How To Fix A Broken Zipper: 15 Easy Ways

Save yourself that last-minute panic and embarrassment with these handy ideas

Reviewed by Ashlee Jaine, Certified Personal Stylist Ashlee Jaine Ashlee JaineCertified Personal Stylist youtube_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature) Shalini Roy MA (English Literature) Experience: 2 years
Edited by , MA (English) Asmita De MA (English) Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Mass Communication & Journalism) Joyce Joyson MA (Mass Communication & Journalism)

We use zippers every day, and they definitely make our lives a lot more convenient. However, they can be a headache when they malfunction at a critical time, and you do not know how to fix a broken zipper. Running to the cobbler isn’t an option when you are about to step out of the house for an important meeting and your purse or jacket zipper gives way. Fret not! This article lists some effortless and instant ways to fix stuck or broken zippers at home without having to stress about it. Ashlee Jaine, a personal stylist, adds, “Not only will these zipper fashion hacks save you stress, and time if you have a zipper emergency, but these style tips will also save you money by being able to salvage a garment that would have otherwise become unwearable.” Keep scrolling!

15 Best Ways To Fix A Broken Zipper Easily And Quickly

1. Replace The Top Stop And Slider

Replacing the top stop and slider is the ideal way to fix a broken zipper
Image: Shutterstock
  • Use pliers to take off the top stop of the broken zipper.
  • Remove the zipper slider completely from the zipper chain.
  • Set a new slider onto the teeth from the top.
  • Using a pair of pliers, replace the top stop with a new one and insert the slider back into the chain.
  • Press the slider slightly to ensure the zipper is locked properly. And voila! You have a smooth-running zipper again!

Julann Blake, a blogger, detailed how to replace a jacket zipper, emphasizing meticulous steps from measuring to stitching. She noted, “Markings will be very important to making the zipper application look professional (i).” She highlighted the need for precision, using pliers to adjust zipper length and employing detailed markings for accurate alignment during stitching.

protip_icon Did You Know?
The modern zipper, initially called the “hookless fastener,” was invented by Gideon Sundback in 1913, revolutionizing the way we close our garments.

2. Use A Graphite Pencil

  • To fix a broken or stuck zipper, rub the tip of a sharp graphite pencil along closed zipper teeth, trying to work the zipper down.
  • Slowly run the broken zipper downwards. It should be easier to slide now.
  • Once the zipper is all the way down, start closing it again with short movements.

3. Using Laundry Soap

Laundry soap can fix zippers as it lubricates the surface and enables the zipper to run smoothly.

  • Mix water and a small amount of detergent in a small dish.
  • Dip a cotton ball in the mixture.
  • Apply the mixture all over the zipper’s teeth with the saturated cotton ball.
  • Leave it for a few seconds and gently attempt to unzip the zipper.
  • You can do this process patch by patch or all together at once to ensure that the broken zip returns to its original position and works smoothly.

4. Use A Key Ring

When the zipper slider comes off, attach a key ring to it through the zipper tab.

This temporary fix will enable you to use the zipper.

5. Rearrange The Zipper Teeth

Rearranging the zipper teeth is yet another easy way to fix broken zippers.

  • Bring the slider all the way down, but make sure the zipper does not come off completely.
  • Smoothen out the teeth of the zipper and align them properly. This is easier for nylon zippers, as they can be moved to one side and then aligned from the other end.
  • Once the alignment is done, it is easy to move the zipper up and down.

6. Use A Pair Of Tweezers

  • Pull the blockage-causing teeth of the zipper with a pair of tweezers.
  • Wiggle the zipper slider up and down softly, and it should work seamlessly.

7. Petroleum Jelly

The oldest trick in the book is to use petroleum jelly to ensure that your zipper works smoothly. Petroleum jelly helps lubricate the chain and ensures that the zipper runs smoothly without getting stuck.

  • Coat the zipper teeth with petroleum jelly with the help of a Q tip or cotton pad.
  • You can either coat the patch around the stuck or broken zipper or run it through the entire zipper chain.
protip_icon Pro Tip
Use a cotton swab dipped in white vinegar to clean the zipper teeth. This removes dirt and grime, preventing jams and making the zipper functionally smoother.

8. Paper Clip Puller Or A Safety Pin

Paper clip puller or a safety pin helps to fix the broken zipper
Image: Shutterstock

Just like the key ring, a paper clip U-pin also works perfectly if the zipper’s puller breaks.

  • Simply hook the U-pin clip into the gap of the puller and use it to slide the zipper.
  • You can also use a safety pin instead of a U-pin as a temporary replacement for a zipper puller.

9. Removing Unnecessary Buildup

There can be minute shreds of fabric or laundry buildup around the zipper teeth or puller, which may cause the zipper to break. You have to wash the garment to remove this buildup.

  • You can also use the spot wash technique to remove any fragments or shreds of fabric that may have stuck in the zipper.
  • Use a hair conditioner to wash the zipper to ensure it runs and functions smoothly.

10. Repairing The Damaged Teeth

One of the major reasons for your zipper to break is damaged zipper teeth.

  • Move the puller slider over the damaged teeth area and sew a new stop point just above the damaged teeth. It will shorten the length of the zipper but will also ensure that the bottom section of the new stop remains closed.
  • You may even whipstitch the lower part to prevent the teeth from gaping open.

11. Try Nail Polish

The zipper might break or slip as its teeth have worn down from too much use, and this is where clear nail polish may come in handy.

  • Paint the thin teeth with a thick coat of clear nail polish and let them dry completely. It will thicken the teeth and help you restore the zip to its former glory and seamless operation.
  • If you feel your problem isn’t fixed yet, you may go ahead with another coat of clear nail polish on the teeth.

12. Avoid Tugging Or Pulling

  • If the zipper is stuck or already broken, avoid tugging, yanking, or pulling it with force. It may cause the zip to break further and become unfixable. Instead, use gentle pressure, consistent soft pulls, and a steady hand to pull up the zipper.
  • If you are struggling to do so, you can rub petroleum jelly, lip balm, candle, or some wax around the broken zip and along the teeth chain to ensure smooth and seamless functioning.

13. If One Side Is Off The Track

  • Snip the threads or fragments of the garments that may be stuck in the zipper.
  • Slide the zipper all the way down to the bottom of the zipper chain.
  • Start threading the loose side into the slider and work your way up and down to ensure it works properly.
  • If it does not work, you can use a pair of pliers to adjust and align the chain’s teeth.
  • Once the slider reaches the top, you can close the zipper stop from the bottom.
  • You can also secure the zipper by sewing a couple of times at the bottom to ensure that the ends do not separate.

14. Fix It With A Screwdriver

  • Find the end of the zipper that has a square-shaped tab at the bottom of it.
  • Without tugging or yanking, slowly connect the teeth individually to that end of the slider to ensure that they are aligned.
  • Use a screwdriver for precise and easy alignment.
  • When you are done aligning the teeth into both of the slider’s ends, carefully pull the zipper tab up and down.

15. Try Using Vaseline

Another effective solution for a stubborn zipper is Vaseline. The lubricating properties of the petroleum jelly can help smooth the movement of the zipper. Here is how to do it.

  • Ensure the zipper is free from dirt or debris by gently wiping it with a clean cloth.
  • Use your fingertips or a cotton swab to apply a small amount of Vaseline along the teeth on both sides of the zipper.
  • Carefully move the zipper back and forth to evenly distribute it. The lubrication should facilitate smoother zipping.
  • Wipe off any excess Vaseline with a clean cloth to avoid staining.
  • Check if the zipper moves more freely. If needed, you can repeat the process.

Learning how to repair a zipper is among the essential fashion hacks you will ever learn. It is because practically every dress, blazer, skirt, and pair of pants in your closet has a zip. While it isn’t always a simple repair, you have nothing to worry about. The DIY techniques listed above might be fairly efficient and beneficial for a quick fix at home. In addition, a broken zipper can be repaired rather than replaced entirely. We understand that repairing something on your own may take some practice or patience, but fixing zippers will be a breeze!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a ripped zipper be fixed?

No. A ripped zipper needs to be replaced.

Is it hard to replace a zipper?

No. You need to get a new zipper (the same as the old one) and replace it with the help of a sewing machine.

Can you replace individual zipper teeth?

No. You cannot replace individual zipper teeth. You need to replace the whole zip.

Can a zipper be hand-sewn?

Yes. A zipper can be hand-sewn. You have to position the zipper along the seam of the garment and stitch it using the hand-picking technique or backstitch it (for invisible zippers).

Key Takeaways

  • You can use a Graphite pencil for fixing broken or stuck zippers.
  • Laundry soap can greatly help in fixing stuck zippers quickly.
  • Puller breaks of zippers can be easily fixed with a paper clip U-pin.

Learn how to fix a broken zip in a few minutes with this wonderful video. Discover easy solutions to zipper problems with some added tips. Hit the play button now!

Personal Experience: Source

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Ashlee Jaine

Ashlee JaineCertified Personal Stylist

Ashlee Jaine is a certified personal stylist with five years of experience. She discovered the profound link between style and self-presentation when she wore an outfit that perfectly fit her, enhancing her appearance and confidence. This experience taught her how clothing can influence how one feels and interacts with the world. Ashlee offers outfit inspiration, fashion tips, and style full bio

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