Tired of suction cups popping off your shower wall or sliding down your mirror? Use these simple tips to get them to stick once and for all!

Jill Nystul·October 22, 2020



Suction cups can be a super handy option for hanging up decor (what’s Halloween without the decorations?!), organizers, and so much more. At our house, we find them especially helpful in the bathroom, since shower walls aren’t really conducive to other methods for hanging things.

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In my own shower, I have several suction cups on my shower walls that perform a variety of functions, from providing a place to hang loofahs to keeping Dave’s shaving mirror aloft. And while we love the versatility and functionality of our suction cup shower accessories now, there was a time not too long ago where I was at my wit’s end with them!

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After walking into our bathroom to find Dave’s shaving mirror sitting haphazardly in the sink after its suction cup had failed yet again, I was determined to find out how to get suction cups to stick once and for all! And thanks to the following tips I discovered during my research, I can happily report that when it comes to all of the suction cups around our home, it’s been nothing but smooth sailing ever since! :-)

So the next time you need to get a suction cup to stick, just follow these steps and see what a difference it makes!

How To Get Suction Cups To Stick

1. Choose A Suitable Surface

The ideal surface for applying a suction cup is one that’s clean, flat, and completely smooth. Even the strongest suction cups won’t adhere to porous surfaces for long because it’s impossible to achieve a bond that’s free of air pockets.

That being said, there are several types of surfaces that suctions cups will stick to, including glass, hard plastic, acrylic, Formica, and stainless steel. You can affix suction cups to windows, mirrors, the front of your dishwasher, or the side of a metal file cabinet without many problems.

Avoid using suction cups on surfaces that are curved or textured, like your car dashboard, because it’ll be very difficult to achieve a lasting bond. If you need to hang something in your car, you’re better off exploring other adhesive options.

2. Clean The Surface

Before attempting to apply a suction cup, it’s important to make sure the surface you’re applying it to is squeaky clean. Scrub your chosen surface with your preferred household cleaner, then rinse and dry it 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. If you’re dealing with your shower walls and could use a good method for getting rid of soap scum or mineral deposits, check out this cleaning hack.

3. Clean It Again!

Once the surface is clean, you’ll want to wipe it down again, but this time using rubbing alcohol. Why clean it twice, you ask? The main reason is that rubbing alcohol isn’t great at removing surface dirt, but it’s perfect for wiping away any last traces of grime before adhering your suction cup!

In addition to suction cups, rubbing alcohol is also the best way to prep a surface before hanging Command strips or hooks. Clean the surface first as usual, then wipe it with rubbing alcohol before applying the adhesive.

4. Clean The Suction Cup Itself

In addition to cleaning the surface you want to attach it to, you’ll want to clean the suction cup itself too. Rinse it under warm water, paying special attention to the inside of the cup, then shake off the excess water. (Don’t dry it though—water droplets on the the inside of the cup can help prevent air pockets from forming inside the seal.)

On top of cleaning the cup, the warm water will also help soften the material, making it more pliable so that it’s easier to press down and create a strong bond with the surface.

(And in case you haven’t caught on by now, cleanliness is very important when it comes to putting up suction cups! Nine times out of 10, it’s dirt, grease, or grime that is to blame for keeping your suction cup from staying stuck.)

5. Press Firmly

Finally, it’s time to apply the suction cup! :-) Press the suction cup firmly against the surface you want to stick it to, making sure there are no air bubbles between the cup and the surface.

6. Let It Set

After attaching the suction cup, leave it alone for 24 hours to give the bond time to “set.” This means don’t put any extra weight on the suction cup or the item it’s attached to, and do your best to avoid getting the area wet.

Leaving it alone for a full day will help ensure that the small amount of water inside the suction cup has dried and that the cup and surface are fully bonded.

7. Check In

Once your suction cup is stuck, be sure to check the bond every once in a while. Press down on the suction cup from time to time to remove any air pockets that may have formed.

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Keep in mind that temperature and humidity changes (which are common in the bathroom and kitchen) can affect the cup’s pliability, which could also cause air pockets to develop or for the suction cup to pull away from the surface.

Follow these steps before giving up on a finicky suction cup—they worked wonders for me, and I’m sure they’ll prove just as useful to you!

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