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How Long Does Plumber’s Putty Take to Dry?

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Plumber’s putty is a great way to seal pipes, but it can be hard to know how long you need to wait before using the sink.

The problem with plumber’s putty is that no one seems to agree how long you should wait after applying it to use the sink again.

Some say use it right after applying it, some say 5 minutes, some say 10 minutes, and others 20 minutes or even more.

It can be confusing for beginners when it’s difficult to find the right answer. But, not anymore.

If you’re looking for a good-quality plumber’s putty for your next project, here are the best kinds of plumbers putty.

apply snake plumbers putty

How Long Does Plumber’s Putty Take To Dry?

There is no drying time for plumber’s putty after you use it. Once you’ve applied it, you should wait for 5-10 minutes so that the putty can set in place and fill in the surface you’re intending to seal. If you properly install your fixture and use the right amount of putty, no wait time is required.

Anyone telling you that you need to wait 24 hours or even an hour is wrong. If plumber’s putty had to dry out then that means it would absorb water. That would defeat the whole purpose.

Technically speaking, plumber’s putty doesn’t “dry” as it will remain soft months after applying, but it will “dry out“.

It’s meant to repel water and not absorb it.

Putty is also not adhesive so if you use to between two surfaces you don’t have to wait for them to fully “stick” either.

I highly recommend reading our full guide on how to use plumbers putty. There are some rookie mistakes that people make that you will want to avoid. Putty is a great “tool” but it is only meant to be used for specific circumstances.

NOTE: If you live in a colder climate, then you should wait 10 minutes after you apply and make sure that your plumbing fixture is tightly screwed or pressed in. The cold weather can cause the putty to slightly contract and create gaps.

press plumbers putty

Why is Plumber’s Putty Moist After Hours of Applying It?

Another common question we get asked all the time is why does plumber’s putty feel moist even after hours of applying it?

To get to the point, plumber’s putty is a type of clay that contains moisture. There are some brands out there that are made with water-soluble ingredients making them dry faster than regular ones.

Many brands will also use oils in their putty to help the putty stay moist and repel water.

Some people say that the more plumber’s putty you use, the longer it will take to set.

Honestly, these people just haven’t used putty the right way.

If you use putty the right way, then there’s no way to “overdo” it because you’re wiping away any excess. If you have no excess to wipe away, then you didn’t use enough.

wiping away excess plumbers putty with a putty knife under the sink drain

How Long Does Plumber’s Putty Last?

Plumber’s putty in a container can last for 2+ years if stored properly. Putty can dry out when it has prolonged exposure to air. As long as you store it in an airtight container, it can last for a long time.

Make sure to store this container in a cool, dry place.

Some people take their putty out of the container it comes in. They store it in a ziploc bag so that they can fully squeeze out all the air. You can put the baggie of putty back in the container so that you can easily find it in your tool box or garage.

saving plumbers putty in a ziploc baggie

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use too much plumber’s putty?

You really can’t use too much plumber’s putty. As you tighten your plumbing components together, any extra putty will squeeze out. This is a good thing because it means you’ve adequately sealed the fixture. If you don’t have extra, then you didn’t you enough.

Will plumber’s putty stop a leak?

It depends on the severity of the leak. If it is a small leak, plumber’s putty may stop it. Essentially, it seals the part without a significant amount of leakage. In most cases, plumber’s putty can help stop minor leaks from dripping through. However, for larger leaks, other methods such as sealants or gaskets might be necessary.

Read more: Can plumber’s putty stop a leak?

How soon can you use the sink after applying plumber’s putty?

After the plumber’s putty has been applied, you can start using the sink drain or faucet right away. There is no drying period necessary.

However, if you are not in a hurry, it’d be better to wait an hour so the putty can form a tight seal and not break down due to water pressure.

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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.

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