The adhesion of 2 S. epidermidis strains and 1 S. saprophyticus strain on to poly(tetrafluorethylene-co-hexafluorpropylene) (FEP)-fluorocarbon and cellulose acetate was studied in vitro. Both S. epidermidis strains showed a more hydrophobic character than the encapsulated S. saprophyticus as determined by the bacterial affinity towards xylene, Staphylococcus epidermidis showed a significantly higher adhesion on to the hydrophobic FEP than S. saprophyticus. The adhesion of staphylococci on to the more hydrophilic cellulose acetate was always low. Treatment of S. epidermidis with pepsin or extraction with aqueous phenol yielded cells with a decreased hydrophobicity, which resulted in a decreased adhesion on to FEP. Cells with a decreased hydrophobicity showed a lower rate of reaggregation in suspension. The hydrophobicity and the adhesion on to FEP of S. epidermidis were not affected by exposure to a subminimal inhibitory concentration of penicillin. The strong interaction between S. epidermidis and FEP, which appeared not to be influenced by the age or the metabolic stage of the bacteria, is mainly caused by hydrophobic bonding.