How to Properly Use Command Strips: Tips & Tricks

Originally posted on November 09, 2022 3:00 pm
Updated on October 31, 2022 9:47 pm

Moving into a new place can be exciting for anyone, especially those looking forward to designing their perfect space. Renters get to place their furniture where it looks best and add little tidbits that make their rental unit their home. 

Decorating can be fun, but what about your security deposit? Depending on the lease agreement, you can forget drilling and decorations that can damage the interior. Instead, consider turning to command strips. These can be a game-changer for anyone that is renting an apartment, house, or dorm and wants to do damage-free decorating. However, even though Command strips seem like easy-to-use sticky strips, there are still proper and improper ways to use them. 

How to use Command Strips

1.) Prep your space

Like most people, your surfaces probably have a fair amount of dust and dirt if you’re not doing daily cleanings. To create the best bond between the surface and the Command strip, the surfaces must be cleaned of all grime. Take a second and wipe down where you’re going to place the adhesive with some rubbing alcohol before placing the Command strip. Avoid using cleaning wipes or surface sprays, as they can contain chemicals that create a slippery surface.  

2.) Watch the weight

Some people assume that all Command strips hold the same amount of weight. But if you read the labels on each product, there will be specific weight restrictions. Carefully look at the max weight for each Command product. 3M has a weight reference guide for those looking for the types of products to buy depending on the weight of the things they want to hang. Medium-strength Command strips can hold up to 12 pounds, and Heavy-Duty Command strips can hold up to 16 pounds. Just be sure to attach these strips to sturdy materials. 

3.) Sturdy surfaces

Before ripping a Command product open and sticking it straight onto your desired surface, make sure the surface is suitable for the adhesive to stick to. Command strips can be applied to glass, metal, tile, and painted drywall. Avoid placing them on anything that is vinyl, wallpaper, or precious and old. Command strips don’t do well in humid environments and surfaces that are right above a heater. Thankfully, there are water-resistant versions if you need to stick them in places like a bathroom. Note, however, that they can only maintain their adhesion if a surface stays between 50 degrees F and 105 degrees F. 

4.) No surface is equal

For these adhesives to stick correctly, they need to be placed on a flat, even surface. While a piece of art would look great on an exposed brick wall, Command strips won’t adhere as well to this bumpy and uneven surface. Other surface textures to avoid are wood, concrete, and popcorn.

5.) Read the instructions

No matter how easy it seems to use Command products, don’t throw the instructions away immediately. There’s more to these adhesives than meets the eye. Clear and non-clear adhesives will have different instructions on how to apply them. Each product will have specific instructions on application and removal, so read carefully to avoid damaging any surfaces. Thankfully, instead of a wordy instruction list, 3M makes it easy for users by providing illustrated steps. By adhering to the instructions, you’re less likely to damage a precious painting, shatter an old mirror, or not get your security deposit back.

6.) Patience is key

If you have recently painted your walls, you would need to wait at least a week before using Command strips to hang anything at all. If your walls haven’t been recently painted, you still need to know how much time to press the adhesive to your wall before it sticks. After prepping the wall and you’re getting ready to apply the strip, make sure you press down on the strip for 30 seconds, to give them a chance to bond well with the wall. Don’t be hasty in this step either. Make sure you’re pressing down on the whole adhesive strip for 30 seconds, instead of just one area. This ensures that the whole thing will stick. After this step, check your product to see how long you would have to wait before hanging anything on the hooks. Some Command products require up to an hour of waiting time before anything can be hung. So, don’t rush and take the time to properly follow directions to prevent damage to your walls or the things you want to hang. 

7.) Pull down while removing

One of the common mistakes people make while using Command strips is neglecting to pull downwards during removal. It’s probably human instinct to pull away when removing something from a surface, but this can actually damage the surface. When it comes time to remove a Command strip, do not pull the tabs away from the wall. Instead, pull the tab directly downwards, towards the floor. Keep stretching the strip tab until either the hook releases from the strip, or the strip comes off the wall completely. If the tab isn’t there or has been ripped off, apply some heat to loosen up the adhesive and then work some floss in between the adhesive and the surface to remove it.

8.) Satisfactory placement

It might be hard to get the exact measurements of an artwork or decoration you’re hanging but it’ll be more frustrating to move your decoration if you apply the Command strips and hooks without measurements. As a tip, place the adhesive sideways at the top center, as an indicator of where the decoration will hang. Then work your way to the top corners and down to the bottom corners if needed. Measuring the dimensions out before you place the Command strips will assure satisfactory results, rather than trying repeatedly until the adhesives are no longer sticky.

How much weight can command strips hold

There are many Command Strips products out there. Depending on the products, command strips can be used for products as light as a pound to as heavy as twenty pounds.

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