PVC Cleaner VS Primer (Which One’s Better)

There are a lot of you out there who don’t know the difference between a PVC cleaner and a primer. And if you do know then maybe you don’t know which one’s the best one for you. To solve all these dilemmas and put an end to the argument once and for all we have one special article for you.

So the question boils down to one crucial point: PVC cleaner vs Primer– which product to go for?

To know the right answer it’s important to have an idea of the pros and cons of each product. Like the PVC cleaner; the pros- easy usage, cheap and the cons- fume creation, and water problems. On the other hand, for primer; the pros- smooth joining, variety, and cons- toxicity, and a lengthy process.

To know more in detail let’s have a look at them individually, shall we?

Table of Contents

Comparison Table Between PVC Cleaner vs Primer

PVC Cleaner vs Primer

Time flies. You have lots of work at hand, and feel overwhelmed. This comparison table will help you to save time without sacrificing knowing the itsy bitsy of PVC cleaner and primer. Skim the table and have a clear picture of their differences. 

But, as it’s all about your home or office plumbing system. We suggest you go through the entire post. Though it needs 2 minutes, it cuts 2 hours from your working time. 

Different subject PVC Cleaner PVC Primer 
Types Cleaning agent Fitting agent
Using process Spraying and container Container 
Purpose Clean PVC, CPVC, ABS, DWV surface Join PVC, CPVC, and ABS, pipes 
Weather resistant Dry weather All weather (wet, humid, and dry)
Drying time Few seconds More than cleaner
HarmfulnessCreates  fumesToxic in nature
PriceComparatively cheaper Relatively expensive (but not too much)

Quick Overview Of PVC Cleaner

pvc cleaner

By listening to the name, you can predict its use, right? Yes, your prediction is correct. Congratulations! 

Due to years of stains, dirt, and air debris, most PVC pipes become sticking and greasy. 

So, what happens? 

Absolutely, they lost their shine and made your plumbing’s outer surface odd to look at. 

The cleaner comes to magically solve this issue.

There are mainly two types of cleaners. One is to spray, and another is to apply. No matter which one you use on your years-old greasy PVC pipes. It will splendidly remove the grease and present you with new and shiny plumbing PVC pipes within a few seconds. 

The application is easy and simple, so that anyone can use it like a pro.

Thinking about cost. 

If I ask, what is the cost of your new plumbing system to replace the old PVC pipes? Or 

Getting praise from your guests due to the aesthetic appearance of your PVC pipes? 

Sure, the first one costs you a huge amount and the second one is just beyond any cost calculation. 

Here, the PVC cleaner costs you not more than $10 to $20 bucks. That’s feeling like, wow! 

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  • Cleans your greasy and sticky PVC pipes like a champ
  • Easy to apply on the pipes without making the surroundings messy
  • Dries fast and efficient to keep your pipe clean for a longer time 

Quick Overview Of Primer

primer cleaner

You have to join PVC pipes to many channels to complete your plumbing system. But, in most cases, the PVC pipes’ diameter is the same. This is why your struggle reaches its peak to join them. 

Here, the PVC primer and cement come to chase the struggle and welcome a smooth pipe joining experience. 

The primer is a liquid agent formulated to soften the PVC pipes (not melted) to insert one channel into another. And the cement works to attach them to prevent leaking flowing water tightly. 

On top-notch, it is all-weather friendly. As a result, you can apply the primer on the pipe even in a wet and humid environment. 

A simple using process allows you to apply the primer alone without seeking other help. It takes around 30 seconds to dry and bond the pipes, which promotes your productivity and efficiency to complete the job quickly. 


  • Properly penetrate the pipes to insert the channel
  • Quality ensures durable bonding and no water leakage
  • Most temperature resistant offer a wide range of using environment 

In-depth Difference Between PVC Cleaner And Primer

PVC Cleaner vs Primer

You probably have the fundamental aspects you want to learn about PVC cleaner and primer. However, side-by-side features comparison makes the whole guide a bite-chunk. That is easy to process and remember for your brain.

1. What comes in the package?

First, we love to let you know what you receive in the package. Because once you know the number of items, you can easily define how it works. 

PVC cleaner

It comes with a container or spray can with clear solvent agents.

PVC primer

It comes in two containers; one is a primer, and another is cement as the primer softens the pipes, and the cement bonds them.  

2. What are their functions?

Since the cleaner and primer look the same. So it’s quite daunting for a novice plumber or DIY home improver to define their characteristics of using purpose. But, identifying their unique distinction is important to choose the right one. 

PVC cleaner

This cleaner is exclusively used for keeping the pipes vivid and captivated by cleaning grease, grime, sticker and tape residues. Though, it comes with a quality of joining the pipes. But, the bond won’t be worthwhile for long periods. So most users recommend PVC cleaner to clean the pipes, not bond them. 

PVC primer

On the other hand, the primer is manufactured for softening and penetrating the pipes to insert one into another ideally. As it wets the pipes, their light air debris may clean. But that isn’t something to mention. So there is no way to use it for cleaning PVC pipes.

3. Where to use them?

Though, both the PVC cleaner and primer come for PVC pipes. They have some specific surfaces to use. If you know the surfaces and apply them, there is a high chance of getting the maximum results. 

PVC cleaner

It is formulated with many cleaning chemicals. PVC doors, windows, plumbing pipes, roof vent holes, etc., are the best spaces to use. However, you shouldn’t use it in the toilet’s PVC pipes because it won’t work in wet conditions. 

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PVC primer

There are no hard and fast surfaces to use the primer. The best surface to apply the primer is any space where you have to join PVC pipes.

4. How to use them?

The using process and the methods vary for cleaner and primer. Their performance also depends on using methods. 

PVC cleaner

To use the PVC cleaner, follow the easy step-by-step instructions. Such as

  • Choose the pipe that you want to clean. 
  • Wipe it with a clean and dry rug to remove air debris. So the cleaner will work directly on the pipe. 
  • Spray or apply the cleaner on the pipe. 
  • Wait a few seconds and let the cleaner dissolve the pipe’s dirt, grease, and grime. 
  • Again wipe the pipe with a clean rug and see the magic. Your pipe looks like new. 
PVC primer

Though, the PVC primer using process is a little longer than cleaner. But that is straightforward. 

  • Cut the pipes chamfer, square, and debur with a smooth edge. 
  • Wipe the joining channel with a clean rug. 
  • Apply the pipes’ primer inside and outside (2″ for 40 and 4″ for 80 schedules) with the applicator brush. 
  • Now, apply the cement following the same process. 
  • Insert the pipes into one another and precisely hold for 30 seconds. 
  • Leave the pipes, and remove the excess cement with primer application.

Best Primer For PVC And PVC Cleaner

After learning the differences, it’s time to buy the best PVC primer or cleaner you require. But what to choose when the offline or online markets are overcrowded? Let me help you by suggesting a primer and a cleaner.

Oatey 30246 PVC Regular Primer and Cement

This primer and cement is a combo package for your PVC, CPVC, ABS, DWV, and many other plumbing fixtures. So you won’t need to buy different primers for different pipes. It meets D2564, ASTM F 656, and many other industry standards that ensure its quality. Its withstand temperature ranges are 40°f to 110°f. That helps to use it in water-based areas even in rush weather conditions. 

  • Multi-purpose primer to use potable water, conduit, or pressure pipes
  • Easy to use and all weather friendly
  • Clear and fast drying requires only a few seconds to join the bond

Oatey 30782 Clear Cleaner

Since Oatey is a popular brand in the plumbing industry, we choose PVC cleaner from this brand. You can apply this cleaner on all diameters and scheduled pipes, including PVC, CPVC, ABS, and many more. It meets California South Coast Air Quality Management District to ensure low environmental VOC. 

  • Easy application under 40°f temperature 
  • Quick flowing and evaporation to speed up your cleaning process 
  • Fast acting to clean grease, grime, and other dirt stains.

Check this guide to know more: How to Clean Wooden Floorboards?

Also, read the related guide: Valspar Vs Olympic Paint: Which One to Choose?

Related Questions

Is PVC cleaner the same as primer?

No, PVC cleaner isn’t the same as a primer. Because they are used for completely different purposes. The cleaner cleans the PVC pipes’ grease, stickers and tape’s sticky residue, and other substances. In contrast, the primer softens the pipes to prepare for ideal bonding. You have to use a primer after using the cleaner to join the pipes. 

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Is PVC primer and cleaner the same thing?

PVC primer and cleaner distinguish in their nature and use. The primer helps to penetrate the pipes to insert it into the other pipe, while the cleaner cleans the pipe to look shiny and new. 

How to remove PVC primer?

If there is any excess primer on the PVC pipes, it’s easy to remove that with PVC cleaner, rubbing alcohol, and acetone-based nail polish remover. You can use any one that is available. Here are the steps

  • Saturate a clean rug with PVC cleaner and blot the pipe with the rug in a circular motion. 
  • The dampened rug will clean the primer stains. 
  • If there are more primer stains, repeat the process until the pipes become stain free. 

Can you use nail polish remover to clean pipe?

You can use 100% acetone-based nail polish remover to clean a pipe. Acetone is a heavy-duty cleaning agent that can remove grease and stains from most surfaces, including pipes, tiles, wood, metal, glass, cloth, etc. 

Is PVC primer necessary?

PVC primer is necessary to ensure hassle-free plumbing jobs and leak-free plumbing joints. You can join the pipes without using a primer. But that won’t be as sturdy, durable, and reliable as the primer’s joint. So primer application on PVC pipes is the wisest decision than not using. 

How to remove purple primer from PVC?

Applying a few drops of PVC cleaner on a clean rug and wiping the purple primer stains PVC pipes is the cherry-pick method to remove the primer from PVC. 

Can I use acetone as pvc primer?

Acetone is one of the main elements of PVC primer. So, you can use it instead of primer on the PVC pipes. But acetone isn’t as effective, efficient, and worthwhile as PVC primer. 

Do I need to use primer on PVC?

Although it is not mandatory to use a primer on PVC we recommend you to do it either way. That’s because the primer can soften the surface on the PVC pipes and provide an even surface for the solvent cement to work on. So, be sure to use a primer the next time you work with a PVC pipe.

What happens if you don’t use primer on PVC?

You see the primer works as a base of protection for all the PVC pipes. Now in case if you don’t apply it the pipe will rip off from the wall after a certain amount of time. The PVC cannot bond with the wall without a primer.

What will remove PVC primer?

The nail polish remover that you use to sweep away your nail polish can be used to remove PVC primer. Other than that, you can also use methyl ethyl ketone to clean off the PVC primer once and for all. Don’t worry; it might sound technical but it’s a product that you can find in your paint cupboards. Just have a look.

To Sum Up

That’s our take on PVC cleaner vs primer. We hope you have a better idea of what to go for now. But if you still have confusion then we recommend you stick to primer.

But make sure you pick a good brand. Otherwise, you will regret it later.

With that being said we’ll say our goodbyes here. Hope you have a good day. Bye-bye! 

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