This Trick Makes Old Suction Cups Stick Better

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Despite its simplicity, the suction cup might very well be one of the most useful items in the home. Not only can it be used to adhere containers to vertical surfaces — like the sides of your bathtub — but it can also be paired with a hook to hang things like towels. The only drawback? Over time, the suction can lose its grip, especially on humid days.

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Fortunately, it's possible to make suction cups stick better, thanks to an easy trick. In a popular video, user @alroessler shows how their suction cup sponge holder refuses to stick to the kitchen sink. So, they apply a bit of petroleum jelly to the stubborn suction cup, then put the holder back in place. The cup sticks beautifully to the sink, omitting the need for a new suction cup or sponge holder.

Here's why this works: The petroleum jelly creates an air-tight seal between the cup and the surface. This seal is necessary for the suction cup to grip said surface. If you don't have petroleum jelly on hand, you can also try using a bit of cooking oil. Just be sure to avoid adding too much petroleum jelly or oil, which can actually make it harder for the cup to stick.

Other ways to make suction cups stick better:

In addition to using petroleum jelly, here are other methods for improving the grip on suction cups:

  • Make sure the surface is smooth and flat, like a mirror
  • Remove lint and grease on both the surface and suction cup
  • Rinse the cup in warm water to make it more pliable
  • Press on the suction cup every now and then to get rid of air pockets

Also, if possible, adhere suction cups when the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold temperatures can make the cups too firm and inflexible to stick to surfaces.

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Kirsten Nunez is a journalist and author focusing on food, health, and DIY. In May 2014, she published a craft book, "Studs & Pearls: 30 Creative Projects for Customized Fashion." Her work has appeared on eHow, PopSugar, Shape, VegNews, and more. She lives in Beacon, New York.