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Plumbers Putty vs. Silicone Putty on Plastic Drains

Mar 03, 2022

When you become a homeowner, you’ll quickly discover there is a lot to learn to keep your home in tip-top shape.  A home is a large project, so it’s best to take it a little bit at a time. One of those small lessons is understanding the difference between plumbers putty vs silicone putty. It is one of those things you can wait to learn until you need one or the other to repair your home’s plumbing. Figuring out if you need plumbers putty or silicone for sink drain is a quick internet search away.


If you’re wondering, “Can I use silicone instead of plumbers putty on my sink drain?” or if you’re questioning can you use plumbers putty on plastic drains, you’ve come to the right place.

What is Plumbers Putty?

Plumbers putty is often used to create a seal around various faucets and drains. Plumbers putty is typically very pliable and almost clay-like. It’s easy to manipulate into the desired area for quick fixes. Keep in mind that plumbers putty doesn’t “dry,” but it will dry out over the course of a decade or more. When working with plumbers putty, you can use the drain or plumbing fixture immediately after application.

What is Silicone Putty?

While it’s important to determine the difference between plumbers putty vs caulk silicone, most homeowners will benefit by keeping both in their home in case of emergency. Silicone caulk is often used as a sealant, preventing water or air passage and thereby reducing leaks. Silicone putty isn’t quite as flexible as plumbers putty, but it dries well and creates a watertight seal.

Plumbers Putty Vs. Silicone Putty: Dos and Don’ts

Both plumbers putty vs caulk silicone are sealing compounds. They’re both designed to create a watertight fit for drains, fittings, showers, sinks strainers, and more. While plumbers putty is more traditional, silicone caulk is a great modern alternative. Either is acceptable for fixing a drain. 


The main difference between plumbers putty or silicone for sink drain is how easy the substances are to manipulate or remove. Plumbers putty is very easy to manipulate into tight areas, and it’s also easier to remove. That makes silicone putty better for waterproofing, even if it’s more difficult to work with.


As mentioned, plumbers putty doesn’t dry in the way you might expect so don’t play around with it or attempt to force it to dry. When plumbers putty dries out, it likely needs to be replaced. Silicone putty, however, should be dry before you attempt to use the drain where it’s been applied or you risk undoing your work and causing leaks.

Trust the Experts

If you’re still unsure how can you use plumbers putty on plastic drains, or if you aren’t confident in your ability to repair a drain on your own, then reach out to CroppMetcalfe to handle the job. Our team of experienced plumbers can repair any of your plumbing problems. Contact us to schedule a service visit.


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