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Plumber’s Putty vs Plumber’s Dope: Which to Use and When to Use Each

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How long have you been trying to figure out the difference in the plumber’s putty vs the plumber’s dope?

It’s crucial to understand the difference so that you’d know which one of these sealants is right for the job. Otherwise, it won’t be possible for you to choose the right one when needed.

Plus, you might not want to apply the wrong one when there is a leak and you’re trying to fix it all by yourself.

If you haven’t had a chance to learn the difference, look no further. I’ll walk you through the whole thing and by the end of this article, you will know how to use and where to use these sealants.

Just remember that both these compounds are waterproofing sealants. However, they’re slightly different when it comes to application.

Without any further ado, let’s get right into the details.

If you need other options, check out our list of the best plumber’s putty alternatives.

What is Plumber’s Putty?

Plumber’s putty is a clay-like substance that is used for waterproofing sinks, toilets, and faucets. It’s a popular sealant in plumbing as it’s easy to apply and comes off without making a mess.

Putty comes in handy when you need to make a watertight seal in the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry area. In other words, it’s used to prevent or rectify the leaks in faucets and sinks.

If you haven’t had a chance to use plumber’s putty before, then keep in mind it has the consistency of mashed potatoes. It’s made with clay and linseed oil. However, some putty brands do use other ingredients such as fish oil, talc, or limestone.

You can grab a jar of plumber’s putty from a local hardware store and start the repair. Additionally, you could order your preferred plumber’s putty jar online. However, read the product description before placing the order through an online store.

Read more: Plumber’s putty 101

What is Plumber’s Dope?

The plumber’s dope is also known as pipe dope. It’s also a well-known watertight sealant and is specifically applied where threaded pipes are used. The plumber’s dope does help and is usually preferred where threaded pipes need to be joined together.

As far as the consistency goes, it seems like thin mashed potatoes, but it doesn’t harden. It stays soft and thick. Therefore, it fills the gaps when it’s applied to the threaded pipes for making sure that there is no leak.

There are two types of plumber’s dope available on the market. These formulas include one for plumbing fixtures and the other for gas fixtures. We highly recommend looking through the details on the jars so that you get your hands on the right one.

Plumber’s Putty vs. Plumber’s Dope: Key Differences

It’s crucial to understand the difference between both sealants so that they could be used properly. Let’s put some light on the details that differentiate these sealing compounds.

What are they made of

The most common ingredients of plumber’s putty are clay and linseed oil. If you ever come across the plumber’s putty from other brands that use ingredients such as fish oil, talc, or limestone, then don’t be surprised.

The plumber’s dope is also a waterproofing sealant that is used for pipes with threaded joints. It’s made with vegetable oil, rosin, kaolin clay, and ethanol.

Where to use them

The plumber’s putty is extremely helpful in waterproofing sinks, toilets, and faucets. However, it’s applied internally and doesn’t effectively work if the application is exposed or used underwater. 

As far as the plumber’s dope is concerned, it’s mostly used on the threaded pipes to help create and strengthen a seal. The experts believe that the plumber’s dope works as both a sealant and a lubricant for threaded joints.

How to apply

To apply a plumber’s putty, you first need to clean the surface where it’s going to be applied. Then, grab a small amount of putty from the jar and roll it between your palms to soften it.

It should become like a thin rope. To apply that thin rope of plumber’s putty, make a ring similar to the size of the drain pipe and press the putty against the pipe.

On the other hand, the plumber’s dope comes with an applicator that is used to apply it on threaded pipes. To apply the pipe dope, coat the threaded joint evenly across the fittings and screw both pipes together. The excess pipe dope would squeeze out which you can wipe away.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is pipe dope the same as plumber’s putty?

They are both are waterproofing sealants, but they are not the same. Not only do they’re made with different ingredients, but they also work differently.

The plumber’s putty is a soft and pliable substance that is used for making a watertight seal in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry areas. However, a major distinction is that it doesn’t work under pressure.

On the other hand, the pipe dope is applied to the threaded pipe joints and it can also handle the pressure. Furthermore, it comes in handy in filling the gaps in the drain and sink pipes.

Can plumber’s putty be used in place of plumber’s tape?

You may need both of these products whether you’re on a plumbing job at a construction site or you’re doing a random plumbing fix at home. However, you cannot substitute plumber’s putty for a plumber’s tape and vice versa.

The plumber’s putty works as a waterproofing filler, but it cannot handle any pressure. While the plumber’s tape (or Teflon tape) is a thin film that works as a sealant in threaded pipe joints and provides strength to the joints.


Plumber’s putty and plumber’s dope are rather important plumbing products. And we’ve tried to explain that:

  • What they’re made of
  • How they’re used
  • When you should use
  • Where to use them
  • How to apply them

Have you ever had questions about the difference between the plumber’s putty and plumber’s dope?

We’re pretty sure we’ve done a good job explaining the difference between both these plumbing sealants.

If you still have questions in mind, don’t keep them to yourself. Feel free to type in your questions in the comments section and we’ll try to answer them.

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