How To Remove Old Plumber's Putty

If you're trying to put in a new faucet on your own, there's a good chance you'll find that plumber's putty was used to provide a waterproof seal when the old faucet was hooked up. When you're putting on the new fixture, this old putty may squeeze out around the seal and interfere with the installation process. It's best to remove all of the old plumber's putty before you try installing your replacement fixture. By doing this, you'll get a cleaner, more professional looking result.

What You Will Need

  • Kitchen Scrubber

  • Clean Cloth

  • Razor Blade

  • Putty Knife

  • Flathead Screwdriver

  • Candle

  • Rubbing Alcohol

  • Protective Gloves

  • Hammer

Step 1. Put on a pair protective gloves. Use a razor blade to try to remove as much as possible of the old plumber's putty. Carefully scrape away the putty, holding the blade at 90 degrees to the surface. You should avoid scraping so deeply that you damage the surface below the putty.

Step 2. Using a kitchen scrubber, remove any of the putty residue. Don't use abrasive cleaners for this, since it could damage the underlying surface. Use a clean cloth to clean up any small bits and then clean the area by rinsing it with water.

Step 3. If some of the putty is particularly hard to remove, light a candle and heat the blade of a putty knife over it. Use this heated blade to (as gently as possible) scrape away the stock on putty. It's best to use the blade at a 90° angle, since you're less likely to cause damage. You may have to reheat the blade several times before you're done.

Step 4. If the above techniques still have a loosened that plumber's putty, put the edge of a flathead screwdriver against the putty at a 90° angle. You want the blade to be as close as possible while still aborting scraping the surface of the sink. Strike the handle of the screwdriver with a hammer. You want to move the edge of the screwdriver along the putty as you work, but don't drive the edge into the surface that the putty is on.

Step 5. Repeat step 2.

Step 6. Dip the end of a clean cloth into a little rubbing alcohol. Use this to blot down the oily, stained area. Rotate or replace the cloth as you do this so you won't be reapplying the same stain again. For assistance, talk to a professional like Advanced Service Plus Plumbing.