With the advent of waterproof Bluetooth speakers and other shower entertainment options, suction cups are crucial. They are often used to hold up organizers and mounting racks for devices. What should you do if your suction cups won’t stick to your shower walls, though?

To make suction cups stick in the shower, make sure the wall is clean. Then, coat the suction cups with soapy water or petroleum jelly to make them air tight. If that does not work, you can create a semi-permanent solution by securing them with putty. 

In this article, we cover every step of securing suction cups in the shower. Try each of the steps in order to see which one works best for your shower and situation. This can save you from securing the suction cups with putty if you don’t have to.

How Do Suction Cups Work?

Suction cups are often used in showers because they are waterproof and can be moved around easily. They rely on pressure instead of adhesive to stick to the surface. This makes it possible to rearrange things in the shower if you get a new organizer or device.

Suction cups work by utilizing ambient air pressure on a malleable material. When you push a suction cup down onto a surface, you are pushing air out of the cup. The ambient air pressure around the suction cup pushes down on it and secures it to the surface.

This is why if you don’t have an airtight seal on your suction cups, they will not stick to any surface. The pressure under the cup and outside of it start to become the same and it falls off. This is why it is important to have a little help to make sure you get an airtight seal.

Step 1: Clean the Surface

Before doing anything, make sure that you thoroughly clean the tile surface of your shower wall and doors. This is a good opportunity to use any kind of bleach-based tile cleaner to disinfect the whole thing. Showers are breeding grounds for bacteria, so it is best to keep them clean.

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Cleaning the surface of the tile will help facilitate a tight seal between the tile and the suction cup. This is crucial for keeping the air pressure low inside the cup. Without that, bubbles begin to form which eventually cause the cup to completely fall off.

Let the shower dry completely before moving on to the next step. Do not dry the tile wall yourself with a cloth. The reason for this is that it could leave tiny fibers on the wall of the shower. These tiny fibers can prevent a tight seal from forming

Step 2: Soap the Suction Cups

After your shower has completely dried, mix some soap and water in a dish. Then, apply the soap and water mixture to the suction cups. It should not be slick enough to make the suction cup fall off right away but it should be evenly applied.

The logic behind soaping up the suction cups is that soap is viscous. Once the water and soap mixture dries, this viscous material will adhere to the surface and the cup. It is the same principle that makes bubbles.

To get the proper amount of soapy water applied, dunk the entire suction cup into the dish with the mixture. Then, when you pull it out, shake it off to get the excess soap and water off it. This shaking motion should leave a fine film of soap and water on the suction cup.

Step 3: Add Petroleum Jelly

If soapy water does not work, you can always use petroleum jelly. Make sure to add just enough to make an airtight seal. This will be a barely visible amount, and can be applied with your fingertip.

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The problem with using petroleum jelly is that it is hard to know how much to use. The jelly itself is slightly adhesive so it will stick to the wall if you add too much. You will know that you have used too much if it does not stay stuck for long.

The benefit of using petroleum jelly is that it is incredibly strong. The thick texture of it works as a perfect sealant that will keep your suction cups stuck as long as you want them to be. It is also worth trying since everybody usually has some in their medicine cabinet.

Step 4: Secure it With Silicone Putty

Perhaps the most permanent way to secure suction cups to your shower wall is to use silicone putty. Silicone putty is a hard, waterproof adhesive that will secure the suction cups for as long as you need them to be there.

The issue with using silicone putty is that it can be difficult to remove. A putty knife will take the suction cups off, but it may leave residue behind. This can be difficult to clean and fully remove without damaging the tile.

Be sure that you want the suction cups exactly where you are putting them. The putty will make them more permanent and they will not be easy to take off once they are secured.

Step 5: Periodically Remove Air Bubbles

One way to make sure that your suction cups are going to stay put is to remove the air bubbles every now and then. You can do this by pressing on the middle of the suction cup every time you come into or leave the shower. Don’t push on the edges, just the middle.

By pressing on the middle of the suction cup, you are removing any air bubbles that may have gotten in over time. This will keep the inside air pressure low and keep the suction cup secure. Funnily enough, this technique of pushing out air bubbles is often called “burping.”

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What to Use Instead of Suction Cups

Command Hooks

Command hooks use a waterproof adhesive backing to stick to nearly any surface for as long as you want. They are able to hold on to the shower tile using a unique hook system. This can be perfect for hanging things like loofahs or your soap on a rope.

Mounting Tape Squares

Heavy-duty mounting tape squares can often be used and indoor or outdoor situations. They are usually heavy waterproof adhesive pre-cut squares that can hold on all sides. These can be used to hold organizers, hooks or any other shower accessories you might need.

Related Questions

Do suction cups stick to concrete?

The problem with trying to stick a suction cup on concrete is that concrete is often not smooth enough. A surface must be completely uninterrupted and sealed in order for the air pressure inside the cup to hold. No matter how smooth cement might look, it won’t be smooth enough.

Do suction cups stop working?

One of the nice things about suction cups is that they don’t wear out. However, they can get dirty and stop working as well. All this means is that you have to thoroughly clean them and let them air-dry and they will be as good as new.

How do you stick suction cups to the dashboard?

Oftentimes, suction cup accessories for your dashboard will come with a smooth plastic surface that adheres to it. This is what the suction cup attaches to and it is perfectly suited for that purpose. Just sticking a suction cup on your dashboard will not hold.