Are you looking for a simple home alternative to using plumber’s tape? If you’re halfway through a DIY job and in a bit of a pickle, you’ll love these 7 substitutes that will bridge the gap.
Here are 7 things you can use instead of plumber’s tape
- Pipe clamp
- Water bottle labels
- Electrical tape
- Pipe dope
- UHMW tape
There are plenty of weird yet wonderfully effective alternatives to plumber’s tape. Keep reading to find out how each of these work and how you can apply them.
Are you on a bit of a DIY spree at home? Then there’s nothing worse than getting down to your last job or two and running out of plumber’s tape. You could abandon everything, get in the car and drive down to the hardware store to buy some more. But wait. There may be something lying around your house that will do the trick just as well, or even better than the tape!
Take a look at the following list of 7 things you can use instead of plumber’s tape. Save yourself the trip to the store as you’ll have most of them at home already.
The first alternative on this list is really a temporary fix that is perfect for emergencies. If you are out of plumber’s tape, you can use a pipe clamp to hold the joint in place. This may not be the most practical fix, but it is one of my favorites for the following reasons.
- It is quick to attach and is not fiddly
- It is super simple to remove
- A pipe clamp is not messy in the slightest
How should you attach the clamp? It’s easy.
- Hold the joint together with one hand. Use the other to open the clamp
- Close the clamp carefully around the joint
Yes, you read correctly – water bottle labels are a great alternative to plumber’s tape. The awesome thing about this substitute is that it’s free (once you’ve got the bottle, of course). It also gives you a creative way to utilize something that no one ever does.
The part of the label that is of interest to you for this job is the adhesive. That is the small strip of the label that is covered in all that sticky gunk that fixes it to the bottle.
Here’s how to use it.
- Start by prying the label off the bottle with as much of the sticky stuff on it 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 it to be effective.
Electrical tape works just as well on pipes as plumber’s tape. Here are a few reasons why.
- It is thick
- It is sticky
- It is a similar thickness to plumber’s tape and can be cut to size
Are you ready to use electrical tape to finish your DIY job? Then here’s what you’ll need to do.
- Cut the electrical tape widthwise if it is too wide
- Wrap the tape around the thread in the direction of the thread. You should wrap it 2-3 times for a good hold.
Now here’s an alternative you might be a little surprised about. Toothpaste. That’s right, there’s more to it than just keeping your teeth pearly white. Now, I must say that toothpaste is definitely a temporary solution, but a great one at that. Here’s why.
- It is viscous and fills in the gaps of the threads to make an airtight seal
- It is abrasive
Ok, so how should you go about applying toothpaste to a thread? Good question. Here’s everything you need to know.
- Squirt some toothpaste onto your finger
- Smooth the toothpaste over the thread. Make sure there is a layer of toothpaste all around the thread.
If you like doing DIY work out in your garage then you’ll definitely have some grease lying around. Grease is an awesome material to fall back on if you are out of plumber’s tape. It has made it onto this list of alternatives for the following reasons.
- It is thick
- It fills in the gaps of the threads to make an airtight seal
- It repels water
- It won’t dry, making it easy to remove the connection in the future
I’ve found that the best grease for this job is one that contains PTFE. If you’ve got some of that lying around then you’ve hit a home run. But any grease when applied properly on the thread will do a good job.
Here’s what you can do to use it.
- Place some grease on your finger
- Smooth the grease over the thread. Make sure there is a layer of grease all around the thread.
Now here’s an alternative that you might have to take a trip to the store to find. That is pipe dope. Pipe dope is a liquid that seals joints. Here’s why some people prefer it and think it works better than plumber’s tape.
- Pipe dope can stretch over larger gaps than plumber’s tape making it more effective at certain jobs
- Pipe dope doesn’t need to be applied as thickly as plumber’s tape. This means that you can use less of it and still get the same, or an even better hold. This also makes it the best option for when you haven’t got a lot of space to work with around a thread.
So how do you use it? Follow these simple steps to apply pipe dope around a thread in your home.
- Use the brush provided with the pipe dope to smooth the liquid around the thread. There should be a thin layer of it around the thread. The liquid will not dry, making it easier for you to remove a connection in the future if you need to.
Another replacement for plumber’s tape is UHMW (ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene) tape. It sounds like a bit of a mouthful, but it works just like any other PTFE tape. Here are some of the reasons why UHMW tape is becoming increasingly popular among DIYers.
- It is abrasion-resistant
- The tape comes in a variety of thicknesses meaning you can choose the one that best fits your work
- UHMW tape is often less expensive than plumber’s tape or name brand PTFE tape
Once you’ve got your hands on some UHMW tape, it works the same and is applied identically to plumber’s tape. This is how you should use it.
- Choose a thickness of UHMW tape that will fit your work
- Wrap the tape around the thread starting at the second thread. Wrap in the direction of the thread. Use 2-3 layers of tape for a secure hold.
Would you like proof of just how effective some of these materials are? Then make sure you take a look at this video.
There’s nothing more frustrating than having something missing from your toolbox when you come to do a quick DIY job. And if it is plumber’s tape that you’re out of, things could get real messy, fast.
I’m sure this article has shown you some materials you can use as home alternatives to plumber’s tape that work just as well. They will no doubt save you a rushed trip to the store and a couple of pennies.
Have a great day!