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How to Remove Plumber’s Putty

Are your renovations finally finished? 

After weeks of construction and all the changes to your routines to allow for the work to be completed, everything is now ready. 

But then you spot it. 

Some plumber’s putty on the trims and other areas of the room that don’t exactly reflect the décor you’re going for.

You could leave it and hope that no one notices or run down the plumbers before they finish loading their gear back in their truck. But thankfully, this is not a big job, and it’s something that you can do yourself without damaging any of the renovations.

So roll up your sleeves, grab your toolbox, and get the wife’s hairdryer. Then follow these steps to get rid of the plumber’s putty and put the finishing touches on the renovation.

What’s in Plumber’s Putty?

Before you start removing plumber’s putty, you should know what the material is made of so that you don’t use the wrong tools and make more of a mess. 

Despite there being several different brands of plumber’s putty, they all contain the same core ingredients of clay, linseed oil, fish oil, and limestone.

The blend of these ingredients may differ by product, and it’s only suitable to use on certain materials. For example, it shouldn’t get applied to granite or marble surfaces as the linseed oil component can stain it. In these cases, the plumber should use a silicone sealant instead. 

What Do You Need to Remove Plumber’s Putty?

You won’t need the entire contents of your toolbox to remove the plumber’s putty. 

However, there are some items you should have on standby in case the material is a little stubborn. Here are the essential tools you need:

  • Safety gloves
  • A hammer
  • A flathead screwdriver
  • Hairdryer or hot air gun
  • Sticky tape
  • A chisel
  • Some cloth
  • Paint thinner
  • A razor blade
  • A putty knife

Find All of the Plumber’s Putty

While you might have spotted one clump of plumber’s putty, it’s best to check everywhere that’s been renovated just in case there’s more you haven’t found yet. Focus your attention on the joints first, as this is a common spot where there are excess amounts. Take a look around all of the faucets and pipes too.

It doesn’t matter if it’s out of sight from visitors too. You should make sure you find all of the plumber’s putty so that you get rid of every last piece. So make sure to check every inch of your room.

Identify the Material the Plumber’s Putty is On

There’s no one single solution to removing plumber’s putty. It will all depend on what the material is sticking to. For instance, removing it from a ceramic surface is different from separating it off granite. 

If you’re not sure what the textile is made from, then check with the plumbers or renovators who installed the item. You don’t want to end up scratching or staining anything that will end up causing another renovation to be needed.

Remove the Excess Plumber’s Putty

If there is a large amount of plumber’s putty present, then you can remove the majority of it using your chisel, hammer, or flathead screwdriver by chipping away at it. 

Alternatively, you can also try using a razor blade to slice it off. 

Place the blade as close to the surface as you can without scratching it. Then wiggle it back and forth until it loosens the putty. This saves you from digging into it and accidentally damaging any materials.

Add Heat to the Plumber’s Putty

If you can’t chip away at the plumber’s putty or you’re not having any luck with the razor blade, you can try softening it using a hot air gun or hairdryer. This should help weaken the material and make it much easier to remove.

Depending on the power of your hairdryer, you might not be able to generate enough heat to soften the plumber’s putty. You may only melt the top layer, meaning you’ll need to try multiple times before it starts making enough of a difference that you can attempt to remove it. 

Another option is to heat a putty knife over a flame and use it to carve into the substance once it’s hot enough. Just make sure you don’t melt anything else in the process of removing the plumber’s putty.

Remove the Stains

The job isn’t over once the plumber’s putty gets removed. You’ll notice that there will be some stains left behind, and unless you’re going for a leopard print or polka dot look, these will need to go too.

On ceramic surfaces and pipes, you can soak a cloth with some solvent or paint thinner and gently wipe away the stains left behind. For materials like granite, you’ll want something that’s going to soak up the oil. 

One option is combining clay and methylene chloride to make a paste. Place this over the stain and wrap it with cling wrap or plastic. Let it sit there for a couple of days, and then remove it. If the mark is still present, you may need to repeat the process until it’s completely gone.

How to Make Sure All the Plumber’s Putty is Gone

Thankfully, if you spot some plumber’s putty in your house, you’re going to be able to get rid of it using a number of everyday items around the house. It doesn’t require a lot of tools or special equipment, but you do need a lot of patience to completely remove it, especially if it’s present on certain types of substances. 

Be prepared to repeat some processes multiple times, especially when it comes to heating plumber’s putty with a hairdryer or removing the stains from surfaces that don’t mix with oils. 

If you need a renovation or plumbing job completed that doesn’t require you to clean anything up afterward, then you should get in touch with us. 

We offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on every job we complete. If you’re not happy, then we’ll make sure we don’t leave until you have a smile on your face. 
Schedule an appointment with All Day Plumbing today, and we’ll make sure the only thing we leave behind is quality work.