How Do Static Clings Work?

The way static clings stick to a surface without any adhesive is mystifying. Is it magic? Not exactly. As with a great many things, it involves science. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s address the elephant in the room first. No, these clings do not use static electricity or a static charge. If it did, it would repel itself. So how does it work, exactly?

The magic lies in the material. The smooth plastic film acts as a suction cup that immediately adheres to flat, non-porous surfaces. As you apply the static cling on a window, for example, you remove air pressure between the film and the surface, creating a vacuum that makes both of them stick together through molecular bonding.

Should I Use Static Clings or Adhesive Vinyl Window Graphics?

The decision between window static clings and adhesive vinyl is simple. Do you want to remove and reposition the graphic over time or will it be stuck on the surface semi-permanently? Window clings can be repositioned easily without leaving any marks, damage, or residue.

Window adhesive vinyl, on the other hand, is made for the long haul. We use low-tack adhesive so that it can be removed eventually, but it cannot be moved and stuck on a new surface.

The Best Surfaces to Apply Static Clings

Static clings adhere best to smooth, non-porous surfaces. Glass windows, metal doors, and plastic containers are good examples. Using the static clings on a non-porous surface is crucial, as the cling won’t properly adhere to porous materials such as wood or concrete and may fall off.

Since static clings rely on the bond between the film and the surface it is stuck on, we recommend using it indoors. Using static clings in an outdoor environment works, but there is a risk of it falling off once moisture gets in between the film and the surface. Passers-by can remove it by hand, too.

How Long Do Static Clings Retain its Adhesion?

The longevity of static clings and its adhesion depends on numerous factors. In general, clings last a couple of years, but there are other factors to consider

  • • Frequency of removal and reapplication
  • • Exposure to dirt, grime, moisture, or extreme temperatures
  • • Leaving it unused for extended periods of time
  • • Use on porous surfaces

If you feel that your static clings start to lose adhesion, you can bring it back to life by using warm water and mild dish soap on it. This will extend its longevity, but we recommend ordering a replacement static cling when this situation arises.


We hope that this short guide provides an explanation of what static clings are, how it works, and the best situations to use them in. These offer businesses a lot of flexibility in marketing and displaying information. You can use a large clings for your brand logo on your storefront or multiple small ones that show your opening hours or payment methods you accept.

Order your static clings from eSigns!