How do you get a suction cup to stick to a tile wall in the shower?

You just bought a new handheld shower, and it came with a holder that has a suction cup on the back. As convenient as it looks, there is a possibility that it might just refuse to stick to the wall.

How do you get a suction cup to stick to a tile wall in the shower?

To make suction cups stick to the wall without fail, make sure the cup and the wall are completely clean and free of dirt. Apply some petroleum jelly on the wall to enhance suction. Now press the suction cup on the wall with as much force as possible. Hold it the pressure for around 15 to 30 seconds.

Bathroom accessories with suction cups are a godsend for people who do not want to drill holes in their beautiful bathroom tiles. Drilling a hole in tile carries the risk of damaging that tile and ruining the aesthetics of your bathroom.

If you learn to stick them properly, you will know that a suction cup is an excellent alternative to screws and bolts. However, there are many impediments to a suction cup’s sticking and staying power.

We will take a deeper look into the problem and present a sure-shot way to get those pads to stick.  

Table of Contents

Best Surface for Suction Cups

It may come as a surprise, but your bathroom tiles are the best surface for suction cups. These cups stick best to a smooth surface, and commonly used glossy bathroom tiles are as smooth as it gets.

Matte tiles, however, are a different story. They tend to have a gritty surface so they won’t hold the cup for long.

For suction cups to work properly, a vacuum must exist between the cup and the wall. It is because of that vacuum that the cup sticks. Uneven or bumpy surfaces leave gaps for air to enter and escape.

Without a vacuum, there is no suction, and without suction, the cup won’t stick.

Now, let’s take a look at a step-by-step method to stick a suction cup to tile.

Step 1 – Choose the Right Spot

Exposure to water, especially hot water, will make the suction cup come off much quicker. That is why it is best to choose a spot that is out of your shower head’s range. Usually, shower handles are high enough to avoid the spray since it’s narrower at the top, but you need to find a safer spot for other accessories with suction cups, a soap tray, for instance.

Step 2 – Clean the Surface and the Cup

No matter how smooth, dirty tiles are not a good surface to provide suction. The wall in the shower may not seem very dirty, but it does have traces of soap and scum.

So, the first step is to scrub the tile with a household cleaner and rinse it properly until it’s squeaky clean. Just don’t scrub too hard and leave scratches. You need to clean the suction cup as well.

Make sure both the surface and the cup are dry before the next step. Let them air dry or use a microfiber cloth. Other clothes might leave small fibers.  

Step 3 – Enhance Suction

There are a few things you can do to ensure stronger suction. The method we recommend is to apply a bit of petroleum jelly on the surface before you stick the cup. It should be just enough to form an almost invisible layer on the tile.

For uneven surfaces, the trick is to stick a piece of tape on the wall before application. Just make sure there is no bubble between the tape and the tile.

Step 4 – Make it Stick

Position the suction cup where you want it to stick and apply firm pressure for at least 15 seconds. Make sure the pressure is even across the cup so that the cup doesn’t move or slide.

Let the cup stick there for at least 24 hours before putting any weight or exposing it to water.

Bonus Tip: Make Your Suction Cup Sticks for Longer

Over time, some air might get inside the vacuum, and the grip will loosen. ‘Burp’ the cup to remove air by pressing it for a few seconds. You should burp it now and then to keep it tight and secure.

Another way to ensure a stronger grip is to use silicon sealant or adhesive instead of petroleum jelly. Silicone seals like magic and will keep the bond stays airtight for years. You will be surprised by how much they can endure if appropriately stuck.


Follow the right method, and you can get a suction cup to stick to the tile like magic. Remember, the key is to start with a clean surface and a clean cup. Best of luck!

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