How To

How to Fix a Zipper: 12 Easy Ways

How to Fix a Zipper

Learning how to fix a zipper can be useful knowledge, especially since we use them daily and find them almost everywhere.

Zippers can be found on many different items. They can be integrated in fashion — whether it be for aesthetics or added function — and even in other everyday items, such as pouches. Aside from clothes, you can also find zippers on a variety of outdoor gear and camping goods. They not only add some style, they’re very practical as well.

With all that said, it’s clear that zippers are truly everywhere and they are here to stay. Learning how to fix a zipper can come in handy when you’re caught off guard with a stuck or broken zip. However, fixing and replacing zippers can be quite costly.

With these easy zipper hacks, you can learn how to save money and avoid any unnecessary professional repairs.


What Are The Different Types of Zippers?

Like other mechanical devices and tools, there are also different types and parts of a zipper. Learning about these before tackling how to fix a zipper will prove to be useful. This is especially important because they come in different measurements, raw materials, and styles.

Zips vary according to their use; to improve the sturdiness, quality, and the exterior look of a project. True enough, you can pick one from a great assortment that could best fit your zipper needs.

Among the different types of zippers are:

Metallic Zippers

Metallic Zipper
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This zipper-type got its name from its main material, metal. Metal alloys, stainless steel, nickel, brass, and zinc usually make up metallic zippers. Manufacturers mold the metal parts of metallic zippers into their teeth shape. Then, these segments are placed in the tape of the zip at equal distance from each other.

People typically use these zips in more durable and tough fabrics such as denim or leather. If you may notice from your denim jeans or leather jackets, metal zippers are attached because they are more heavy-duty compared to other zipper types. Moreover, manufacturers can produce zippers in different colors to match that of a garment’s fabric for a more uniform look.


Plastic Zippers

Plastic Zipper
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Just like metallic zippers, plastic zippers are also named after their material. These zips are made from the process of plastic molding. Moreover, their cloth tapes are manufactured from polyester or cotton. The zipper slider of this type is typically made from zinc or steel.


Coil Zippers

Coil Zipper
Photo by Vlad B from Unsplash

These zips are also referred to as nylon zippers because they are usually made from nylon or polyester. Spiral plastic materials comprise this zipper type. Known for its versatility, coil zippers are useful in various clothing types, garments, bags, camping goods, and even automobile parts. 


Tooth Zippers

Tooth Zipper
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This zipper-type has visible teeth on both sides of its zipper tape. Tooth zippers have distinct and detached teeth in contrast to other zip kinds. Moreover, tooth zippers are usually used for tote bags, mini purses, sweaters, and jackets.


Invisible Zippers

Invisible Zipper
Photo by Matthew Humphrey from Unsplash

Invisible zippers are usually concealed behind the material’s seam, in contrast to tooth zippers and other zipper-types. You can handle this zipper through a visible pull tab that allows you to attach and detach the ends together. 

Although invisible zippers have the same function as that of other types, it is preferred by many due to its aesthetic purposes. If you want to have a smooth finish and seamless look, invisible zippers can give just that. They are also great for skirts, dresses, and blouse tops.


How to Fix A Broken Zipper

The process of zipping and unzipping can be annoying when your zip just won’t bind in place. This usually happens when a zipper slider slackens due to constant pressure and zipping. Learning what to do when your zip just keeps coming undone could be handy knowledge to have. 

To avoid these inconveniences, here are some methods on how to fix a zipper that you can try now:

Paper Clip

Paper Clips
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If you find yourself in a situation where you have a broken zipper and cannot run back home right away, then this quick fix could come in handy. You could use a paper clip to hold the seams of your garment or bag together. This way, your open fly won’t be as visible and you can carry on with your day.


Safety Pin

Safety Pin
Image by Mahesh Patel from Pixabay

Usually, when a zip just won’t work, it might mean that you need to find a zipper replacement. If you don’t have the time or means to replace your zip right away, you can always go for this short-term solution. 


A safety pin can help keep the ends of your zip closed. Simply fasten the safety pin on the two edges of your zip and make sure that the pin is secure. Do check your zip occasionally because safety pins may unfasten due to constant movement.



Photo by Tekton from Unsplash

Among the many tips on how to fix a zipper is through the use of a screwdriver. There may be an instance when your zipper’s slide won’t come off its teeth. This does not mean that you need to replace it right away. With a screwdriver, you can repair the zip in just a few steps. The purpose of this is to simply reattach the teeth with the slide. 

To fix up your zipper, find the end of the zip that has a square-shaped tab on its finish. Then, connect the teeth individually to that end of the slider. Using a screwdriver can help make this process much quicker. When you are done feeding the teeth into both of the slider’s ends, carefully pull the puller tab up and down.



Photo by JESHOOTS.COM from Unsplash

One of the tricks on how to repair a broken zipper is through the use of pliers. First, find the slider part that is fastened to your zipper’s puller tab. This is referred to as the top plate and is usually facing outwards of the garment. Meanwhile, you can find the bottom plate on the other side of the fabric. Next, try to indicate where the increasing gap between the top and bottom plates could be found. Then, use the pliers to slowly squeeze the plates closer to each other. Make sure that you are not pressing too intensely because doing so might break the slider. Once the zip is back to its tighter state, try zipping up and down until your zip attaches smoothly.


Nail Polish

Nail Polish
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

You will find this trick on how to fix a zipper to be helpful if your zip has missing teeth or is worn down. By painting the zipper’s teeth with clear nail polish, you can improve its durability and restore its strength. If this does not work, try applying another coat or two on the zipper teeth. However, you should make sure that each coat dries completely before adding another layer. If not, you may find that it will worsen your zipper’s state by having rougher teeth.


Lip Balm

Lip Balm
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Having a stuck zipper could be one of the most hassling experiences you could have. Fortunately, there is another way on how to fix a zipper stoppage right away. First, check if the zipper’s teeth are all in place. Then, try to smoothen it out by aligning the teeth to the slide properly. If you find that everything is in place, you could use a lip balm to lubricate the teeth. This will help smoothen the glide of the zipper. If the zip is still stuck, you can check the teeth alignment again. Then, run a lip balm through it and fasten the zip slowly. Repeat this process until you are able to fasten the zip completely.



Photo by HowToGym from Unsplash

A powder product could be an affordable and instant fix for stuck zippers. A stuck zip usually occurs when there is too much pressure on the zipper or when the teeth are not properly aligned. So, make sure to assess these conditions first before considering a zipper replacement.

To fix a stuck zip, you could start by checking on the zipper teeth. Then, gently extend and straighten out the zip. This will help you see all the teeth properly. Make sure that everything is in place before running the zip with a lubricant. In this case, you could use powder. If you find that the zip still won’t stay secure, just repeat the two steps. Do make sure to be gentle when tugging the zip to avoid further damage.



Photo by Heungsoon from Pixabay

If your zip just won’t close, you can use tweezers as a quick fix. This is a great way on how to reattach a zipper, especially when there are rogue materials that come in the way of your zip.

To do this, you have to ensure that nothing has caught up on the zip. Remove any cloth fibers or garment pieces that might have gotten stuck. If you find that there are rogue items in the zip that are too small for your hands, grab a pair of tweezers to easily remove them. Then, try zipping and unzipping gently until the zip completely fastens. 


Candle Wax

Candle Wax
Photo by Rebecca Peterson-Hall from Unsplash

Another way on how to fix a zipper is through candle wax. Often, worn-out teeth make zippers close improperly. As a quick fix, try lubricating the zipper teeth with candle wax. Apply a small amount to the teeth to make it glide smoothly. You have to be mindful of not applying too much because this could clog up the teeth and worsen the problem.


Soap or Detergent

Photo by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels

If your zipper still won’t budge, you could also try using liquid soap or detergent as a lubricant. This is one of the many ways on how to fix a stuck zipper that you can try right away.

To do this, pour a small amount of liquid soap or liquid detergent into a container. You may add some water with the soap to make the solution a bit milder. Then, dip a cotton ball into the solution and gently dab it onto the zipper teeth. After coating the teeth with the soap or detergent solution, try to zip and unzip. Repeat the process until the zipper fastens smoothly all the way.



Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

Like most products, there are a lot of uses for pencils. As a matter of fact, one of many tricks on how to fix a stuck zipper is through the use of a pencil. 

The teeth should align with the slide properly. Check each tooth individually to ensure that this is the case for the stuck zipper. Then, use a pencil to gently layer the teeth where the stoppage occurs. Then, try to zip and unzip until you have a smooth and even glide.


Zipper Replacement

Photo by sewingdirectory from Pixabay

If you find that all these ways on how to fix a zipper still won’t work, you may have no other choice but to replace your zipper. You can find various zipper replacements in stores. If you do not have the means or time to find a zipper replacement, you could recycle the zippers from your old or unworn clothes. You could also reuse the zippers from your purses, shoes, and pretty much anything that you won’t be using in the future.


Final Thoughts

Indeed, zippers are tiny mechanical wonders that make our everyday living more efficient and convenient. These tools could also help make our garments and sewing projects more useful and even aesthetically-pleasing.

If you find a malfunctioning zipper in your clothes or purses, do keep in mind that there are many quick fixes you can do. With these handy tips and tricks, you won’t ever find yourself stressing over another broken zipper again.