Undoubtedly one of the most helpful fashion tips you’ll ever learn is how to mend a zipper. The reason is that almost every outfit in your closet, including dresses, jackets, skirts, and pairs of pants, has at least one zip. But a clean fix isn’t always possible. Broken zippers are perhaps the most challenging fashion item to repair. The more you attempt to move the zipper up and down (in varying levels of agony), the more often the zipper becomes broken.
While you could use the bung zipper on your adjacent clothes as a backup, if you’re on your way out and your bag or clothes suddenly shatter, you need a rapid fix. Additionally, getting it to a professional may not be an option since many stores won’t reopen until mid-April, so you might need to fix the zipper yourself.
As a part of our ongoing “How to” Style Lab series, we’ve rounded together some of the best zipper repair tips using everyday home items like Vaseline, pencils, or even nail paint, depending on what you have lying around.
Scroll down for quick, simple fixes to get you back on track.
Several different things might cause your zipper to break. First, let’s ensure that we know the names of each zipper component, including the tooth, slider, and puller, to ensure that the directions for how to repair it are as straightforward as possible.
When the zip is fastened, if it separates or unravels
Does your zipper seem to function well, but once a problem is resolved, all the teeth come undone? In my opinion, the slider, also known as the component used to lock the teeth together, is the problem. These sliders become far less efficient at holding the tooth in place as they loosen and gape over time. While you might have the whole zipper replaced on your clothing by a tailor, you may want to try a simple, less expensive hack first (because no one desires to fork out on a whole new zip if you may, without difficulty, fix the one you have already got).
Grab a pair of pliers and keep the slider fastened to the clothing. The top plate of the slider is the portion that connects to the puller (at the side of the garment that faces outward). The lowest plate is the slider’s portion facing the inside of the garment. Use your tweezers to tightly squeeze the pinnacle and bottom plate together to assist the slider in taking on its original, more precise form. Checking that the distance between the two areas (where the enamel remains) is decreasing is a simple way to determine if the pliers are working.
Avoid pressing too firmly immediately to avoid damaging the slider, which may happen if you do. The idea is to gradually accomplish so, squeezing the plates on both sides of the puller until they are perfect.
If the zip is disabled via the slider
2. ACCESSORISE A SCREWDRIVER
The zipper would not necessarily need to be changed if one or both sides of the slider came off the track; the slider merely needs to be reattached. It would help if you first found the zip’s “backside” to do this. When you are wearing the item, the end of the zip closest to the ground is often the bottom. If unsure about the correct facet, use a square tab of fabric to search for the give-up after the zip has finished.
Next, insert the slider with the enamel coming out of that stop. Use a flathead screwdriver to press the enamel into position if you need extra force. Use the puller to move the teeth up and down the music to secure them in place after they are within each of the slider’s corners.
If the zip becomes stuck
3. APPLY TWEEZERS
Check the zip first to check if anything is lodged there, such as a piece of clothing or even errant fibers. Before retrying the zip, remove any obstacles by hand if possible.
If the obstruction isn’t moving, insert a pair of tweezers to remove the block from the tooth gently. Tugging on the slider while gently wriggling the puller up and down might sometimes assist in removing more difficult devices.
4. EITHER USE A PENCIL OR WASHING SOLUTION
If the zip still doesn’t budge, hold onto your faith. You may need to give it a little more assistance. Start by lightly covering the teeth near the motel with graphite using a pencil; this will be a lubricant to promote a smooth run. If it doesn’t work, try adding a tiny bit of dishwashing detergent to the slider to help it go up and down the teeth.
5. CONSIDER VASELINE
Try Vaseline as an alternative if the pencil and washing-up liquid doesn’t work or if you’re concerned they could stain your clothing. The first thing to do is to apply a little layer of Vaseline on the outside of a cotton bud. Using a cotton bud, the jelly should then be painted into the teeth around the blockage. Vaseline is said to help throw off any tiny objects that could get stuck within the zip.
If a tooth on your zip is missing:
We advise sending your clothing to a tailor for this problem since toothless zipper repairs may be complicated. Meanwhile, please scroll down to discover our quick maintenance until you have time to see the tailor.
If your zip may not remain in place:
6. APPLY PLIER
Your zip may have become loose, or the enamel may have worn away if it keeps slipping down. Start by carefully inspecting the zip to see whether any teeth are definitely out of alignment. If so, gently bend the errant tooth using a fixed pair of pliers. Instead, go on to the next stage if they all seem to be in the ideal location.
7. EXERCISE NAIL POLISH
A practical tip is to paint the enamel with clear nail polish if you suspect your teeth have worn down from overuse (yes, it happens). This will significantly thicken the teeth, which could aid in restoring the zip to its earlier operating condition. After applying your first layer of polish, if the zip still won’t close, applying another coat or two would be worthwhile.
Utilize a paper clip.
You may need to replace the zipper entirely if everything else fails, and you cannot get the annoying zip to stay in place. For a temporary workaround until then, insert a paper clip inside the slider’s loop like follows:
Then, to keep the entire thing in place, loop the other side of the paper clip over the button or clasp that serves as the top of the zipper.
OR A SECURITY PIN
Alternatively, if you have a safety pin on hand, pin both sides of the zip closed as follows:
Although they are not long-term solutions, they are excellent options if your zip breaks while you are out and about or if you don’t have time to fix them.
Remember the following to stop your zipper from breaking again:
10 DO NOT YANK IT
The best way to prevent damaging your zipper is to ensure you don’t use excessive pressure while fastening it. Moving the sliders up and down the zip requires frequent, consistent pulls. If you must start pulling very hard to get the puller to transport, pause and rethink your strategy.
11. CHECK TO MAKE SURE THE ZIP IS NOT UNDER OVERLY STRESSED
The zip may buckle when there is too much strain pushing the teeth apart if you are trying to close an overflow bag or the jeans are too small. Here, it’s essential to resist yanking the zip. While the zipper presents a significant amount of resistance when closed, this often hints that the zip may still break even after being forcefully closed. Instead, try emptying your luggage or bringing your clothing to a tailor to see if they can raise the item’s form (it’s possible that if the zip is too tight to lock, the article of clothing isn’t very secure to put on both), which might kill two birds with one stone.
And there you have it—our tried-and-true advice and tips for mending a broken zipper.