toilet wax ring

Other Uses For A Toilet Wax Ring

Guest article by Bogan:

One of the themes in Modern Survival Blog is “improvise, adapt, overcome”, borrowed from the US Marines but so fitting for many of us as we try to approach a self-sufficient lifestyle.

This thinking can be in big doses or small. For example,  the variety of uses for vinegar, salt, soap, aluminum foil, Mylar blanket, Ziploc bags, WD-40, duct tape and (more recently) sea foam, and other dual-use preps.

Well lets consider the lowly toilet wax ring.

What is a toilet wax ring? These are the donut looking gaskets designed to attach your toilet to the outlet in your bathroom floor. It prevents leaking at the fitting. However its uses can also be scaled to other purposes.

Wax rings are made from petroleum and other ingredients that each manufacture holds as proprietary. But it feels like one of the ingredients is probably beeswax, or something closely resembling it. In recent times the composition has increasingly been something artificial rather than natural.

Anyway, the blend of ingredients is heated, mixed and poured into molds. When cooled they are released as wax rings. Wax ring molds are made in different thicknesses: they come in standard 3- or 4-inch sizes. Ubiquitous, they are sold everywhere plumbing supplies can be found for a few bucks.

Just how many uses can a toilet wax ring be put to when pinch comes to shove?

Here are a few:

Wax Ring as a Lubricant

For screws: dip screw threads into the wax before driving them into wood. Quiet and slick! This works with a bar of soap too, but is a lot easier with the wax ring compound. For ease and accessibility, melt some into a compact covered container like an old piece of Tupperware with lid, tin can or a can that might once have held cocktail peanuts. Great for a re-decking or re-roofing project.

Free rusted nuts: Coat the threads with some melted wax and start torquing!

Drawer, window and screen door slides: A thin coat of wax on wood or aluminum rail surfaces helps drawers and screen doors slide smoothly. Likewise to un-stick windows: use the wax to lubricate the slides.

Wax Ring as a Preservative

Wax wood: For wood that would benefit from being sealed but is not in a heavy traffic area, such as exposed beams and joists. Melt wax and apply when warm with a brush or rag.

One commentator recommends combining and heating equal parts wax, linseed oil, and turpentine, with a warning to not mix over open flame as the turpentine will ignite.

Preserve metal: Melt wax and brush on. If a durable and shiny finish is needed, buff it out.

Coat hand tools: Before storing rub all metal parts and wooden handles with wax, this will prevent rust and degrading of handles.

Miscellaneous uses for a Wax Ring

In your orchard: as a substitute for grafting wax for apple and other trees, and for saving girdled trees!

Fence posts: pour melted wax over the top of exposed fence posts to reduce water seepage.

How about Bullet casting? Probably not recommended, unless the ring has a high percentage of beeswax. This one has already been tried more than once….

Here’s another one: The toilet wax ring can be warmed up and worked into leather boots, gloves and hats to waterproof them.

Undoubtedly there are many other uses. The bottom line? Might be worth having an extra wax ring or two around, even if just for the intended purpose of keeping nasty leaks off your bathroom floor!



  1. Fire Starters; such as using the old Egg Create method or by simply dipping/smearing a hunk of wood in the wax, light it and poof instant fire. OR take a hunk and wrap it in a couple sheets of TP and light it…..

    In my more evil days, I would smear a little on my brothers Bike Handle Bars or a dab on his seat …… no wonder he’s not talked to me in 17 years HAHAHAHA

    Ever see a Garage Door whereas the rollers slid along the track rather than roll? Forget the oil on the wheels, smear some of this goo on the wheels, and in the bearings. Like magic.

    Those things are cheap, ever need one when the neighbor’s kid drops something in the Toilet, and Joe next door has to remove the toilet and has no wax ring? His wife will think you’re a Hero.

    Another good reminder Bogan,

        1. I did the math…with your stash, you can make 64,372 fire starters!

        2. hermit us;
          Not me, amazing I’m still an estimator for the company. HAHAHA
          But I do turn a good profit for em :-)

  2. I use both crayons and candles(both paraffin and bees wax) to lubricate sticky zippers. Don’t see why toilet bowl ring wax wouldn’t work also. Maybe a temporary water seal on a leaky container or small hole in a tarp/tent? To make an emergency candle? Wipe on carbon steel surfaces of knives, garden tools, guns, etc. as a rust preventative? As a lubricant for cast bullets? As a flux to aid separation of impurities when melting scrap lead for bullets?

    1. Dennis;
      I have done the flux in the lead thing, it seems to flare up a little quick, but works.

    2. I read on a plumbing forum that somebody was using wax ring in lieu of more expensive silicone grease. The key is to not perturb plastic and rubber components with petroleum products. If the wax rings are now being made with petroleum products that might be ill-advised.

  3. I know they work real good for waxing thread for sewing leather, melt easy and are softer than beeswax. Good for lube on awls for punching holes in leather too as well as for rubbing out leather to help water proof. Have seen it melted and rubbed on canvas too.

    1. Might work for burnishing leather edges. What say you my leathercraft Yoda?

      1. I think im going to give it a try, have a couple slings i need to finish for Christmas

    2. Question, does the wax have a tendency to crack over time with flexible materials such as canvas or leather especially when exposed in cold weather? Regards

      1. Inprepper
        It shouldnt, the method ive seen used to wax canvas or denim was to heat the fabric with a heat gun or blow drier, it shouldnt end up thick enough that it would crack, the goal is more to impregnate the fibers than to build up on the surface, ive done it to canvas with beeswax on a hot day, just spread the canvas (15 oz/yd) on a sheet of plywood, let it warm up real good in the sun then rubbed it in using a rag to wipe over it and rub some more, worked pretty good considering, was for a canvas slicker i made for a friend and didnt hear any complaints

  4. I don’t even want to think what these things are made in China – and you are spreading it everywhere? Under my toilet is just fine.

    1. hermit us;
      NOT used wax-rings…. SHEEEESH
      Ya need to lay off the shine a little :-) :-)

      1. NRP
        Who knows what goes into these products – just remember that they put melamine into baby food and lead into children’s costume jewelry. Used wax rings would not be out of the question when it comes to third world manufacturing. Yuk.

  5. One of the mentions was putting the wax on top of fence posts. I guess it depends on which kind of wood is used for the post. At the farm, we used hedge and all of the posts I put in decades ago are still perfect except for a little surface weathering. If it is pine or something else, yeah that would probably be great putting some wax on it. Don’t forget, cows chew on anything and everything so if there are cattle around don’t expect the wax to last for very long.

  6. Back in my youth when I ran a trap line I used toilet wax rings on my traps to prevent rust. Just heat it up in an old pan or can and brush it on the trap and chain. Worked good on snares too.

  7. – I have seen some people recommend paraffin wax over just a primer for practice against the idiot in the mirror for quick draw practice. Since the wax we are discussing is softer, I suspect that it might be more forgiving still, when using a heavy plate glass mirror. Might be a thought for those with limited access to an appropriate range. Just melt and pour a quarter inch layer of wax and press a primed case mouth into it. This would be for a revolver, obviously. What do you think?
    – Papa S.

    1. Papa Smurf;
      Sure would gum the ‘help’ out of the barrel…. and a heck of a mess to clean…..

      1. – Have to say I have never been tempted to try it. I agree that it would likely make a help of a mess. Just thought I’d mention it, maybe someone else is more ambitious that direction than me.
        – Papa S.

        1. Many exhibition fast draw artists use the paraffin projectile for their demonstrations. One I recall, used them to show his speed by placing paper cups on the back of his gun hand at waist level, go for his draw and shoot the cup twice before it hit the ground using wax bullets. I’m thinking the toilet bowl ring wax would be too soft.

        2. Dennis,
          I think they use casting wax, has a higher melt point and is a fair bit harder once cooled, but is easy to carve and holds shape well

        3. Tommyboy,

          I think they use casting wax, has a higher melt point and is a fair bit harder once cooled, but is easy to carve and holds shape well

          You can use beeswax or paraffin for most of this stuff also; but, if you need a harder compound, you can blend Stearic acid into it until you reach the consistency you need. Many years ago I used to make decorative candles, and the Stearic acid was used as both a hardener and a mold release.

  8. I like this vein of thought of alternate uses of intended purpose.
    What is wax? is it a petroleum product?
    I have made my own firestarter bricks out of wood chips and wax, I will try this potty wax and perhaps a little kerosene.
    I know NRP would consider this a sin, but melted into a roll of toilet paper would make a nice torch.
    I oil my boots every season, perhaps this stool wax melted into some mineral oil would work.

  9. Great suggested uses for wax rings. I do maintenance work and the single wax ring you get with toilets I don’t like to use, usually buy the type with the plastic cone with the wax around it. So I have a pile of wax rings wanting to use them or trash them. Guess now I can make use of them


  10. For the boat owners in the crowd, many sailors keep a few rings on the boat. If a thru hull fitting leaks or breaks, or if you get a perforation, crack in your hull, etc from an impact, these rings form a ready and strong temporary emergency patch or plug to get you safely back. Can be applied in water from underneath, or to wet leaking surfaces. Keep some small squares of fiberglass window screens to layer in the patch and create strength.

  11. I smashed one wax ring into the bottom of a shallow tin can (it was a cut down tobacco can), topped the rest of the way with steel bbs and fitted with a coarse screen lid to keep the bbs in. I use it like a pincushion for my leatherworking needles and awls. The needles go down through the bbs and the tips get waxed. Works fantastic!

  12. Wax rings make very good wax for crossbow strings, it
    is thick and pliable so it protects the string and does not flake off like candle wax.

  13. Make your own cosmoline wax car undercoating for rust prevention by melting wax rings and add boiled linseed oil and a solvent like mineral spirits. 3 spray cans of RP-342 cosmoline cost $46 on Amazon so it’s definitely worth making yourself.

  14. Was wondering how well it might work as a wax finish on a wood turning lathe project, rubbing it in as the wood turned on the lathe.

  15. i have used thousands of them in my before life and everyone i got from the supply houses said 100% beeswax on the box. it may be different now, been a few years. Oatey was the brand most wholesalers carried.

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