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Zippers can become a nuisance when they start to encounter their signature problems like separating, sliding open, or just getting stuck. However, there are a few different ways you can solve a faulty zipper.

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3 Ways to Fix a Stuck Zipper

When it comes to fixing a stuck zipper, there are many different strategies you can try to get it zipping again, such as:

  1. Use a graphite pencil. To fix a stuck zipper, start with a graphite pencil. Rub the tip of the pencil along the closed zipper teeth, trying to work the zipper down.
  2. Use bar soap or wax. Try using a lubricating substance like a bar of soap, some chapstick, or lip balm to make the teeth easier to slide through.
  3. Use petroleum jelly. When all else fails, you can use petroleum jelly. Add a fingertip’s worth of petroleum jelly to the stuck zipper to lubricate the zipper teeth, making it easier to work the zipper out of its stuck position. However, if the zipper is part of a fabric item, the jelly can leave a greasy stain if not cleaned properly.

How to Fix a Zipper That Keeps Sliding Open

When the zipper’s locking mechanism is out of place, your zipper might have trouble staying zipped. You may encounter this problem more often on clothing items that get a lot of wear and tear. Unless you replace the zipper entirely, there’s no real permanent fix for this problem.

However, if this issue is happening on a pair of pants, a temporary solution is to use household items like a key ring or rubber band to fasten to the end of the zipper and loop it around the pants button to keep it up (you can also use this method to make a new zipper pull).

For other articles of clothing, another temporary fix is to try using sticky hairspray to cause a buildup in the teeth, making it harder to fall down.

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How to Fix a Separated Zipper

A separated zipper does not necessarily equal a broken zipper. If your zipper has separated from the teeth, here are a few solutions you can try:

  • Check the zipper slider. When the zipper doesn’t stay attached to the teeth, check to see if the slider openings have been stretched. Use a pair of pliers to slightly squeeze the openings closed (but not closed enough that the teeth can no longer fit in them).
  • Align the zipper teeth. Sometimes a zipper slider will separate from the teeth when they’ve become bent or misaligned. Use needle-nose pliers to straighten them out to ensure the mechanism has an easy slide.
  • Reinsert the slider. If you’ve tried to adjust the openings and the teeth of your item and the zipper slider still won’t stay connected, try starting over from scratch. If you have a metal zipper, remove the small pieces of metal at the top of the zipper track, also known as top stops, and slide the zipper slider all the way off (however, this method will not work for plastic zipper stops). Use pliers to slightly stretch the openings of the metal stoppers and wiggle them free. Once you’ve removed the slider, push the zipper’s teeth together tightly, realigning the track evenly. When you’ve realigned the teeth, put the slider back on the track one opening at a time. Once the slider moves normally again, gently put the top stops back in their place.

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