People often refer to "pipe dope" when talking about sealing threads of pipe fittings, but when I go to Home Depot or Lowes or whatever, I've never seen anything on the shelf labeled "Pipe Dope". This seems to be an old-fashioned word that people speak and understand, but it's not the correct, technical product name.

If I have been told that for a certain joint, pipe dope is a better choice than Teflon tape, what do I need to pick up at the hardware store? I don't particularly need a certain brand recommendation, but an example or picture of a product currently stocked at a major, national retailer would be great as an example. If the word "dope" isn't used, what other terms do I look for to find "pipe dope"?

  • 5
    Unfortunately, people use the term "dope" for many things, either because they don't know the actual product names or because they want to sound clever. It's rather annoying.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 14:10
  • So then "dope" is a term used for many different products?
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 15:57
  • @isherwood "dope" is used so that brand names don't end up representing an entire class of products. e.g. Romex, Kleenex, etc.
    – Tester101
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 16:06
  • 1
    We'd been using the word dope way before we had to worry about copyright infringement on SE. You will find its definition at the end of my answer. Just like mastic, it has more than one.
    – Mazura
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 0:59
  • 1
    @SimonRichter - That's oakum. Dope as a descriptor for marijuana is only a recent invention. Originally it was, "the thick treacle-like preparation used in opium-smoking." –OD If oakum is to be referred to as a dope, it is because of the tar in it, not its hemp content.
    – Mazura
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 4:53

5 Answers 5


http://rads.stackoverflow.com/amzn/click/B002L6G050 http://www.supplyhouse.com/Blue-Monster-76003-Blue-Monster-Heavy-Duty-Industrial-Grade-Thread-Sealant-with-PTFE-8-oz

https://diy.stackexchange.com/questions/21066/what-goes-on-threads-first-tape-or-dope http://www.mastercraft.com/teamtalk/showthread.php?t=66985 http://www.gfthompson.ca/pipes.html


All sources may be found in the image descriptions. Products are shown for educational purpose only and are not to be viewed as endorsement. Intending to include all major North American manufacturers, any additions are welcomed.

Pipe Dope Trade Names:

  • TFE Paste

  • PTFE Pipe Thread Sealant

  • Pipe Thread Sealant

  • Pipe Joint Compound

  • Pipe Thread Compound

Do not confuse plumber's putty with [Pipe/Thread/Joint - Dope/Paste - Sealant/Compound].

MWdope 1.a : a thick liquid or pasty preparation b : a preparation for giving a desired quality to a substance or surface

  • 2
    Good variety in your answer, and great point about plumbers putty. I know people do make that mistake.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 1:52
  • 1
    Some lazy plumber stuffed a wad of plumbers putty in our (previous) 50gal water heater instead of fixing the drain spigot. It blew out in the morning when I was 150 miles away from home, and I get a panicked call from my wife because water was pouring out of the wall. That was an exciting drive home -_- Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 15:11
  • 1
    "Intending to include all major manufacturers" Well, at least within one particular country... Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 17:17
  • I've also used everyone of these except the one actually calling itself Dope. Attempting to do an international search lead me to a company I've never heard of (Rectorseal), and it's even based here in my own home town. Provide me with name(s) and I shall include it, so long as you can attest to its availability as a major player. Or make your own answer, and I shall tittle mine, commonly available in North America. @DavidRicherby
    – Mazura
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 23:40

Pipe joint compound or thread sealant. Should be near soldering stuff, plumbers putty, PVC Glue, Teflon tape, etc. Comes in a tube or plastic jar.


  • That's a great product link, and I've never seen that at my local store. So you're saying that "dope" is a catchall term for any "thread sealant"?
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 15:58
  • 5
    Yes, in a liquid/paste format. Usually does not refer to Teflon tape.
    – rpmerf
    Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 17:16

Pipe dope is a general term used to describe any lubricant, sealant, or adhesive designed to aid in making pipe joints leak proof. It can be used to describe dopes in various forms, including pastes, tapes, putties, etc.

Within the plumbing trade, the term "pipe dope" is commonly used to describe paste dopes exclusively.

Using a general term such as "dope", prevents specific brand names from being used to represent an entire class of products.


there have already been plenty of answers to this here. i would add that its important to not confuse pipe dope (which is typically a sealant for threaded connections) with either thread locker (a glue that holds threaded connections from vibrating loose) or antiseize compound (a material that keeps threaded connections from galvanically fusing). these are three fundamentally different classes of products that are not interchangeable.

its also important to understand that pipe dopes are available in different formulations and with different additives for doing different jobs (gas lines, fuel connections, water lines, stainless alloys, etc)


If I am not mistaken, that's what you use for natural gas piping threads. It's much better than tape.

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