I want to attach some suction cups to a surface, such as a ceramic tile.

The suction cups tend to stick for a little while, but inevitably fall off sooner or later, possibly due to microscopic pores or uneven spots in the surface, or simply because those are bad suction cups.

How can I increase the adhesion, while still being able to easily remove them later on?

I have had this problem when attaching suction cups to various surfaces, such as ceramic tiles, plastic, even glass

What did not work:

  • Wetting the surfaces; even generous amounts of water, soap, or spit did not help.

  • washing both surfaces vigorously

  • strong pressure when applying the suction cup, removing all bubbles

Common workarounds such as gluing or nailing leave permanent marks. Double-sided sticky tape tends to fail quickly in the presence of water.

Ideal would be some sort of non-permanent glue

I am looking for a way to make suction cups suck just a little more.


6 Answers 6


Put a little oil on the suction cup. Oil does not evaporate as quickly as water and also forms a better seal. In the kitchen, you should use an edible oil such as olive or coconut oil.

  • Soft soap also works well. Jan 11, 2015 at 22:00
  • If soft-soap is water based it will soon dry out and the effect of sealing against air loss will go away. Jan 12, 2015 at 1:07
  • 2
    In my experience, soap lasts years. As it dries out, it leaves a waxy residue, which is still an effective seal. Oil might work, or it might degrade the suction cup, if it is rubber rather than PVC. Jan 12, 2015 at 17:41
  • 3
    Specifically put nose oil - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasal_sebum on the suction cup. You find it on your skin at the edge of your nose. Rub your nose with your finger, then rub the suction cup with your finger.
    – bdsl
    Feb 12, 2015 at 23:31

You could also try petroleum jelly. While it isn't glue, it does help with adhesion. You can wash it off the walls. If the wall you are trying to suction cup to can absorb liquid, it is possible that you could stain the wall.


You can try using a hair dryer (or heat gun) to warm the surface and air around where you want to place the suction cup - then place the suction cup, and as the air cools, the pressure will decrease, thus creating more suction.


The seal is being broken by air working its way through the suction cup itself as well as at the edges of the seal. Usually, flexible but also slightly porous materials are used to make suction cups and flexible seal containers and lids. It isn't easy to find an inexpensive material that is both air-tight and flexible enough to hold well for long.

One fix would be to treat the suction cup itself to help "plug" the leaky plastic as well as the seal. Many things that you'd think you could use will also soften the cup material and lose the seal strength.

If you need a long-term solution, consider using a semi-permanent adhesive rather than relying on a mechanical solution.


You need something that won't allow air through, oil has been suggested and it does work better than water. I'd suggest using some clear silicone sealant on a q-tip (cotton wool bud) around where the cup's edge will be as that will be more persistent. Just a very thin coating should do to close the pores.


Use some clear packing tape on the wall and use the suction cup on the tape surface.


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