How to Repair a Zipper

Written by ehow fashion, style & personal care editor
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How to Repair a Zipper
Repair a Zipper

A busted zipper doesn't have to be the end of the line for your favorite bag or jacket. From zippers that won't budge to those that have gone off track, there are a number of ways to repair a zipper without installing a new one.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Embroidery scissors or razor blade
  • Wax
  • Pair of pliers
  • Heavy nylon thread
  • Jewelry wire
  • Beads

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    Make Simple Zipper Repairs

  1. 1

    Examine your zipper to identify what may be causing it not to close. Look for thread or material caught in the teeth or a gap in the closure to identify the source of your zipper troubles.

  2. 2

    Cut away any threads or fabric caught in the teeth of your zipper with a pair of embroidery scissors or a razor before attempting to pull the slide over the congested area.

  3. 3

    Lubricate the teeth of your zipper by rubbing a bar of beeswax along them while the slider is pulled to one side.

  4. 4

    Pull the slider from one end to the other a couple of times to fully coat the teeth.

    Repair a Gaping Zipper

  1. 1

    Repair a gap in your zipper by removing the metal stop at the end of the zipper. You can use a pair of pliers to pry this metal bar away from the fabric of the zipper.

  2. 2

    Move the slider down the zipper, carefully realigning the teeth as you go. Zip the realigned teeth up completely before proceeding.

  3. 3

    Thread your needle with a double length of heavy nylon thread and tie it off at one end.

  4. 4

    Insert your needle through the wrong side of the base of the zipper.

  5. 5

    Stitch a thick satin stitch at the base of the zipper where the metal stop has been removed.

    Install a New Zipper Pull

  1. 1

    Replace a broken zipper pull by removing it completely from the slider with pliers.

  2. 2

    Use jewelry wire to create a decorative pull of beads or buttons by threading them through one end of the wire.

  3. 3

    Tie off the wire around one bead, leaving one end of the wire free to attach to the loop of the slider.

Tips and warnings

  • Replacing a zipper, especially the industrial zippers used on luggage, may require industrial grade sewing machines. You should take the item you wish to replace the zipper in to your local luggage repair shop or tailor.
  • Do not allow children to use embroidery scissors or a razor blade to repair a zipper, as these sharp items may cause injury.

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