How To Fix a Stuck Zipper

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How to Fix a Broken or Separated Zipper

  1. Remove the Bottom Stop From the Zipper

    Using the pliers to get a good grip, pry off the zipper's bottom stop or the little band of metal or plastic at the bottom of the zipper teeth. (If you don't have pliers, you can usually pry it off with a flat head screwdriver or the end of a kitchen knife.)

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

  2. Position the Zipper Pull

    Once the metal or plastic stop is removed, use the pull tab to move the zipper slider all the way to the bottom of the zipper, below the last "teeth".

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

  3. Realign the Zipper Teeth

    Realign the zipper teeth so that they all mesh smoothly. If you can't get them to all mesh smoothly, mark the spot where there is a problem aligning the teeth. The teeth may be damaged at that spot and will never align properly.

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

  4. Reposition the Zipper Pull

    Move the slider up to the top of the zipper, closing as many teeth as possible.

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

  5. Thread the Sewing Needle

    Thread the sewing needle with heavy thread or fine-weight monofilament fishing line and tie a knot at the end. If you don't have heavy (buttonhole) thread, double the thread and then tie the knot at the end of both strands.

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

  6. Create a New Zipper Stop

    Pull the thread up through the zipper leaving the knot on the wrong side of the zipper. Make six or seven stitches across the bottom of the zipper where you removed the old stop to create a new stop made out of the thread.

    Tip

    Always make sure the zipper pull or slider is above the spot you are making repairs.

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

  7. Repair Above Damaged Teeth

    If the teeth of the zipper are damaged higher on the zipper, move the pull slider above the damaged area and sew the new stop just above the damaged teeth. This will shorten the length of the zipper but will make it stay closed. You may need to whipstitch over the lower part of the zipper teeth to keep the zipper from gaping open.

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

  8. Secure Thread

    When you have finished sewing, push the needle to the wrong side of the zipper, tie a knot and snip off any excess thread.

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

Video

A note on zipper sizes

You will have noticed that zippers come in a number of sizes. Compare the zip on your outdoor jacket to the one on your wallet and you’ll see that it can vary a fair bit. You can normally tell the size of a particular zip by looking on the back of the slider.

There should be a number on the back, ranging from 1 – 10 typically. The number relates to the width of the zipper teeth in millimeters. The lower the number, the smaller the zip. Most zips for pants are #5, but may be larger for heavy duty cargo pants.

Household Items That Help You Unclog Your Zipper

We have mentioned these items throughout this article but instead of making you go back and finding them, we made this easy to read list instead.

  • Lip balm or chapstick.
  • Bar of soap or liquid soap.
  • ​A pencil.
  • ​Petroleum jelly.
  • Wax candles or wax crayons.
  • Olive or other cooking oils.
  • Dry lubricant spray or a zipper lubricant.
  • Windex or glass cleaner.
  • WD 40

2. Keep It Clean

There are other methods, though, for how to fix a stuck zipper if you don’t have a pencil on hand. Like graphite, bar soap can also act as a lubricant and loosen up the tension between the teeth and zipper pull to get things moving again. Just rub a dry bar of soap on both sides of the teeth, allowing the substance to cover the affected area and make it slippery. Then, give the handle a tug until it comes loose. You can go back over the grooves with a rag or tissue to clean up any shreds of soap left behind if it’s bothering you, but there’s a secret bonus to leaving it there: It can act as a protectant and prevent the zipper from rusting over time. If you don’t have a bar of soap handy, a fingertip’s worth of lip balm or petroleum jelly will also work on a stuck zipper.

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Photo: istockphoto.com

Photo: istockphoto.com

How do You Get a Zipper Unstuck From a Shoe

The one good aspect about getting a shoe zipper stuck is that if you create a hole in your sock unsticking it, you can hide the hole with your shoe. Despite that piece of good news, getting your shoe zipper stuck can still be very frustrating. Especially when you can’t wear your shoes indoors.

Since fabric and zippers are involved, all the solutions mentioned earlier in this article will work on this problem. You just have to be patient and endure the bending over till the task is done and your zipper, as well as your foot, is free.

1) How to tighten a zipper slider when the zipper teeth dont close properly

If your zipper teeth don’t close properly or unzip easily, it could be the zipper slider. The zipper slider applies pressure to both sides to securely “clench” each tooth. But, if the zipper slider gets bent or worn out, it could prevent zipper teeth from connecting properly. Here’s how to fix zipper teeth that won’t close:

1) Slide the zipper slider to the bottom end of the zipper. 2) Position the pliers below the zipper pull so that it allows you to put pressure on one side of the zipper slider 3) Start by squeezing the right side of the zipper slider then do the same on the left side. If it doesn’t correct the problem, you may need to repeat the process using a little more pressure but not so much that you break the slider. Continue testing after each adjustment until the zipper slider secures each zipper tooth.

STEP BY STEP GUIDE ON HOW TO REPAIR A ZIPPER

FIXING A BROKEN OR MISSING TOOTH

  1. One of the common problems that occur with a pant or jean zippers is that their teeth get removed from the tape. This mainly takes place at the bottom end of a short zipper. There’s no sufficient space to the material on and off, so it exerts pressure in the zipper resulting in the popping of the teeth. If the teeth are broken are the bottom or top of the zipper, it’s quite easy to repair. If the teeth in the middle are missing, the zipper will need to be replaced. However, though repairs can be made on the top or bottom side, it should be noted that the fix is only temporary. If the zipper broke due to an improper fit or poor quality, there is a probability that it can break again. Therefore, if you intend to make it last, avoid putting pressure on the zipper when wearing your garment.
  2. Move the slider to the zipper’s bottom.
  3. Angle the slider and place the opposite side of the zip in the slide’s bottom
  4. In some cases, the edge of a zipper is thick to get into the slider’s side easily. If you encounter such an issue, use a screwdriver to push in the edge
  5. Once all sides of the zipper are inside the slider, pull its tab to move the zipper. It may be a little tricky to move it at first, so wiggle the slide to and fro to get its teeth interlocking. Pull the slider further up, to lock the zipper and prevent it from coming down while closing the bottom.
  6. All you need to do is to free up the zipper’s backside to close the bottom. Use a razor or a seam ripper to cut the tack holding the placket layers together on the inside of the garment.
  7. To close the bottom, you require a stop.
  8. Insert the prongs of the bottom stop, in the space created at the zipper’s bottom. The insertion should be between the old zipper stop and the teeth.
  9. Flip over the garment and ensure the prongs are inserted correctly. This should be perpendicular to your zipper at an angle of 90o.
  10. Secure the prongs by crimping them using a pliers
  11. Using hand-sewing or a sewing machine, re-tack the stitching you remove in step six.
  12. You have successfully fixed a broken tooth!

FIXING A BROKEN SLIDER

FIXING A BROKEN SLIDER

  1. One common problem that occurs with zippers is that their stops at the top fall or get pulled off, making the slider to come free. To reinsert the slider, you’ll first need to open the zipper’s bottom. It’s impossible to return the zipper from the top as this would reverse its direction and make the entire process fruitless.
  2. Cut the thread tuck as illustrated in step six of the first demo
  3. Pull off the stop at the bottom using a pair of pliers
  4. Slide one end of the zipper into each end of the slider. Be careful to ensure that the slider is facing the right direction to prevent the zipper from functioning inside out.
  5. Ensuring an even tension on both ends of the zipper, gently pull the slider to work the zipper. Do not apply so much pressure when pulling so as to prevent the slider from coming off the top
  6. Zip all the way and push the tab down so as to lock the zipper while closing up things.
  7. Use a prong to close the bottom of the zipper as demonstrated in the previous guide. Make sure the stop is inserted against the last tooth. Do not leave any gap.
  8. You will also need to insert the top stops so as to prevent the slider from coming off the top.
  9. Directly place the stop over the top of the first tooth on the edge of the zipper tape
  10. Crimp the stop, using pliers. Make sure you obtain a good clamp on the stop and crimp it several times just to be sure it’s secure
  11. Re-tack the inside of the zipper using a sewing machine
Image Credit: artandneedlework.com

Image Credit: artandneedlework.com

FIXING A SPLIT ZIPPER

You are rushing to get to work when all of a sudden you slam the zipper of your favorite jacket in the door of your car. The zipper splits when you try to zip it and you are saddened by the fact that your favorite clothing has been ruined and you have no idea of how to fix a broken zipper. If such a case occurs, do not panic. As long as the tabs at the bottom and the teeth of the zipper are not damaged, you can still salvage your jacket.

The following process can also be useful if the slider removes the top of the zipper, the pull tabs collapses, or the teeth pull off close to the zipper’s top.

  1. Remove the stops at the top section of the zipper. You are to replace both stops so they can match one another. However, if matching is not a priority for you, you will need to remove the stop on the zipper’s side.
  2. After you have removed the top stop, take off the slider. When you look at its side, you will notice that there’s a gap that is not entirely straight. This is the case to allow the zipper to separate when zipping it. Since the slider does not properly engage the teeth of the zipper, you will need to replace it. However, if you are in a bind and cannot find a replacement, you can bend the edges back and see if it will work. It’s important to note that this is only a temporary solution as you may need to replace it later on in the future.
  3. Most zippers are usually numbered on the back to let you know what their sizes are. Sometimes, numbers that are not the usual zipper sizes may be included, but rather an arbitrary number that was added by the manufacturer. For instance, if the zipper says 5, then that is correct. Most zippers fitted in jackets are numbered 5. The heavyweight zippers such as those found in motorcycle jackets or the leather coats are numbered 7, 8, or 10. Most jackets are fitted with molded plastic or metal zippers, but there are some that have coil zippers. This makes it quite challenging to get one. In most cases, you will have to try various sizes if the damaged slider does not have markings on the back. You may also take the slider to a fabric shop and match it with the zippers they sell. If you get a match, just take the slider from the new zippers and use it to repair your garment’s zipper.
  4. On the side of the square tab at the bottom of the zipper, angle the slider in such a way that the tape’s edge enters the slot at one end of the slider. You should also remember that sometimes, the tape’s edge is thick and you may be forced to push it using a screwdriver. Wiggling also helps.
  5. After the edge has gone all the way, it should be able to move freely up and down. Trying zipping it as you would when operating a zipper, and check that the teeth don’t split. If there are splits in the zipper, you may be required to use a slider of different size
  6. Once you are confident that the zipper is in full operation, insert stops at the top. It’s important that both ends of the tape are fitted with stops, especially the side with a square tab at the zipper’s bottom. This is the side which always has the slider. If you work the zipper without putting the stops, the slider will most definitely come off.

Reader Success Stories

Reader Success Stories

  • Lizzie Rowan

Jan 5

    Lizzie Rowan Jan 5

    “I am delighted to have freed up the zip on my anorak, thanks to your tip. ”

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