7 Easy Ways To Fix A Broken Zipper At Home

Though we would all like to think we take advantage of every single piece of clothing in our wardrobe, in reality, we likely only rock a couple of our favorite tops and pants over and over again. When you find that one shirt, or pair of jeans that look amazing and fit you perfectly, it’s only natural to want to wear them as much as you can. But this constant usage can result in some wear and tear. The seams may become frayed, the fabric may become stretched out, or the zipper may break.

Anyone who has ever had a zipper break on their favorite piece of clothing knows how horrible and helpless it can make you feel.

Lucky for you, we can most likely help you save the zipper. For a quick fix, you can try to mend your zipper with this method. But if that doesn’t work, there are a couple other methods you can try using materials you likely already have in your home. Keep reading and we will teach you how to fix a zipper, and save your favorite piece of clothing from the garbage can.

How Do Zippers Work?

Zipper

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings
Zippers make our day-to-day lives so much easier. Just imagine if your wardrobe was filled with only buttons and cords — no more quick “zzzzzzip” while running out the door. Instead you’d have to stand there and button your pants, your jacket and even your handbag. Getting ready everyday would take twice as long! But thanks to the genius inventor Gideon Sundback, the zipper fixed all of that, according to Thoughtco.com.

As Howstuffworks explains, the mechanics of a zipper are not that complicated. It includes two sets of teeth that are shaped as a hook and a hollow. When the zipper is being closed, the two sets of teeth combine and hook into each other making separation almost impossible. When the zipper is being opened, the slider separates those interlocked teeth with a plow-shaped wedge that is hidden inside it.

Causes For Broken Zippers

Types of broken zippers

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings
According togearrestore.com, there are three main causes for a broken zipper:

Splitting: This happens when the zipper teeth don’t interlock properly, and split behind the slider. Have you ever tried to zip up your jumper only to notice it has become undone at the bottom? We bet you know how annoying it is to try and to push the slider down again.

Missing Teeth: When a couple of teeth are missing on either side, the slider gets stuck and the zipper stops working.

Detachment From The Fabric: Sometimes the zipper itself can work fine, but the material it is sewed on can get detached from the fabric. In this case, technically, it is not a failure of the zipper but the stitching or the glue. In this case, you should grab your needle or procure a professional’s help.

All of these zipper failures can be caused by a number of factors, none of which can be avoided. As soon as you notice that your zipper isn’t working as smoothly as before, you should take action. Check below to learn how you can mend it several of these common zipper problems.

How To Fix A Stuck Zipper

Zipper is stuck

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If the slider of your zipper doesn’t go up and down as smoothly as before, or if it is stuck in one place completely, there are a few methods you can try to fix the problem.

 

Method #1: Graphite Pencil

Using pencil to fix stuck zipper

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings
What you’ll need:

1 graphite pencil

Step 1: Place the malfunctioning zipper on the table. Check if there is anything stuck in the slider, such as thread or fabric.

Step 2: Grab your graphite pencil and apply it thoroughly on the teeth above and beneath the stuck slider.

Step 3: Try to move the slider gently up and down. The graphite should work as a lubricant and smooth out the teeth.

Method #2: Liquid Soap

Using liquid soap to fix stuck zipper

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings
What you’ll need:

A clean bowl

A clean cotton bud

Liquid soap

Water

Step 1: Place the malfunctioning zipper on the table. Check if there is anything stuck in the slider, such as thread or fabric.

Step 2: Grab a bowl, pour in some soap and clean water. Mix it well.

Step 3: Take a cotton bud and rub the soapy mixture underneath and above the stuck slider.

Step 4: Try to move the slider up and down until it lubricates and starts working smoothly again.

How To Fix A Separated Zipper

Using pliers to fix split zipper

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings
What you’ll need:

Pliers

A clean cloth

A bowl

Liquid soap

Water

Step 1: Put the split zipper on a table and make sure the teeth are free from any thread or fabric.

Step 2: Grab a bowl and pour some soap and water in it. Mix it well.

Step 3: Take your cloth, dampen it in the mixture, and clean the teeth of the zipper to make sure there is no buildup of dirt or dust.

Step 4: Grab your pliers and gently squeeze the bottom of the slider. This will tighten up the slider which will make the teeth of the zipper interlock better. Make sure to squeeze the slider bit by bit, always checking on the zipper to see if you are making progress. Keep going until the zipper stops splitting.

 

How To Fix A Zipper That’s Missing Bottom Teeth

Using pliers to fix a zipper with missing teeth

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings
What you’ll need:

Pliers

Step 1: Put the item with the broken zipper on the table.

Step 2: Grab your pliers and gently loosen the metal stop at the very bottom of the zipper until it comes off.

Step 3: Take the metal stop and place it where the missing teeth of the zipper are.

Step 4: Take your pliers once more and tighten it so that this becomes the new bottom of the zipper.

How To Fix A Closed Zipper With A Slider That Has Come Off

Slider came off closed zipper

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings
What you’ll need:

Sharp nose pliers

Step 1: Place your item with a broken zipper on the table.

Step 2: Grab your sharp set of pliers and remove the metal stops and the top teeth of the zipper (around 1-2 cm).

Step 3: Place the slider at the top of the zipper and gently insert the tape into it. Keep going until the slider reaches the teeth.

Step 4: Once the first teeth come into the slider, take the two top sides of the tape above the slider and gently pull them away from each other. You should feel the slider working its way onto the teeth. Keep going until it the slider is back on the zipper and in working order.

Step 5: Replace the metal stops at the top of the teeth to make sure the slider doesn’t not come off.

How To Fix An Open Zipper With A Slider That Has Come Off

Breaking teeth off zipper

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings
What you’ll need:

Pliers with a sharp nose

Step 1: Place your item with a broken zipper on the table.

Step 2: Grab your sharp set of pliers and remove the metal stops and the top teeth of the zipper on both sides evenly (around 1-2 cm).

Step 3: Turn the slider upside down and put it at the top of the open zipper.

Step 4: Place both sides of the tape into the head of the slider. Keep pushing the upside down slider down the zipper until it reaches the first teeth.

Step 5: Line the teeth from both sides of the tape inside the slider and start working the slider down. The slider should now be closing the zipper.

This is not a long-term fix, but it will work for the day.

How To Fix A Zipper With A Pull That Has Come Off

Using paper clip as zipper pull

Morgan Swofford for LittleThings
What you’ll need:

A paper clip OR a keyring

A bowl

Soap

Water

A clean cloth

Step 1: Place the item with a broken zipper on a table.

Step 2: Take your paper clip or keyring and gently put it through the hole in the slider where the pull was.

Step 3: Take your bowl and pour some water and soap in it. Mix it well.

Step 4: Grab your cloth, dampen it well with the soapy water and dab it over all of the teeth of the zipper. This will clean and lubricate them, making sure the temporary pull you have just placed well have an easier time moving through.