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 tidy, organize 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
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.)
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.)
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!)
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?