Bacterial attachment to abiotic surfaces can be explained as a physicochemical process. Mechanisms of the process have been widely studied but are not yet well understood due to their complexity. Physicochemical processes can be influenced by various interactions and factors in attachment systems, including, but not limited to, hydrophobic interactions, electrostatic interactions and substratum surface roughness. Mechanistic models and control strategies for bacterial attachment to abiotic surfaces have been established based on the current understanding of the attachment process and the interactions involved. Due to a lack of process control and standardization in the methodologies used to study the mechanisms of bacterial attachment, however, various challenges are apparent in the development of models and control strategies. In this review, the physicochemical mechanisms, interactions and factors affecting the process of bacterial attachment to abiotic surfaces are described. Mechanistic models established based on these parameters are discussed in terms of their limitations. Currently employed methods to study these parameters and bacterial attachment are critically compared. The roles of these parameters in the development of control strategies for bacterial attachment are reviewed, and the challenges that arise in developing mechanistic models and control strategies are assessed.