If you’ve ever had to deal with a stuck zipper, you know how aggravating it can be. A faulty zipper may prevent you from getting into (or out of) your favorite garments and accessories, and if you mess with them too often, you risk permanently destroying them. Fortunately, it’s typically rather simple to get those little bits operating again using simply basic home objects. When you’re battling with a tough zipper, just grab for a pair of tweezers.
Freeing Obstructions in the Fabric
1. Look for any cloth that has been entangled in the zipper. Zippers may sometimes stop operating when a piece of the surrounding fabric gets stuck between the teeth. Closely examine the clothing or item for snags, wrinkles, tangles, and other symptoms of a hangup. These are usually quite simple to fix.
- When a zipper refuses to move, snags are frequently at fault.
- If there are no obvious blockages in the zipper teeth, you may need to lubricate them instead.
2. Remove the cloth from the zipper. Once you’ve discovered the snag that’s obstructing the zipper, gently pull on the cloth surrounding the obstacle. If the snag is very tiny, using tweezers may help you obtain a better grasp. Pull the fabric in the opposite direction of the zipper and keep it in place. You may also use the tip of a safety pin to dislodge the cloth from within the teeth.
Take care not to stretch the cloth too much or it may rip.
3. Up and down the zipper. Begin slowly pulling the zipper tab while holding on to the snagged cloth. Slide it in both directions to check whether the cloth comes loose. Most of the time, consistent strain, tiny motions, and a little patience will enough to clean the zipper teeth.
If you are unable to release the cloth from the zipper, your only choice is to take it to a tailor.
4. Prevent further impediments. After successfully dealing with a problematic zipper, take a few preventative measures to ensure that the issue does not reoccur. Sew up ragged holes, smooth out creases, and trim away loose threads using a razor. Once finished, press the cloth on both sides of the zipper to ensure it sits flat.
- The less fabric that gets in the way of the teeth, the less probable it is that another snag will emerge.
- Look for ragged edges around the zipper tape itself.
Rubbing the Zipper with a Pencil
1. Locate a pencil. Look for a graphite pencil in your desk, bag, briefcase, or rubbish drawer. For the greatest results, use a conventional wooden pencil rather than a mechanical pencil—the larger tip will make it easier to get the graphite onto the zipper.
Graphite is a naturally effective dry lubricant.
2. Rub the pencil tip along both sides of the zipper teeth. While working, keep the zipper closed with one hand. Continue rubbing until you can see the graphite remaining on the teeth. Pay attention to the line where the teeth meet, since this is where most zippers become caught.
- To prevent damaging the pencil tip, just use gentle pressure.
- The loose graphite particles will cover the teeth’s edges, making them easier to lock and release.
3. Slide the zipper a little. Pull the zipper slowly and smoothly a few times to test it. Once begun, it should be able to glide freely. When you’re done, wash your hands and wipe away any residual graphite with a paper towel to prevent it from going all over the cloth. Do not try to push the zipper open. This might cause harm to the fabric or the zipper itself.
4. Rep until the zipper moves. If the pencil technique does not work immediately away, try again later. There may not be enough graphite on the teeth to move the zipper on the first try. Until you observe progress, alternate between rubbing the pencil and moving the zipper back and forth.
If you still have resistance after adding a second layer of graphite, try a different approach.
Using an Improvised Lubricant
1. Make your own lubricant. Look around your house for anything that can be used to minimize friction between the zipper’s slide and teeth. A bar of soap, a tube of chapstick, or even a bottle of Windex would suffice—almost any smooth, slippery material will suffice.
- Wax candles, petroleum jelly, crayons, and lip balm are among more alternatives.
- Because so many different homemade lubricants may be useful, you should always have a solution on hand, whether you’re at home, work, or on the road.
2. Apply the lubricant to the zipper teeth immediately. Begin with the teeth that are still linked and apply a good quantity of lubricant. After a few minutes, gradually ease the slide up and down. You should find it simpler to move the zipper as the lubricant penetrates further into the teeth. Try to keep the lubricant away from the cloth itself to avoid stains and discolouration.
- Smear on messier items like Vaseline or olive oil using a different utensil, such as a cotton swab.
- Spray Windex over the whole zipper region, then wait a few minutes before testing the zipper.
3. Try out the zipper. Take hold of the zipper tab and gently pull it to check whether it moves. Most likely, the lubricant did its job, and your zipper is now as good as new. Otherwise, you may need to use a second program to get it to reliably zip and unzip. Lubricants aid in the removal of built-up dust and debris from the teeth, which is the major cause of stuck zippers on older products.
If the zipper is still not cooperating, take it to an alterations business to be fixed or replaced.
4. Clean the clothing or item. If the item is washable, toss it in with your next load of laundry. Otherwise, use a moistened towel wet with a mild soap solution to clean the zipper and the area surrounding it. This is also an excellent practice to develop when it comes to keeping your zippers effective.
A proper cleaning will not only remove lubrication residue from the item, but it will also clean any leftover debris out of the zipper, rejuvenating and increasing its performance for many more wears.
How do you get a stuck zipper unstuck?
Reach for a bar of soap if you find yourself on the losing end of a stuck zipper. Rub the material over the zipper teeth and gently pull to make it give way. If it doesn’t work, try a different lubricant, such as pencil lead, glass cleaner, or petroleum jelly.
What is the best lubricant for zippers?
You’re in luck if you have a can of WD-40 Specialist Silicone Lubricant on hand, since this is one of the finest methods to unstick a difficult zipper. Simply point the nozzle towards the stuck place and spray a little amount of substance onto it, wait a second, and try again.
How do you lubricate a zipper?
To aid with zipper unsticking, apply lubricant to the zipper teeth using chapstick, crayon wax, the end of a graphite pencil, petroleum jelly, or other waxy materials or lubricants. Always do a spot test to guarantee that the item you’re using will not permanently stain the cloth.
Should you lubricate zippers?
Instead of worrying about whether the zipper will cooperate and move the next time you use it, give it some much-needed TLC by lubricating its teeth. To maintain that zipper moving smoothly, waxy substances, graphite, and even soap might be employed.
Is silicone spray good for zippers?
To keep zippers on garments, backpacks, sleeping bags, and other items moving smoothly, use silicone spray. Always wipe the zipper before adding any lubricant Because you don’t want dirt to become trapped in the zipper.
Can a zip be fixed?
Although zippers are a clever technical accomplishment, they are surprisingly easy to repair if you have the correct equipment. All you have to do is remove the damaged zipper slider and replace it with our Zipper Repair Kit, which contains all the sewing equipment you’ll need as well as the most common zipper sizes.