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The Best Substitute for Plumbers Grease (And 5 Alternatives)

If you are trying to replace or repair pipes and don’t have any plumber’s grease, it can be a frustrating situation. Unfortunately, a replacement isn’t as easy as one might think.

There is no ideal substitute for plumber’s grease. However, the closest alternative is silicone grease. You can also use dielectric grease, vaseline, silicone spray, WD-40, and vegetable oil temporarily, but all these have downsides.

In this article, I’ll discuss the best alternative to plumber’s grease and five other alternatives you can use if you don’t have plumber’s grease. I’ll also share the downsides of these alternatives so you can choose the best greasing option for your plumbing fixtures. 

Professional plumber fixing the water tap in a kitchen

Is Silicone Grease the Same as Plumber’s Grease? 

Silicone grease is not the same as plumber’s grease, though they are similar. Both contain silicone grease, but plumber’s grease contains other chemicals, while silicone grease contains only food-grade silicone. 

Other than composition, silicone grease is usually used in potable water installments, while plumber’s grease is used on the outside of taps, along the joints of piping, and in other similar areas. However, plumbers will use both silicone and plumber’s grease interchangeably, especially if the plumber’s grease is food grade. 

Since plumber’s grease is unique in its composition and usage, there’s no ideal alternative that gives the same results. 

Yet, silicone grease is the closest and best alternative to plumber’s grease. It is similar to plumber’s grease and is used for the inside of faucets and pipes. Silicone grease is also safer than plumber’s grease since it doesn’t release toxic chemicals into the water and is more durable. 

5 Other Alternatives for Plumber’s Grease 

While there aren’t any ideal alternatives for plumber’s grease, besides silicone grease, you can use some alternatives to fix small problems in your taps and pipes. While these alternatives do help grease plumbing installments, they also have drawbacks, so keep this in mind before using them in place of a plumber’s grease.

1. Dielectric Grease

Plumber’s Grease vs. Dielectric Grease

Plumber’s grease consists of silicone oil and grease combined with other chemicals, dielectric grease contains silicone oil and a silicone thickener. Both are waterproof and can be used to grease all types of plumbing fixtures. 

In fact, many plumbers use silicone grease in place of plumbing grease because of its food-grade rating. 

Another benefit of using silicone grease or dielectric grease in place of plumber’s grease is that it’s much safer for potable water sources. If you’re worried about contaminating the water, use silicone grease instead of the plumber’s grease. Silicone grease is food grade, and there’s no harm in ingesting it (but it’s not meant to be eaten either!).

2. Vaseline


Plumber’s Grease vs. Vaseline

Vaseline is usually the first thing that many people think of using as a substitute for plumber’s grease. And it’s not a bad thought, as vaseline is a suitable greasing option for pipes and faucets. 

Vaseline can be used in place of a plumber’s grease since it’s thick and waterproof. It will stop the squeaking sound in your taps and can help lubricant other plumbing fixtures. However, vaseline may damage the O-Rings in plumbing fixtures, causing the seals to break after a few months. 

Overall, vaseline isn’t as safe or effective as silicone or plumber’s grease. It will be fine to use as a temporary alternative to plumber’s grease, but avoid using it regularly unless you want to replace the seals or deal with leaking taps every few months!

3. Silicone Spray

Plumber’s Grease vs. Silicone Spray

Like silicone grease, silicone spray is an effective alternative for greasing plumbing fixtures. Silicone spray is made from silicon and thick oils and is used as a universal lubricant. It will work on all types of surfaces, including wood, plastic, and metal, and is one of the safest lubricant sprays. 

Silicone spray can be used to protect objects from rust, keep wood in good condition, remove adhesives, and is even effective in removing blood stains from clothes. While it’s not made for plumbing, you can use silicone spray to lubricate o-rings, faucets, and pipes. 

Silicone spray is easy to use and can be applied without getting your hands dirty, making it an effective option for non-plumbers. It also contains silicon and is safer than other chemical-based lubricants. Some plumbers may even use it when applying plumber’s grease is hard. 

However, silicone spray isn’t a completely effective substitute for plumber’s grease. It’s too thin to last as long as grease, and you’ll have to apply it more frequently. The only positive is that it won’t damage the O-Rings or other plumbing fixtures, so you can use it as a temporary lubricant instead of the plumber’s grease.

4. WD-40

Plumber’s Grease vs WD-40 

WD-40 is another popular greasing alternative for plumber’s grease. Like silicone spray, it’s easy to apply, and most people will have some lying around at home. If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to get a plumber’s grease, you can use WD-40 as a temporary alternative. 

WD-40 is considered a “magic” greasing spray by many due to its effectiveness at preventing squeaking doors and lubricating hinges. In fact, it can even be used as a chain spray. WD-40’s effectiveness at lubricating different types of surfaces makes it a useful lubricant for plumbing fixtures as well. 

However, just like silicone spray, it’s too thin to be used as a permanent replacement for grease. This doesn’t mean that it isn’t effective, yet you shouldn’t rely on it whenever you need to grease a plumbing fixture. If you use WD-40 instead of the plumber’s grease, you’ll have to apply grease after a month or two since WD-40 is temporary.

5. Vegetable Oil

Plumber’s Grease vs Vegetable Oil

Most types of vegetable oil are thick enough to be used as grease. Some great options to use in place of plumber’s grease are coconut or olive oil, as these oils are easy to apply and readily available. You also don’t have to worry about contamination when using vegetable oil as a lubricant. 

Although, vegetable oil isn’t waterproof and won’t last as long as a plumber’s grease. It’s a temporary fix for squeaking taps, and you’ll have to apply proper grease afterward. Also, these oils are less effective in hot weather and may need to be applied more regularly. 

Why You Shouldn’t Use Alternatives for Plumber’s Grease 

While many of these alternatives work and may help with a squeaky tap, they aren’t meant to be used as alternatives for plumbing grease. Some, like vaseline and WD-40, will damage the O-Rings, while other alternatives aren’t effective in the long run. 

Some reasons why you shouldn’t use plumber’s grease alternatives include: 

Using Plumber’s Grease Alternatives Is Not Safe 

Silicone plumbers grease is food grade and can be used in many different plumbing applications. However, alternatives like WD-40 or vaseline can contaminate the water, causing health problems, and shouldn’t be used on kitchen taps or other potable water sources. If you have to use an alternative to plumber’s grease for these areas, use silicone grease. 

Using Plumber’s Grease Alternatives May Damage the Faucet Seals 

One of the main reasons why plumbers avoid using other greasing alternatives is because they may damage the faucet seals or O-Rings on plumbing fixtures. Both WD-40 and vaseline will cause the O-Rings to wear off after a few months, causing leakages. Other alternatives like vegetable oils will cause the faucet seals to swell. 

So, while you can use these if you have no other option, keep in mind that they aren’t plumbing friendly. 

Using Plumber’s Grease Alternatives Is Not Effective

The simple reason why plumber’s grease is so popular is that it works. Most of the alternatives aren’t nearly as effective in greasing plumbing fixtures. Some, like vegetable oil, aren’t waterproof and won’t last as long as a plumber’s grease. Other greasing alternatives like silicone spray and WD-40 aren’t meant to be used for plumbing and don’t have the thickness of grease. 

Best Plumber’s Grease 

Since there’s no effective alternative to plumber’s grease (apart from silicone grease), you should keep some spare grease in case your faucets start squeaking. Here are some of the best plumbing grease options available on Amazon for you to consider:

1. Danco 88693P Waterproof Faucet O-Rings

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This silicone lubricant is designed for faucet O-rings and is made to enhance the life of your faucets. It’s waterproof food grade oxidation resistant.

2. Weld-On 80427 Slik Seal Plumbers Grease

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Professional plumbers use this quality grease for hot water systems and all types of faucets. It doesn’t melt or separate and is waterproof and oxidation resistant. 

3. Evo Dyne Plumber’s Grease

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Made for all types of materials, this plumbing grease is ideal for all plumbing fixtures. It prevents oxidation and stops corrosion and contains silicone for effective lubrication.

Final Thoughts  

The plumber’s grease is ideal for lubricating faucets and O-Rings and can help with the squeaking sounds that taps get after some time. The best alternative to plumber’s grease is silicone grease or silicone spray. 

Other alternatives like vaseline, WD-40, or vegetable oils don’t work as effectively and may damage the faucet seals over time. While you can use them as temporary alternatives, avoid using them permanently.

For more, check out The Best Substitute for Plumbers Tape | With 3 Alternatives.

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Tuesday 30th of May 2023

I use plumbers grease all the time indoors with great success, but I have a problem keeping my outdoor hose bibb from squeaking for more than a few days using the grease. Is there something heavier that sticks in that worm gear?

Jim James

Wednesday 31st of May 2023

Not that I know of. Make sure you are covering the stem, o-ring, and washer well. Also, check the o-ring for degradation, it may be the problem and need replaced. Same thing for the washer.. if there's corrosion, it could cause the squeaking. I hope this helps, let me know how it goes!