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Command Strips Not Sticking? How To Use Them Correctly

If your Command Strips aren't sticking to the wall, it's most likely a problem with the wall, not the strip.

If you’re having trouble with Command strips not sticking to the wall, factors like temperature, humidity, and surface compatibility may be to blame. In this post, you’ll find all the tips, tricks, and know-how you need in order to apply Command strips correctly, as well as a few extra tips that can come in handy when applying or removing adhesive products.

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about Command strips, hooks, and other products on my blog, and not because I was paid to — I just think they’re really useful! I use Command products all over my house to keep cords tidyorganize cooking utensils, and decorate for parties and events.

The “installation” process for hanging strips and other Command products is quick and easy, and I don’t often run into problems with them. But every once in a while, I end up with Command strips that just won’t stay stuck, or that won’t budge when I try to remove them!) If you’re dealing with either issue, you’ve come to the right place for answers!

For more help with sticky (or not-so-sticky) situations, check out my guide on getting suction cups to stick!

4 Factors To Consider When Using Command Strips

Command Strips are rated for certain weights - don't try to hang things to heavy for the strip.

1. Weight

Make sure the product you’re considering can hold the weight of whatever project you’re planning to use it for. Command strips, hooks, and other products state right on the package how much weight they can hold, making it easy to know whether it will work for what you have in mind.

You can get any kind of Command Strips to stick to the wall if you follow the directions.

2. Temperature

If you’re applying Command strips outdoors, you’ll have the best results if the product is rated for outdoor use and the temperature is above 15°F. Once the bond is fully set, the strips should stay put at any temperature between -20°F and 125°F.

Command Strips stick best to smooth walls.

3. Humidity

Some Command products are designed to work in wet or humid environments like bathrooms, but most standard strips and hooks don’t work as well in warm or humid locations. Keep this in mind if you live in an area where it’s very humid year-round.

Command Strips are so handy -- I stick them to walls all over the house and studio.

4. Surface Type

Surface incompatibility is commonly the culprit behind Command strips not sticking. Before attempting to apply an adhesive product to any surface, make sure the product you want to apply is designed to work on that surface. (In general, regular Command strips stick well to most indoor surfaces, while the clear strips work best on very smooth surfaces.)

Use Command strips for a brick wall by applying hot glue to the strip to give it a helping hand.

Unfortunately, Command strips don’t tend to adhere well to wallpaper, fabric, brick, or highly textured walls (some texture is fine, though!) If you need to hang Command strips on brick for any reason, I’ve found that a dab of hot glue works wonders.

Finally, it’s important to wait at least 7 days before attempting to apply Command strips to a freshly painted surface. (Even then, you may have trouble getting them to stick to certain kinds of paint.)

To make sure your Command strips stick to the wall, clean it with alcohol before application.

How To Apply Command Strips (Adhesive Strips, Picture Hanging Strips, Etc.)

1. Prepare The Surface

Prepare the surface by cleaning it thoroughly — any dust, dirt, or residue can prevent the adhesive from forming a strong bond. (I typically use a Magic Eraser for this, because it’s quick, easy, and safe for most surfaces.)

2. Wipe The Surface With Rubbing Alcohol

Next, wipe the spot with quick-drying rubbing alcohol to remove any lingering dirt or residues and leave it squeaky clean. (Don’t use a household cleaner, as some may leave behind a slippery film that will hinder your efforts.)

3. Apply And Press For 30 Seconds

Apply the strip according to the directions on the package. In most cases, this means pressing the entire strip firmly to the wall for 30 seconds or so. Don’t underestimate the importance of this step — pressing firmly along the length of the strip is crucial if you want to form a long-lasting bond.

For Picture Hanging Strips: Press the hook and loop strips together first, then peel the paper backing off one strip and apply it to the frame. (Repeat with any additional sets of strips.) Next, peel off the remaining paper backing and press the frame firmly against the wall for 30 seconds. Remove the frame from the wall by pulling the bottom edge toward you and up, then press the wall strips again for 30 seconds.

4. Wait For One Hour (Or More)

After applying the strip (and the other parts of the product, if any), wait at least one hour before putting any weight on it or reattaching anything. A little bit of patience on your part can help you avoid lot of potential problems! (If the directions indicate you should wait longer than that, follow the package directions for best results.)

To remove Command Strips, pull straight down on the tab, not out.

BONUS: Tips For Removing Command Strips

When it’s time to remove a Command strip, the key to doing it gently is to pull down on the tab, not out — pulling out can easily pull paint right off a painted surface! Use one hand to hold the strip in place with one hand while pulling down on the tab with the other. (This will prevent the strip from suddenly releasing from the wall, which often has painful results!)

To remove Command Strips without the tab, use a hair dryer and dental floss.

Accidentally ripped off the removal tab? No problem — just grab a hair dryer and a piece of dental floss. Blow your hair dryer on the strip for 20-30 seconds to warm up the adhesive, then wiggle the floss between the the strip and the surface it’s stuck to. You should be able to work it down the strip and release it without any damage.

Can You Make Command Strips Sticky Again? I’ve read claims online that you can use a drop or two of water to make adhesive strips sticky again, but I don’t think this would work with typical Command strips, because removing them from the pull tab stretches them to the point that they can’t be reused. You could use this trick with reusable adhesive products though, like reusable mounting circles!)

Do you have any other tips for when Command strips won’t stick to the wall?

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • Hi Jillee, First thank you for your posts. I would like to question your suggestion about using hot glue to help stick the Command Strips outside. I have been using hot glue for years and unless there is a glue that has changed the fact that exposed to rain, humidity and hot sun, hot glue has its limitations. If there IS a hot glue that has overcome these problems please inform us. Thank you for taking the time to read. Have a great day.

  • I put command strips on my door to hang a blanket so my dog can’t look out. 3 of them stick no problem not the same spot falls no matter what swap or cleaning I do. I’m at a loss why 3 stick and the 4th won’t. It’s a small blanket, probably a pound and the command strips I’m using are for 3 pounds. Any ideas?

  • Jillee – Can you elaborate more on the brick option? Do you forego the sticky strip and just apply hot glue to the flat back part of the command hook? And then how do you get the hook / glue off the brick?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Sasha, as long as your item is not really heavy, the best thing to do is put a big blob as opposed to smearing the hot glue. When you want to remove it, use a flat screwdriver or knife and separate the glue from the brick. It will come right off.

      • Will the hot glue blob removal work without pulling off the plaster and exposing the paper underneath the paint? My walls are plaster over cinderblock. Why the previous owners did this in their guest house (where I live) is unknown. This has had me stymied for years, but I’m really sick of having mostly empty walls!!

  • I want to use command hooks to hang strings of globe lights on our porch. But the walls and frame of the porch is made of textured vinyl siding. Would the hot glue trick make the command strips stick? Do you think the hot glue would damage the vinyl siding (ie melt it)?

  • Ty for your posts. I enjoy reading them. In glad that I came across your post
    I have semi textured walls. Seems I cannot get the command hooks to stay ever. I do clean area, push and hold in place for 3 mins with timer.
    Ty for you reply.

  • Hi Jillee,
    These are great tips! I have shied away from Command Strips and hooks because I am afraid to ruin the surface – but your post has given me confidence to give them a try!

  • Thanks for the humidity tip. I have never gotten a strip to stay on period, and it made me feel like an idiot. Having first tried in Norther Virginia, with it’s notoriously high humidity and now in Asheville, NC during a humid summer, I know why they won’t work for me.

  • I have cleaned the area with alcohol and it still won’t stick. though it did stick for 6 months this time. I live in a house trailer and have paneling throughout the house.

  • I use a Command Cord Bundler on motor of my Ninja keeps cord in place and also provides a better grip when lifting it because of its smooth surface and shape. Also use to control cords in my office.

  • I love command hooks……………….I use them in my home (ie: kitchen, bedroom to hang c-pap hose and mask) and in my trailer. It’s great because the trailer walls are thin and screws won’t hold but command hooks do. Only problem is with textured walls…………………….

  • After reading your post about the Command Cord Bundler, I bought one and attached it to the back of my Kitchen Aid mixer. Perfect! I keep hoping 3M will develop a Command hanger for textured walls!

  • I bought the command bin specifically made for the shower. Unfortunately it didn’t hold. One day later all the shampoo and the bin were on the floor. Any help here?

    • Clean the area first, making sure to scrub well. Then follow up by cleaning with rubbing alcohol. Hang the strips and let them sit overnight before adding any weight :-)

      • I did exactly as you said and it fell. Do you think the hot glue will solve the issue? The tile is not smooth. Now I don’t have any more strips for wet areas. They don’t seem to sell extras at Home Depot or Lowes….

      • If it’s a course, stone tile, you might be out of luck. Hot glue won’t hold in the shower, unfortunately :-( They do sell extra strips on Amazon, if you want to give it another try! http://amzn.to/2EBx7Ei

  • At our house I told my mom about the idea . She loved it and has put two inside the bathroom on the door for hanging dirty clothes while bathing or showering. It works if, you intend to wear something again before doing laundry.

  • I use a heavy duty command strip on a wall inside my door in corner of my kitchen to hang my purse on. It is always right where I need it as I go out to my garage

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