Here’s the secret to how to make a suction cup stick: Choose a smooth, flat, non-porous surface, clean it thoroughly, then press a clean suction cup firmly against the surface. Leave it alone for 24 hours afterward to ensure a strong seal.
Unfortunately, I had to learn these tricks the hard way! Not too long ago, I was at my wit’s end with the suction cup that was supposed to keep Dave’s shaving mirror aloft. After the mirror had fallen off our shower wall several times, I was determined to find out how to make suction cups stick better once and for all!
So I did some research, employed what I’d learned about how to get suction cups to stick, and I’m happy to report that we’ve had barely any difficulties since! Learn how to make suction cup hooks and accessories stick below!
How To Make Suction Cups Stick In 7 Easy Steps
Step 1 – Choose A Suitable Surface
The ideal surface for mounting a suction cup is clean, flat, and completely smooth. Even the strongest suction cups won’t adhere well to porous or textured surfaces, because it’s next to impossible to achieve a bond that’s free of air pockets. (That’s why suction cups don’t work well on textured tile, car dashboards, and other textured surfaces.)
That being said, there are many surfaces that suctions cups will stick to, including glass, hard plastic, acrylic, fiberglass, and stainless steel. You can affix suction cups to windows, mirrors, glass shower doors, the front of your dishwasher, or even the side of a metal filing cabinet without problems.
Step 2 – Clean The Surface
Before attempting to apply a suction cup, it’s important to make sure the mounting surface is squeaky clean. Scrub your chosen surface with your preferred household cleaner, then rinse with water and dry thoroughly with a lint-free cloth.
The goal of cleaning the surface is to remove any dirt or debris that could get in the way of proper adhesion. (Struggling to get rid of soap scum or mineral deposits on shower walls? Try my powerful homemade shower cleaner!)
Step 3 – Wipe With Alcohol
Once the surface is clean, dampen a clean cloth with rubbing alcohol and use it to wipe the surface again. Why clean it twice, you ask? Rubbing alcohol is great for taking care of any lingering traces of dirt or grime, which will help make the suction cup stick.
(Similarly, rubbing alcohol also comes in handy when hanging Command strips or hooks — clean the mounting surface, then wipe it with rubbing alcohol before applying the adhesive strips for a strong bond that’s sure to stay put.)
Step 4 – Wash The Suction Cup
After cleaning the surface, clean the suction cup itself. Not only will a clean suction cup bond more easily to the surface, but warm water will make it more pliable so you can press it down hard enough to create strong suction.
Rinse the suction cup under warm water, paying special attention to the inside, then shake off any excess water. (Don’t dry it, though — the water droplets on the inside of the cup will help prevent air pockets from forming inside the seal.)
Step 5 – Press The Cup Firmly Against The Surface
Finally, it’s time to apply the suction cup! Press the suction cup against the surface you want to apply it to, then press down on the middle firmly, making sure there are no air bubbles between the cup and the surface.
Bonus Tip: Before applying the suction cup, smear a very small amount of petroleum jelly on the inside of the suction cup. Like the water droplets I mentioned above, a thin layer of Vaseline can help form an airtight vacuum seal. (Too much could hinder the seal, so use a light hand!)
Step 6 – Leave It Alone
For best results, don’t skip this particular suction cup hack! After attaching the suction cup, leave it alone for 24 hours to give the bond time to “set.” Don’t put any weight on the suction cup or the item it’s attached to, and do your best to keep the area dry during this time.
Leaving it alone for a full day will give the moisture inside the suction cup time to dry, ensuring that the cup and surface are fully bonded.
Step 7 – Check The Seal Occasionally
Once your suction cup is stuck, be sure to check the bond every once in a while. Press the suction cup firmly against the surface from time to time to remove any air pockets that may have formed.
Keep in mind that temperature and humidity changes (which are common in the bathroom and kitchen) can affect its pliability, and may cause air pockets to develop or the suction cup to pull away from the surface.
What If The Suction Cup Still Won’t Stick?
Like everything else on planet Earth, suction cups can get old. They may become less pliable or even brittle, or they may have tiny cracks or imperfections that you may not be able to see. Imperfections like these can make it impossible to make them stick, so you may need to replace them after a while.
The “Problem Solved!” Series
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Do you ever have a problem getting suction cups to stick?
How To Get Suction Cups To Stick
- Choose a suitable surface: clean, flat, and completely smooth.
- Clean, rinse, and dry the surface with a lint-free cloth.
- Wipe down the surface with rubbing alcohol.
- Rinse the suction cup, then shake off the excess water (but don't dry it).
- Press the suction cup firmly against the clean surface, making sure there are no air bubbles.
- Don't touch the suction cup for 24 hours to give the bond time to set.
- Remember to press down on the suction cup occasionally to remove any air pockets that may form over time.