application. Before you apply the putty, you should ensure your hands are warm. 

You can warm your hands by simply rubbing them together for some time before applying the putty. 

What Makes The Plumber’s Putty Different From Other Sealants? 

The plumber’s putty is one of the most critical tools in the plumber’s arsenal. The tool is popular across the plumbing industry to perfectly seal leakages. 

However, the silicone caulk is popular today and performs the same functions as the plumber’s putty. The great thing about the putty is it’s easy to remove because it’s not adhesive. 

The tool also remains soft, and this makes it easy to remove. Even if it’s hardened, you can chip it away without a struggle. The silicone caulk is more effective; however, it’s a more permanent fixture. 

Therefore once applied, it is quite difficult to remove. The silicone caulk is also not dense like the putty. Being less dense makes it ineffective when it comes to filling significant gaps. 

You can use the silicone caulk on your sink or faucet, but removing it will be quite troubling. Therefore do not use the silicone caulk before knowing its consequences.

What Makes The Plumber’s Putty Bad For Pipes? 

The plumber’s putty is quite versatile; however, it is limited. Using putty on a plastic pipe is not a great idea. The putty is a petroleum-based product, and therefore it can break down the plastics’ chemical structure. 

The plastic material will certainly lose its durability after some time. The effect worsens when the plastic parts are under consistent tension and leaking. Therefore the best way of fixing the plastic pipes is by using silicone caulk.

How Soon Can You Use The Sink After Applying Plumber Putty?

People love the plumber putty because it is amazing and easy to use. After applying the plumber putty, you can immediately start using the sink or faucet. 

There is no waiting or drying time because the putty does not dry. It simply does its function of sealing the faucet, tap, and sink, and you can immediately use them after the application. 

Is It Possible To Use Plumber Putty Under Water

You cannot use putty for underwater applications. It’s because a plumber’s putty cannot form a bonding water-tight seal. 

The plumber’s putty has been mainly made for application on sinks, drains, and faucets. Their main function is to prevent water from seeping through.

Plumber’s Putty On Rubber Gasket 

The plumber’s putty is not recommended for sinks or drains with a rubber gasket. Plus, you should not apply putty if the flange is not metallic. 

The best option here is the silicone caulk. Always read the instructions and the directions before using plumbers putty on your drain assembly.

How To Use Plumber’s Putty

The plumber’s putty is a crucial and inexpensive material. Usually, it’s packaged and sold in small plastic tubs. 

To apply the plumber’s putty, you need first to shape it using your hand. Here are some of the steps to follow when applying the plumber’s putty. 

1. Create a putty rope  

Scoop a considerable ball of putty using your finger and roll it with your palms to create a rope. You can make a rope of any length, but its diameter should be slightly larger than the gap you want to fill.

2. Place The Putty Rope 

After creating a rope of your desired diameter and length, you can now place it on the part you want to seal. 

Placing it is quite simple; you can start from any point and work in a continuous loop. However, if you notice the rope is short, it’s best to start over and create a longer rope. 

3. Press It Into Place 

You need to press the rope and avoid deforming it gently, and it will prevent it from being loose when turning the part right side up. If you press the putty so flat in this stage, it will not seal perfectly. 

4. Install The Part

You need to install the part perfectly. The excess plumber’s putty will squeeze from the edges as you slowly tighten the part. It is good since it means you have used enough putty. 

You should continue tightening the parts until it’s perfect and wipe the excess putty with a piece of rag or finger. If the excess putty is still clean, you can put it in the tub for future use.


The plumber’s putty is a very crucial tool in plumbing. The simple tool comes with various great benefits, which is why plumbers love it. However, you need to know how to use it before purchasing. 

The putty is usually soft, and this makes it easy to handle. If the putty is hard or breaking, it means it is old and thus will not perform its functions well. The putty takes quite long to dry, and that’s between ten to fifteen years. 

Jacob Lindsey

Jacob is a home remodeling guru having worked over 15 years in construction in Reno, NV, mainly focused on home renovations. He likes taking ideas from his clients and making them a reality.

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