We've independently reviewed this article to make sure it's as accurate as we can make it.
To find out more about our article creation and review process, check out our editorial guidelines.
Are you looking for a Teflon tape alternative?
You’re not alone! I know how annoying it can be to run out of plumber’s tape when you need it the most.
Don’t worry, though. I’m here to help.
If you’re looking for plumber’s tape alternatives, try using a pipe clamp, water bottle labels, electrical tape, or toothpaste. Grease, pipe dope, and UHMW tape are also great Teflon tape substitutes.
Please keep reading to find out how each of these alternatives works and how to apply them.
7 Plumber’s Tape Alternatives
If you run out of plumber’s tape, don’t worry! In this section, I’ll guide you through seven Teflon tape alternatives to help you finish your project.
If you are out of plumber’s tape, you can use a pipe clamp to hold the joint in place.
A pipe clamp is probably not the most practical Teflon tape substitute, but it is one of my favorites because a clamp is quick to attach, simple to remove, and not messy.
Here’s how you should attach the clamp:
- Hold the joint together with one hand. Use the other to open the clamp.
- Close the clamp carefully around the joint.
When you buy a clamp, make sure it’s in good condition. Damaged pipe clamps sometimes get returned to the shelves and you might not notice until you get home.
Yes, you read correctly – If you’re looking for a Teflon tape alternative, I find that water bottle labels are great due to their adhesive.
Here’s how to use water bottle labels as a plumber’s tape alternative:
- Start by prying the label off the bottle with as much of the sticky stuff on the back as possible.
- Wrap the sticky part of the label over the thread in the direction of the thread pattern. You should use 2-3 layers of the label for the Teflon tape alternative to be effective.
#3 Electrical Tape
In my experience, electrical tape can work similarly to plumber’s tape.
Keep in mind that electrical tape can be sticky and thicker.
Here’s how to use electrical tape as a Teflon tape substitute to finish your DIY job:
- Cut the electrical tape if it is too wide.
- Wrap the tape around the thread in the direction of the thread. I recommend wrapping the electrical tape 2-3 times for a good hold.
The next PTFE tape alternative I recommend is toothpaste.
That’s right; there’s more to toothpaste than just keeping your teeth clean. Now, I must say that toothpaste is definitely a temporary solution, but a great one. Here’s why:
- It is viscous and fills in the gaps of the threads to make an airtight seal.
- Toothpaste is abrasive.
Okay, so how should you go about applying toothpaste to a thread? Here’s what you need to do:
- Squirt some toothpaste onto your finger.
- Smooth the toothpaste over the thread. Make sure there is a layer of toothpaste all around the thread.
Remember, toothpaste is just a temporary solution until you buy the appropriate materials.
In my opinion, grease is an awesome alternative to Teflon tape because of the following reasons:
- Grease is thick and can fill in the gaps of the threads to make an airtight seal.
- It repels water.
- Grease won’t dry, making removing the connection in the future easy.
I’ve found that the best grease contains PTFE. If you’ve got some lying around, you’ve hit a home run. But almost any grease, when applied properly on the thread, will do a good job.
Important note: It’s ok to use cooking oil, like vegetable or canola oil, but you cannot use just any grease. NEVER use a petroleum based grease (like the kind used to oil machines) on any plumbing fitting, as it can leech into the water and poison someone who touches or drinks it.
Here’s how you can use grease:
- Place some grease on your finger.
- Smooth the grease over the thread. Make sure there is a layer of grease all around the thread.
#6 Pipe Dope
When I run out of plumber’s tape, I always use pipe dope.
Pipe dope is a liquid used to seal joints and has multiple benefits, such as:
- It can stretch over larger gaps than plumber’s tape, making pipe dope more effective at certain jobs.
- Pipe dope doesn’t need to be applied as thickly as a plumber’s tape, meaning you can use less of it and still get the same result. Pipe dope is also the best option when you don’t have enough space to work around a thread.
- Just be aware that pipe dope can be messy – which is why people sometimes prefer plumber’s tape!
So how do you use pipe dope? Follow these simple steps:
- First, clean the threads with a wire brush before applying the dope. If there’s debris like rust, old pipe dope, or old Teflon, they can end up causing a leak in the future.
- Use the brush provided with the pipe dope to smooth the liquid around the thread. There should be a thin layer of liquid around the thread. The liquid will not fully dry, making it easier to remove a connection in the future if needed.
#7 UHMW Tape
Finally, UHMW tape can also be a great Teflon tape substitute.
I often advise using UHMW tape because this Teflon tape alternative is abrasion-resistant, comes in various thicknesses, and is usually less expensive than name-brand PTFE or plumber’s tape.
Once you’ve got your hands on some UHMW tape, it works the same and is applied identically to the plumber’s tape.
Here’s how you should use UHMW tape:
- Choose a thickness of UHMW tape that will fit your work.
- Wrap the tape around the thread, starting with the second thread. Wrap in the direction of the thread. Use 2-3 layers of tape for a secure hold.
Wrapping Up: The Best Plumber’s Tape Alternatives
Hopefully, now you know all the different Teflon tape alternatives you can use to finish your project.
Remember that you can use very easy-to-find materials, such as water bottle labels, electrical tape, grease, or toothpaste. You can also use a pipe clamp, UHMW tape, or pipe dope.
Please check out our other free guides if you found this article helpful. You could even sign up to our email list.
Have a great day!