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How to Remove Pipe Dope? (3 EASY METHODS)

Pipe dope or threading compound is used to seal the steel pipe threads in gas lines to prevent leaking. But if the threading compound isn’t applied correctly, gas can leak through the joints. Also, if the pipe dope ages, there can be leaks sometimes. Before you re-apply pipe dope, you need to remove the old compound.

So, how to remove pipe dope? First of all, you need to uncouple the faulty pipe joint using the necessary tools. Then, you can hold the pipe end with a rag and twist the pipe to remove the dope. You might need to scrub the ends with a wire brush to remove the threading compound completely.

Let’s know more.

Is Pipe Dope Permanent?

Pipe dope or pipe joint compound is fairly durable compared to another commonly used item, pipe thread sealant. The first one is also known as pipe glue or PVC glue. It works like an adhesive and resembles the texture of putty. You might find them in various colors, mostly clear or white.

This compound is used to seal the joints of the pipes and fittings. The glue gets dry after being cured and provides an airtight seal, crucial for gas supply lines. As the strength of pipe dope is high, it is more popular among professionals for permanent use.

But still, you can remove pipe dope from the joints if there is any fault in the joint. To be specific, pipe dope isn’t a permanent thing to stick on the pipes.

how to remove pipe dope

3 Ways to Remove Pipe Dope?

If you have a faulty joint that leaks gas or you’re just giving the gas line a complete makeover, you need to remove existing pipe dope from the joints. How do you do that? We will guide you through three methods of removing the threading compound.

a. Removing Old Pipe Dope

Removing old pipe dope

Here are three methods for you to follow. Choose the way you find fit.

1. Using a Pipe Wrench and a Rag

You will need a pipe wrench, a rag, and a soapy water solution for this method. Get them ready.

  • Spray the soapy water on the joints if you want to find out the leaks. If you already know where they are, skip this step.
  • Shut off the gas line and loosen the pipe joint using the pipe wrench. It might need some force, but don’t break or bend the pipe.
  • Once the pipe dope is exposed, take the rag and hold the dope with the rag tightly.
  • Have a firm grip on both hands and twist the pipe outwards. It might take several efforts to remove large chunks of pipe dope.
  • If any threading compound still remains, you can scrub the end with a wire brush to clean it completely.

2. Using Nail Polish Remover

If you don’t want to go through the tedious process above, here is your way.

  • Take a bottle of nail polish remover. It has acetone for softening pipe dope.
  • After losing the pipe joint, apply nail polish remover on the hard pipe dope and leave it for some time.
  • The dope will soften gradually, and you can easily clean it up with a rag.

3. Using Heat

The threading compound on a pipe joint might refuse to come off if the joint is too old. If you don’t find the previous methods useful, you can use heat to remove pipe dope. Here is how.

  • Take a blow torch and heat the end of the pipes. The hardened pipe dope will easily come off once heated.
  • But remember, don’t use this method for gas lines. You should only use this process for water or waste lines.

b. Remove Pipe Dopes from Clothes

While doing home repairs yourself, it is easy to catch some pipe dope on your clothing. Removing them from your clothes can only make more mess if you don’t know the following methods.

1. Applying Bleach

If your clothing catches stains from pipe dope, you can apply some bleach to wash the cloth. Throw a bit of bleach into the washing machine to get rid of the stubborn stain.

2. Using Nail Polish Remover

Remember the process we followed to remove pipe dope from joints? That same method can be applied to your clothes but in a slightly different way.

  • Take a clean cloth and soak it in nail polish remover.
  • Rub the stained part of your cloth with the soaked cloth.
  • If the stain is hard, you need to soak the stained cloth in nail polish remover. But don’t do it for long.
  • Once the stain comes off, you need to give the cloth a regular wash.

3. Using Brake Cleaner

If you still have a sign of greasiness after following the previous methods, you can apply some brake cleaner to the stain to clean it.

c. Remove Pipe Dope from Hands

You might have already seen how to remove pipe dope from clothes. As using bleach on your skin isn’t preferable, you can use nail polish remover or brake cleaner or a combination of both to remove pipe dope from your hands.

Remove Pipe Dope from Hands

Things to Consider When Removing Pipe Dope

Here are a few tips that will make the removal process easier.

  • Don’t use heat unless you have a very stubborn pipe dope.
  • If you need to remove thread sealant, simply tear or cut it up using razor blades.
  • When replacing pipe dope on a fault joint, you should also check the nearby joints for any leaks.


That soft and workable threading compound you apply on pipe joints can become really hard after some time. If you need to take that off, you should follow the professional ways to remove the glue without damaging the supply line or the joint.

We tried to show you how to remove pipe dope so that you can do it on your own. Follow the method you find suitable, depending on your circumstances. After removing pipe dope from pipe ends, don’t forget to wash them off of your clothes and skin. Do a better home repair with less mess with our helpful guide.