Your plumbing system could be damaged, or you could be installing a new sink in your kitchen or bathroom, and you might not have thought about it, but your sink plug can be an issue. If not fitted correctly or if it becomes damaged, it can cause water to leak into your home. This article will provide you with some of the best options for sealing a sink plug hole which can prevent more problems down the line. The good news is that there are plenty of sink plug sealants on the market that work well to keep leaks at bay!

Basin Waste

What is a Sink Plug Sealant?

Sink plug sealant is a substance that is made up of a variety of components that is used to create a waterproof barrier around your plug to ensure that all the waste goes down the plug hole and not any cracks or spaces that may be next to it. This type of sealant will adhere to the inside and outside of the opening where you insert the plug, forming a barrier against leaks when in use.

What are the Main Types of Sink Plug Sealants?

The main types of sealants that you will find for your sink are silicone, putty, and rubber and all are relatively easy to use and can be done by anyone. However, if you are not sure how to do it right, call in someone who knows what they are doing.


Silicone is a flexible sealant that will be able to stretch around the plug opening and form an effective barrier. It can be used with all types of plugs, but it is best for high-use areas such as kitchens or bathrooms. One thing that you might need to consider when using silicone sealants is not to overdo it because there could be some difficulty in removing it if needed. Also, if it is too thick or applied improperly it could mean that you will have to clean up the mess.


Putty has a consistency similar to clay and many people think that this just acts as more of a temporary fix while you wait to have the job done properly. Used correctly though, putty such as plumber’s mait is certainly up to the task long-term. Putty also makes a great sealant as it does not set or become hardened. If, for any reason you have to make some alterations or remove the waste, the putty can simply be removed and reapplied.


Many sink wastes come with a rubber gasket attached that will form a waterproof seal around the plug when fitted.

How Do You Choose the Right Sink Plug Sealant?

There are a few things to consider when choosing how to seal your plug. Things such as the age and condition of the sink, the material the sink is made from, and the shape of the plughole all play a role in deciding which product will get the finish that you are looking for.

Age & Condition of Your Sink

The age and condition of the sink are key factors to consider when selecting a sealant. If your plughole is already damaged, then you will need something that can fill in any gaps, so it will not leak water into your home. If there is nothing wrong with your sink but want to prevent leaks from happening in the future, then silicone is a great go-to product as it will seal around the plug hole and be flexible enough to stretch with any movement.

If your sink is old or you have an antique one that has been passed down through generations, you may want to buy a waste that has a good quality rubber top seal and then back it up underneath with putty.

The Material of Your Sink

The material of your sink also influences the type of sealant that you will need. If it is made from cast iron or enamel, then putty might be a good option as it is able to fill in gaps and create a waterproof barrier around the plughole which will not break down when wet like silicone can do over time.

If you have a stainless-steel sink, then silicone will be the best option as it is less likely to stain and rubber sealants may not adhere if they are set in any grooves or cavities.

The Shape of Your Sink

If your plughole has an unusual shape such as square or unsymmetrical then again putty might be the way to go due to the flexible nature of the application.

The Best Sink Plug Sealant

The best sink plug sealant by a wide margin is Plumber’s Mait (Amazon link – Opens in a new tab). There are some sealants that are better for certain types of sinks, but we find Plumber’s Mait offers the best coverage no matter what type it is.

Plumber’s Mait is a non-setting, non-cracking putty designed to provide permanent flexibility. It is ideal for bonding to copper, brass, steel, aluminium, fibreglass, and porcelain. Plumber’s mait can be used on sanitary joints and provides a watertight seal.

The other great reason for using this putty is that you are able to test it to ensure that it has worked immediately rather than waiting for many hours like with silicone.

How to Use Plumber’s Mait

Step One – Ensure that the plughole and surrounding area are free from any debris, old sealant, or any other obstructions. Use a mild detergent and a scrubbing brush to clean the area thoroughly. Wipe it down with a clean cloth and let it dry completely.

Step Two – Grab a small amount of Plumber’s Mait, and roll it into a sausage shape with your hands approximately 1cm thick. Press the putty into place around the underside of the waste while ensuring that if there are any gaps or holes they are filled.

Step Three – Insert the waste pipe into the plughole, making sure it fits snugly and correctly. The pipe should be appropriately aligned with the drainage system to ensure smooth water flow. Cover with a washer and tighten.

Step Four – Once the waste is in place, test the installation by running water through the waste pipe to ensure there are no leaks. If all is well, your plughole should be securely sealed with the new waste pipe installed.

I have found a great video on YouTube right here if you need any help.


Although there are different materials that can be used to seal your sink plug, we feel that plumber’s mait putty is the best option for a clean, watertight finish. Silicone is another option although this can be very messy and if you make a mistake or need to change something in the future, it is a real pain to get off again.

How to Seal a Plughole When Installing a new Waste Pipe Infographic

Plumbing Wizard Tips

“Ensure that when you press the plumber’s mait into place, you press it into the thread of the waste to ensure a watertight seal!”

“If your new waste doesn’t come with a washer, it is a good idea to buy one to complement the use of the plumber’s mait!”

“When you take off the trap, do not pour the dirty, stinking water back into the sink – yes, I have done that in the past!”

“Once you have begun tightening, you can remove any excess putty and put it right back in the tub for another time!”

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Plumbers Mait the same as plumbers putty?

Yes, plumber’s mait is a brand of plumber’s putty made by Evo-stick. It is primarily used in plumbing applications as a sealant.

Can you use plumber’s putty to stop a leak?

Plumbers putty is a sealant used to prevent a specific type of leak and is not a replacement for silicone in other areas such as between the sink and the wall.

Plumbers putty is specifically designed for high traffic, low-pressure joints such as around sink wastes (plugholes).

Does plumbers mait go off?

In a word no, plumber’s mait does not ‘go off’ as you may expect and it should stay pliable for many many years. If not used, plumber’s mait may dry out and crack – if this happens, the putty is unusable.

What is plumber’s putty?

Plumber’s putty is a soft, malleable sealing compound used in plumbing to create watertight seals around wastes, drains, and other plumbing fixtures.

Is plumber’s putty waterproof?

Yes, when properly applied, plumber’s putty creates a waterproof seal, which makes it ideal for applications like sealing sinks and tub drains.

Can I use plumber’s putty on plastic pipes or fixtures?

Caution should be exercised when using plumber’s putty with certain plastics, as it can cause the plastic to become brittle over time. Always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific material in question.

What’s the difference between plumber’s putty and Teflon tape?

Plumber’s putty is used for creating watertight seals around fixtures, while Teflon tape (also known as PTFE tape) is used for sealing threaded pipe connections, preventing leaks at those joints.

Does plumber’s putty have an expiration date?

While it may not have a specific expiration date, plumber’s putty can dry out over time if not stored properly. Keep the container sealed tightly and store in a cool, dry place to maximize its lifespan.

Is plumber’s putty safe for drinking water?

Generally, plumber’s putty is not applied to parts of plumbing systems that carry drinking water, so it doesn’t come into direct contact with potable water. However, ensure you’re using products that are certified as safe for potable water systems if required.

Can I use plumber’s putty on gas fittings?

No. Plumber’s putty is not designed for gas fittings. Gas systems require specific compounds designed to resist the properties of gas.

How do I remove excess plumber’s putty?

Excess putty is typically easy to remove. Simply roll or peel it away from the surface. For stubborn residues, a plastic scraper or gentle abrasive pad can be used, being cautious not to damage the surrounding surfaces.

What if I don’t have plumber’s putty? Can I use something else?

While plumber’s putty is preferred for certain applications, alternatives like silicone caulk or gaskets might be used depending on the specific plumbing situation.


Lee Pearce is not just a master plumber; he’s a veritable Plumbing Wizard. With over 30 years of experience in the trenches of pipes and drains, Lee has become the go-to sage for DIY plumbing, saving homeowners thousands in potential call-out charges. As the founder of Plumbing Wizard, he’s dedicated to demystifying the complexities of home plumbing, offering easy-to-follow advice that stands the test of time and pressure. His online blog is a treasure trove of tips, tricks, and tutorials that empower everyday individuals to take charge of their home’s plumbing health. Lee’s practical wisdom is not just about fixing leaks; it’s about imparting confidence and self-reliance. When he’s not writing or elbow-deep in a plumbing project, Lee is passionate about educating the next generation of DIYers, ensuring that practical skills are passed down and preserved.

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