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A step-by-step guide to fixing a broken zipper

2023-09-13T15:20:46+00:00
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Fixing a broken zipper (Photo: Shutterstock)
  • Fixing a broken zipper.
  • It’s easier than you think.
  • Just follow this simple guide.

A broken zipper doesn’t have to be the end of your favorite garment or bag.

It’s an issue almost all of us have encountered and it can usually be fixed at home.

With just a few tools and a little patience, you can usually get that zipper back in working order.

This guide will take you through the common problems and their simple fixes.

How to fix a broken zipper: Tools and initial assessment

Pliers for Zipper Slider Repair
Photo: Shutterstock

Before diving into the repair, you’ll need to gather some essential tools: needle-nose pliers, a flat screwdriver, a seam ripper and either a bar of soap or some candle wax for lubrication.

Once you have these in hand, examine the zipper to figure out what’s wrong.

Typically, you’ll encounter issues like misaligned teeth, missing pulls, or a zipper that has fully detached from the fabric.

Accurate identification of the problem will help you determine which of the following repair strategies to employ.

Fixing misaligned teeth and lubrication

Fixing a broken zipper, blue jeans
Photo: Shutterstock

Misaligned teeth are one of the most common zipper issues you’re likely to face.

These can often lead to a zipper that either gets stuck or refuses to close.

If you find yourself in this situation, first unzip the zipper entirely and then use your needle-nose pliers to realign the teeth.

Should you find that the zipper remains sticky or hard to pull even after the teeth are aligned, a bit of lubrication might be all you need.

In this case, rub a bar of soap or some candle wax along both sides of the teeth to help it move more smoothly.

Fixing a broken zipper temporarily

Broken blue jeans zipper, safety pin
Photo: Shutterstock

A broken or missing zipper pull can feel like a significant problem, but it’s usually an easy fix.

First, use your pliers to remove any parts of the old pull that may still be attached.

Once you’ve done that, you can thread something like a paperclip or key ring through the slider hole as a temporary pull.

For a temporary fix you can use a safety pin to fasten the fabric together or even employ a piece of tape to hold the zipper in its place

Tightening the slider and sewing

Tightening the slider and sewing, man, blue jeans
Photo: Shutterstock

In some situations when mending clothes, you might find that the zipper slider itself has become too loose over time, leading to a zipper that doesn’t close properly.

To solve this, gently pry the slider open a bit using your flat screwdriver. Then, use your pliers to squeeze it so it grips the teeth more securely.

Now, if the zipper has fully detached, that means you’ll have to sew it back into place.

For this, you’ll use your seam ripper to remove the existing stitches, then re-sew the zipper, ensuring it’s positioned correctly and the stitches are secure.

When to consider professional repair or replacement

Broken zipper on yellow shirt jacket
Photo: Shutterstock

What if you’ve tried all the above solutions and you find that the zipper still doesn’t work?

You might wonder whether it’s better to repair the zipper or replace the item altogether.

Typically, repairing is more cost-effective, and a tailor can replace the zipper if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself.

It’s often worth it, especially for valuable or sentimental items.

Fixing a broken zipper

woman, clothes problem
Photo: Shutterstock

Don’t let a broken zipper turn into a wardrobe crisis or make you discard a much-loved item.

With the right tools and some straightforward techniques, you can often restore a zipper to full functionality.

So the next time you’re faced with a zipper dilemma, remember this guide.

Your future self, wardrobe, and wallet will surely thank you.

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