How to Fix a Stuck Zipper

Zippers are great little things … until they get stuck. And this almost always happens when you are either preparing for an important event, or you are late, or both. But instead of ruining the fabric and your day, we have a few options on how to fix it using things you probably already have in your home.

As with everything else in life, lubrication is key here. The lightest and least dirty lubricant, according to Haukast, is a lead pencil. Just rub the teeth on both sides of the zipper with a pencil and try again. Here:

If that doesn’t work, you may need a stronger (read: dirty) lubricant. Howcast recommends bar soap, petroleum jelly, or lip balm, but you probably have other things around the house that can help you. At Apartment Therapy, they recommend baby powder, talcum powder, glass cleaner (like Windex), and even waxed paper as a last resort. They also give this advice:

When choosing a lubricant, consider the fabric your item is made of (you definitely don’t want to stain it) and apply it along all the zipper teeth just as you would with a lead pencil. Pull the slider and you should be fine.

Need more suggestions? In Wonder How To, Yumi Sakugawa has a few more ideas as well as some great infographics . In addition to the above lubricants are also recommended to try candle wax is a neutral color, colored chalk on a cotton swab dipped in olive oil or dry lubricant Elmer’s Slide the All-Dry .

So the next time your zipper gets stuck, don’t yank it until the garment rips – know you have options.

This story was originally published in 2011 and has been updated in 2019 and October 20, 2020 to provide more complete and up-to-date information.


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