Tube Zipper not working right


Things You’ll Need

  • Zipper slider
  • Pliers
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Top stops (for securing top of zipper)
  • Square tabs (for securing bottom of zipper)


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.

Zipper maintenance

As with most things, if you want to avoid problems when out and about, prevention is the best cure. By looking after your zippers you can ensure their longevity and avoid time-consuming problems. Most issues can be avoided by keeping the zipper cleaned and lubricated.

Cleaning a zipper

Camping trips can be dirty, especially in areas that are dry and dusty, or wet and muddy. Dirt travels and can soon be all over your gear. Zippers can quickly become clogged with grime and dirt, causing them to malfunction.

Indeed, nine times out of ten, the cause of a stuck zipper is dirt clogging the teeth. If you have been out in dusty, dirty conditions, it’s well worth washing all zippers with warm soapy water. Simple dish washing liquid will suffice.

Use a toothbrush to really get into the teeth, as there will often be dirt where you can’t see it.  Once the entire zipper has been scrubbed, rinse off with warm water and check that the zip functions correctly.

Lubricating a zipper

Once the zipper is nice, clean and clear of dirt it’s a good idea to lubricate the teeth. This will prevent further dirt from getting in easily, and will allow the parts to function more easily. Avoid oil based lubricants as they can attract grime and soon clog up the teeth.

Instead, use a pure silicone lubricant to regularl

Instead, use a pure silicone lubricant to regularly keep your zippers in check. It’s especially important to lubricate your zipper after being exposed to dusty, wet or dirty conditions, to prevent rust and sticking.

Preventative measures

You can avoid excess amounts of dirt and strain on your zips by following a few key points.

  • Keep zips closed when erecting tents to prevent any grit getting in the teeth. Keeping them closed also prevents you from stretching the tent too taut, thus reducing strain on the zipper as well.
  • Never zip over wet or dry mud. If there is dirt on your zipper clean it off before zipping up. This prevents the mud from spreading further up the zip and getting into the places you can’t see.
  • Regularly lubricate your zippers to keep them in top shape.
  • Avoid forcing your zips. If they are stuck, be gentle. Slowly ease them and use lubrication if necessary. Forcing them only increases the risk of further damage. For tents, if the zip will not slide easily it is possibly caused by the tent being too taut or too slack. When pitching your tent be sure to test the zips regularly to ensure they will operate smoothly and without straining.
  • Never overload your backpack (or any packs for that matter) to the point that the zips are ready to burst. Zippers can only take so much strain and are likely to burst if pushed past their limits.
  • Take care with zippers. It doesn’t take much longer to pull a zipper carefully than just yanking it. As you pull it closed, check for sticking points, fabric getting caught in the zip and any bent teeth.

For more information on how to repair tent zippers, see our must-read article on this topic.

How to Fix a Zipper That Keeps Sliding Open

When the zipper’s locking mechanism is out of place, your zipper might have trouble staying zipped. You may encounter this problem more often on clothing items that get a lot of wear and tear. Unless you replace the zipper entirely, there’s no real permanent fix for this problem.

However, if this issue is happening on a pair of pants, a temporary solution is to use household items like a key ring or rubber band to fasten to the end of the zipper and loop it around the pants button to keep it up (you can also use this method to make a new zipper pull).

For other articles of clothing, another temporary fix is to try using sticky hairspray to cause a buildup in the teeth, making it harder to fall down.

Learn More

Become a better fashion designer with the MasterClass Annual Membership. Gain access to exclusive video lessons taught by fashion design masters including Diane von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs, Anna Wintour, and more.

Step 1: What Youll Need

You will only need a pair of pliers.But if the zipper pull is really destroyed or is made of plastic you will need a NEW ONE OF THE SAME SIZE. YOU CAN FIND IT IN ANOTHER OLD JACKET. Or you can buy one online for really cheap.

How to Fix a Zipper with a Broken Pull

 Another common thing to happen is the stops at the top of the zipper fall or get pulled off, and then the slider comes free. In order to put the slider back on, you’ll have to open the bottom of the zipper. It’s not possible to put the zipper back on from the top. If you did, you would reverse the direction of the zipper and it would be useless.

2) Cut the thread tack on the inside like in step

2) Cut the thread tack on the inside like in step 7 of the first demo.

3) Using pliers, pull off the stop at the bottom o

3) Using pliers, pull off the stop at the bottom of the zipper.

4) Slide one side of the zipper into each side of

4) Slide one side of the zipper into each side of the slider. The slider should be upside down as you’re looking at it. If you do it with the zipper tab facing you, the zipper will function inside out.

5) Keeping even tension on both sides of the botto

5) Keeping even tension on both sides of the bottom of the zipper, gently pull the slider to start the zipper. Be careful not to pull too hard so that you don’t pull the slider off the top again.

6) Zip up the zipper most of the way and push the

6) Zip up the zipper most of the way and push the tab down to lock the zipper while you’re closing things up.

7) Like in the previous demo, close the bottom of

7) Like in the previous demo, close the bottom of the zipper using a prong stop. Butt the stop against the last tooth leaving no gap.

  View from the inside:

View from the inside:

After the crimp:

After the crimp:

8) Because the top stops were originally missing,

8) Because the top stops were originally missing, you’ll need to put some on to keep the slider from coming off again.

9) Place the stop over the edge of the zipper tape

9) Place the stop over the edge of the zipper tape directly on top of the first tooth.

10) Crimp the stop with pliers. Make sure you get a good clamp on it and crimp it a couple of times if you have to.

Do the same to the other side.

Do the same to the other side.

11) Re-tack the inside as in step 12 of the first

11) Re-tack the inside as in step 12 of the first example.

You did it!

You did it!

Why is my ZIP not closing?

If your zipper teeth won’t stay closed, you can try a temporary fix by tightening the zipper slider: Move the zipper slider to the bottom of the zipper. … You may have to re-squeeze the slider until the zipper functions. Avoid squeezing so hard that you jam or break the slider.

Step 4: Adjust the Zipper Pull

(ONLY FOR IRON ZIPPERS) With the pliers close the two sides of the zipper pull, try to make it look like the original shape again. If your zipper pull is not too worn out you can try to close it directly on the zipper, without removing it.(if it is made out of plastic, if it is too bent or if it breaks doing this, you need to find another one of the same size, they are available online, or you can take it from another old zipper).