two suction cups

How to make suction cups work

Suction cups can make us happy, when working

Suction cups are very useful, but sometimes they can be very stubborn and make us unhappy. No matter what we do, they don´t stay where they should. So we only need to know how to make suction cups work.

2 suction cup

Let´s explain it

It is easy, no rocket science at all, but some physics to explain the functioning can give us some light.  Theory says suction cups use the negative pressure of the fluid contained between the part in contact with the wall and the wall itself, creating a partial vacuum.

That little vacuum is the key to the work of the suction cups.

First of all the suction cup has to be soft. Rigid ones won’t do the trick. But we can boil them a little while, and when it gets softer we can use it. It can work, but it can´t. We can use it only when there are no other suction cups available.

The surface in contact has to be big too, because the strength of the vacuum is bigger too. So we can hang heavier things.

What about the wall?

Surface must be very smooth. Like a window. Glass, tiled walls, acrylic, hard plastic, Formica are the best materials to hold suction cups. But it has to be clean, without dust nor oil from fingerprints.

double suction cup


Wall and sucker have to be cleaned. Using a fabric or cotton with a little alcohol is great for cleaning and leave the surfaces oil free.

But we rather avoid leaving fibers behind. Let´s use some paper to wipe both surfaces. Adherence will be superb.

double layer suction cups

Just add water

But we need some fluid to create the negative pressure and the vacuum. So we only need to put some water on the inner surface of the suction cup, without putting too much water because too much slick can get the sucker slip down.

Next step is to apply the suction cup to the wall. We have to press it. Firm and strongly, but keeping it in the place. Magic, or physics, will work and the sucker will hold in place.

Using and reusing

Now we only have to remember not to pull from the body of the suction cup to remove it. If we gently peel the edges to separate them from the surface the sucker won´t break and we can use it again.

We just need to remember this few hints to know how to make suction cups work.