Leaking ceramic teapot - how to fix?
July 3, 2016 8:21 AM   Subscribe

I have a ceramic teapot that leaks very slowly from the bottom when hot water is poured into it. How do I fix it?

This is the teapot. The teapot didn't always leak, it only started doing this a few months ago. I've had it for about a year.

There are no visible cracks or holes on the outside of the teapot, but when hot water is poured in, a few beads of liquid will form on the outside, near the base. It's definitely not condensation, because if you make tea, then beads of tea will start leaking out the bottom. On the inside of the teapot, a very fine hairline crack is visible.

If you pour cold liquid into the teapot, it doesn't leak. It also stops leaking once the hot water cools down enough.
posted by pravit to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Response by poster: Actually, I'm mistaken. It leaks with cold water, but more slowly than with hot water.
posted by pravit at 8:24 AM on July 3, 2016

Best answer: It’s almost certainly cracked all the way through where the water is beading out. When you put cold water in, the pot shrinks a bit so compresses the crack & slows the flow rate.

The internet appears to believe that you can use the casein from spoiled milk to fix a cracked tea pot. Might be worth a try.
posted by pharm at 8:46 AM on July 3, 2016

I have a ceramic teapot with a hairline crack, and I mitigated the leak by covering it with a thin layer of Elmer's ceramic glue on the inside. The glue gets pliable if I leave water/tea in the pot for extended amounts of time, so I just have to remember not to do that, but otherwise it works well.
posted by esker at 11:22 AM on July 3, 2016

Best replacing it, really. Most glues contain chemicals you don't want to be consuming.
posted by AliceBlue at 2:06 PM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

DAP makes a food safe silicone sealant.The sealant is good to 400 F so the hot water should be no problem. You;ll probably have to smear it on the inside over the crack.
posted by Zedcaster at 3:48 PM on July 3, 2016

Best answer: There is an old method of soaking rice in a teapot that will fix small cracks. Presumably the starch from the rice acts as a glue to plug the leaks.

I've heard about it anecdotally (from other potters) but never tried it so I don't know the details.
posted by pantarei70 at 3:59 PM on July 3, 2016

Best answer: Make a thin rice porridge and pour it warm into the teapot. Let that sit overnight and then rinse out with cold water. This is the technique that I have used before to fix Chinese clay pots and earthenware pots.
posted by Infernarl at 4:49 PM on July 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

All these suggestions would seal the crack you have now. But if it's cracked, there's a good chance that it will get more cracked in future, due to thermal stress or an accidental bump, and that's likely to make it shatter and spill the contents all over. Once ceramic begins to crack, it's a weak point for stress and the crack will get longer.

I don't really see any reason to try to save it, unless it's a keepsake or an antique. Take it outside and use it for a planter, and buy a new one!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:38 PM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Both Etsy and eBay have Uzbek tea sets for about $50 including several cups. I would replace it
posted by blob at 6:47 PM on July 3, 2016

Response by poster: For posterity:
I poured some milk in the teapot and let it sit for a day until I could see the milk drops beading on the outside of the pot and hardening. Then I poured out the excess milk and let it dry. Then I washed out the inside. I have been using the teapot ever since without any leaking!
posted by pravit at 11:24 AM on July 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

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