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Can You Soften Plumber’s Putty? Yes, but you shouldn’t…

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Have you ever grabbed a hardened plumber’s putty jar that you bought months ago?

Nothing’s worse than the putty being dry when you’re in the middle of a project.

I’ve been there before and we’ve come up with a few hacks to help. I’ll break down 4 easy methods for how to soften plumber’s putty.

The reality is that you CAN soften plumber’s putty, but if your plumber’s putty has hardened, you’re better off buying new putty.

can you soften plumbers putty

3 Ways to Soften Plumber’s Putty

You probably know what plumber’s putty is, but it’s a mix of ingredients that are moist and pliable! If the plumber’s putty gets dry, it’s hard to use!

The experts think if the putty is quite old, it might not be worth giving a shot.

But before you toss it out, try these ways to soften plumber’s putty.

Once it’s soft again, you can use your plumber’s putty to stop a leak!

1. Use Water and Hand Lotion

First, take the putty out of the tub and put it in a ziploc bag.

Squeeze out a little bit of hand lotion into putty and add some hot water to it. Do your best to massage the lotion into the putty to dry to make sure it’s thoroughly mixed in.

Let it sit for 8-10 hours and see if the putty has softened!

2. Use Linseed Oil

Linseed oil is an essential ingredient of the plumber’s putty. Adding linseed is one of the best ways to soften plumber’s putty!

Add a small coating of linseed oil into your putty tub and gently press it down into the putty using a spoon. Give it a day or so to soak in and then try using your plumber’s putty!

3. Use Spray Oil

Using a cooking spray oil is a common method to soften plumber’s putty and it works like a charm. The best thing about using spray oil is that it’s the quickest way of reviving the old putty.

All you need is to remove the plumber’s putty from the jar and put it on a flat surface like a tray. Spray it with any non-stick cooking oil to soften it. You may have to knead a little bit before and after the spray. Moreover, keep spraying and kneading until it softens to a certain point or you get the texture you need.

Spray oil and plumbers putty container with plumbers putty next to it
oil spraying onto plumbers putty to soften it

Worst case: Just Buy New Plumber’s Putty

If the plumber’s putty is too old and dried out, it may not be worth resurrecting. You’ll be better off buying a fresh jar. What’s the point of going through all this trouble if the quality of the product isn’t good enough? So go to a nearby hardware store to buy a new one or order it online.

Check out our list of the best plumber’s putty for your bathroom or kitchen.

Frequently Asked Questions About Making Plumber’s Putty Soft

Will WD-40 soften plumber’s putty?

You can use WD-40 to soften plumber’s putty, but it might not work as well as you’d like. Put the hard putty in a ziploc bag and spray it with WD-40. Let it sit overnight and try to massage the WD-40 into the putty.

How do you keep plumber’s putty from drying out?

The best way to keep the plumbers putty from drying out is to keep the plumber’s putty tub closed immediately after using it. I also recommend storing it in an airtight ziploc bag so that no oxygen ever has time to make it dry out.

Final Verdict: Can You Soften Plumber’s Putty? Should you Soften it?

The plumber’s putty is made of clay and linseed oil. Therefore, the linseed oil or any non-stick cooking oil along with water could be vital to putty softening.

Since you know how to soften the plumber’s putty, maybe you would resurrect the old, dried putty that you bought a while ago and save yourself a few bucks.

Even though you might be able to soften plumber’s putty, you’re better off buying a new tub of it if it’s dried out. We don’t recommend softening it even though you might be able to.

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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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