Home ยป Plumbers Putty

Does Plumber’s Putty Harden? Yes! We’ve Got a Quick Fix

This post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a small commission. Thanks.

Plumber’s putty is vital for making waterproof seals under the sinks, on the base of the faucets, and in the bathroom drains.

Plumber’s putty is a soft clay-like sealing substance that is commonly applied to the faucets and drains to avoid leakages. It helps create a watertight seal to stop the water from seeping through.

The problem is that plumbers putty can harden over time, but we can show you a quick fix.

press plumbers putty

Does Plumber’s Putty Harden?

Yes, plumber’s putty will harden over time if it is exposed to air. That’s why it’s essential to keep it in an airtight container. Even better, store it in a ziploc bag so you can press all the air out.

When putty is applied to a surface, the vast majority isn’t exposed to air. If you’ve applied it properly, you shouldn’t have any issues with it getting hard. If you do notice putty getting cracked and peeling, then it’s time to remove the putty and replace it.

There are ways to soften plumber’s putty if it’s gotten hard, but I’ll tell you our favorite way real quick.

how to remove plumbers putty

Quick Fix: How to Soften Plumber’s Putty in 60 Seconds

You want your plumber’s putty to be pliable enough to form and mold it into the shape you need. If your putty is dried out, it won’t work as well.

Your best bet is honestly to just buy new plumber’s putty. It’s so cheap that you might as well buy it new.

First off, if you have a tub of putty and the top layer is cracked or dry, just scrape it off and use the soft putty below it.

If that isn’t an option, then this is our favorite way to quickly soften plumber’s putty.

Take the amount of putty that you need and roll it out flat on a countertop. You can put it on a cutting board if you want.

Give it a light spray it with any kind of oil (like cooking spray) and massage it in. The goal is to make the putty moist again, but not greasy. Below is an image of plumbers putty that needs to be massaged more to incorporate the oil. Once the shine has dulled to the original plumbers putty texture, then it’s ready to use.

plumbers putty too greasy with oil

Roll all the putty back together in one lump and let it set for half an hour before using it.

Spray oil and plumbers putty container with plumbers putty next to it

Frequently Asked Questions

Does plumbers putty stay soft?

It does remain soft for quite some time. If you need a reversible sealant, plumbers putty is the way to go. Furthermore, it surely takes some time to dry out when applied as a sealant. That being said, the putty would ultimately harden over time.

Does plumbers putty crack?

Even though plumbers putty is a watertight sealant that stops the water from trickling down, it, however, can crack if there is a leakage in the waterproof seal. The possibilities of cracks in the plumber’s putty seal include but are not limited to the low-quality sealant. Always remember that plumber’s putty rarely cracks unless it’s used under the water as it’s not made for underwater use.

Is it better to use plumber’s putty or silicone?

Silicone is a semi-transparent solution or synthetic rubber used for filling up the sealing gaps or cracks, whereas plumbers putty is a soft clay-like sealing compound that is used to cover the base of taps and drains to avoid water from seeping through.

Both plumber’s putty and silicone are essential products for fixing plumbing issues. However, the key difference is that plumber’s putty is soft and flexible which makes it easy to remove and it doesn’t work underwater, whereas silicone doesn’t come off that easily and it hardens for making a watertight seal.

Can you use plumber’s putty to fill nail holes?

It’s not the ideal substance for filling nail holes. You may have learned that plumber’s putty is a clay-like substance used in plumbing. It does remain pliable for quite some time. Therefore, a standard nail filler is likely the best solution for filling those nail holes.

Photo of author

Richmond Howard

Richmond Howard started My Plumbing DIY in 2022 to help people solve all their home plumbing issues. He and his wife have been problem solving DIY issues all around their fixer-upper house they bought in 2018. His goal is to build My Plumbing DIY into the one stop shop for home plumbing needs so that people can save money and time.

Leave a Comment