Your beloved garment can be ruined by a broken or trapped zipper. You may wonder how to unstick a zipper without tossing your gear or take it to an expert to have a new zip fitted.
So, how can a zipper be made to run smoothly again? If you’ve ever struggled with a stuck zipper, you know how annoying it is. Luckily, knowing how to fix a stuck zipper can make all the difference and is easier than you imagine.
In our guide, you can find over one stuck zipper hack to gradually slide your zipper back into action. By the end, no matter where you are, you’ll have options using things from around the home to unstick a zipper and get your zipper gently moving again. (Read Snow Boots Vs Hiking Boots)
Things To Know About a Stubborn Zipper
- If any fabric gets caught in the zipper, take it out and try working the zipper up and down to free it.
- To avoid snags in the future, fix rips and creases.
- To unstick the zipper, run the pencil tip down both sides of its teeth. Then, repeat the pencil method while sliding the zipper until it budges.
- To free the zipper teeth from sticking, use a lubricant like petroleum jelly, soap, ChapStick, or Windex.
- Pull the zipper to check if it moves after letting the lubrication sit.
Freeing Fabric Obstructions
Check the zipper for any fabric obstructions. For example, a small piece of the surrounding fabric may occasionally get stuck between the teeth of a zipper, causing it to stick.
Look closely at the item to check for snags, folds, tangles, and other hang-up indicators. These are usually quite simple to fix.
- When a zipper totally won’t move, snags are typically at fault.
- You might need to lubricate the zipper teeth if there aren’t any apparent obstacles.
Remove the fabric from the zipper by pulling. Once you’ve discovered the snag preventing the zipper from closing, grab the fabric surrounding the blockage and gently tug.
A pair of tweezers can help you gain a stronger hold if the snag is small. Then, holding the fabric, pull it in the opposite direction from the zipper’s travels.
- You may also try using the point of a safety pin to pry the fabric out from between the teeth.
- Don’t pull too hard on the fabric, or you can tear it.
Work the zipper both ways. Start slowly lifting the zipper tab while holding onto the snagged cloth. To see if the cloth releases, try sliding it in both directions. The zipper teeth can usually be cleared by applying consistent strain, making little motions, and patience.
Your only option is to take it to a tailor if you cannot remove the fabric from the zipper. Remove any upcoming obstacles. After resolving a problematic zipper, please take a few preventative measures to ensure that it doesn’t occur again.
Use a razor to trim loose threads and stitch up ragged holes and creases. When finished, press the fabric to ensure the zipper lays flat on both sides.
- Another snag is less likely to happen if there is less fabric in the way of the teeth.
- Watch out for ragged edges on the actual zipper tape.
Rubbing Your Zipper With Pencil
Find a graphite pencil, and one of the traditional wooden pencil types is better than a mechanical pencil.
- Along both sides of the zipper teeth, run the tip of a pencil.
- While working, keep the zipper closed with one hand. Next, simply rub the teeth till the graphite is visible on the teeth.
- Since this is where most zippers stick, pay close attention to the line where the teeth converge.
- Slide the zipper if you can. Then, pull the zipper slowly and smoothly a few times to test it.
- Once you have it going, slowly ease the zipper toward its final release.
- When you’re done, please wash your hands and use a paper towel to remove any remaining graphite to prevent it from going on the surrounding cloth.
- Continue until the zipper gives way. Then, try again if the pencil method doesn’t work immediately away.
- The zipper might not move after one effort if there isn’t enough graphite on the teeth.
- Until you observe improvement, alternate between rubbing the pencil and sliding the zipper back and forth.
Using Lubricant On Stuck Zipper Teeth
Pick a household lubricant. You’ll discover you have more than you think. Any slick item works on your broken zipper, including a bar of soap, a tube of ChapStick, or Windex. (Read Why Put Ziplock Bag On Car Mirror When Traveling Alone)
Directly lubricate the zipper teeth with the lubricant where the snagged fabric is stuck in the zipper to start. After a few minutes, gently pull the slide up and down.
With patience, you should quickly get the zipper to move as the lubricant seeps further into the fabric stuck in the teeth.
- To avoid stains and discoloration, try to keep the lubricant away from the fabric.
- For messier materials like Vaseline or olive oil, use a different instrument, such as a cotton swab.
- Spray Windex window cleaner over the entire zipper region if you’re using it, then wait a few minutes before checking the zipper.
Clean the item of clothing, and put it in your next load of laundry if it can go in the washer. If not, use a cloth dipped in a mild soap solution (dish soap) to scrub the zipper and the proximity. You should develop this habit to keep your zippers in working order.
How to Unstick a Zipper
Sometimes, if the zipper is a bit worn, all you need is a better grip to stop struggling with pulling your zipper.
1. Use A Paper Clip
- To reactivate the zipper as a pull tab, insert a paperclip into the zipper pull hole and pull up on the paperclip.
- You may use a key ring or a fork if you don’t have a paper clip.
- Pull the zipper upward after inserting a fork tine or fork prong into the gap to fix a stuck zipper.
WD-40 can help get your zipper moving, although don’t spray WD-40 direct on the zipper. This may leave oily stains on your clothes. Spray WD-40 on a cotton cloth and rub your zipper to get your zipper working again.
3. Go Natural With Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil? Move the zipper in a smooth motion by rubbing it along the length of your zipper. Yet, like the above, coconut oil leaves greasy marks on garments, so avoid getting it onto your clothes.
4. Petroleum Jelly
Put a little Vaseline on the zipper to unstick it. Vaseline should be applied with a dab on the zipper’s teeth. The petroleum jelly provides the teeth of the zipper with the lubrication it needs to move.
5. Wax Paper
You likely have wax paper in your kitchen, which you can use to lubricate zippers. To transfer wax, rub the wax side of the paper over the zipper to help the zipper slide.
Other ways to fix a zipper using wax are a kid’s crayon and candle wax. They all contain the same base compound and help get zippers unstuck.
6. Lip Balm
If you are out and you get stuck in zippers, reach in your bag and pull out your lip balm.
Powders are an excellent lubricant you may not be aware of. So, grab your talcum powder, baby powder, or cornstarch and sprinkle along the stuck zipper teeth.
To avoid mess, you may need to drop some in a dish and use an old toothbrush to unstick a zipper. (Learn How Long Before Car Battery Dies With Radio On)
Zipper Pull Stuck At The Beach
Sometimes visiting the beach or other bodies of saltwater can cause the zippers to get stuck.
If that’s the issue, the salt accumulation needs to be removed.
- To start, try cleaning the zipper with soap and water.
- Make use of a toothbrush and some gentle dish soap.
- Try an acid-based cleanser, such as lemon juice or vinegar, if that doesn’t work.
- To gently clean away the salt residue, use equal parts lemon juice or white vinegar with water. Then, use the same toothbrush as before.
- You can always try soaking the zipper overnight to fix a zipper if the above doesn’t work. However, sometimes it simply takes a little longer to work.
How To Unjam a Zipper Slider
The most likely cause of a stuck or immobile slider is anything getting trapped between the teeth of the slider or wedged there, most frequently a piece of fabric or thread.
It is the most straightforward issue to solve. Research first, then take action if there is any fabric you can remove by tugging along the zipper lines and turning the clothing inside out.
If there is a piece of fabric you can’t get a good hold on during the process, a pair of tweezers will come in handy. If you’re in a severe jam, you’ll need to step up your lubricant.
Baby powder, talc powder, lip balm, Vaseline, bar soap, glass cleaner, and more can be used as household lubricants for stuck zippers, as we have seen.
Tips to Keep Your Zipper Free
- Always close garment zippers entirely and flip clothes inside out before washing to protect them.
- Rub the teeth of a No. 2 graphite pencil to polish metal zippers. Graphite lubricates metal teeth and helps the zipper slider operate smoothly.
- Soap will also clean the garment zipper teeth to keep it moving smoothly.
- Lubricate metal zippers with WD-40. Apply lubricant with a cotton swab to prevent staining the clothes.
- A fork can temporarily reattach a separated zipper to a garment. Using this procedure, the teeth will mesh, but the zipper will unzip immediately.
How to Make a Zipper Slide Easier
Rub soap over the teeth of the zipper slider. Give it a gentle tug; if that doesn’t work, try other lubricant types, like pencil lead, glass cleaner, or petroleum jelly.
How to Replace a Zipper Pull Tab
Finding a replacement for the missing or broken zipper pull tab is easy. First, attach a key ring or paperclip to the slider in an emergency. Then, use needle nose pliers to pull your zipper in a pinch. (Read Breaking In Birkenstocks Guide)
How To Stop Zipper Sliding Down
Why do only jeans and pants have falling zippers? The short answer is they get a lot of wear and tear as you tug on your zipper. On brass zippers, pull a small finger that locks into your zipper teeth. If these don’t work, you’ll need the entire zipper replaced.