How to Replace Zippers on Suitcases

Written by melanie fleury
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How to Replace Zippers on Suitcases
Replacing a zipper is not as hard as you may think. (zipper image by Radoslav Lazarov from

Packing for a trip can be time-consuming and frustrating. The frustration can escalate when you notice that the zipper on your suitcase is broken. Fortunately, you don't have to rush out and buy a new suitcase. You can easily repair the zipper in a few minutes, and your suitcase will be as good as new.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Small scissors
  • Thread
  • Cotton
  • Needle
  • Plier
  • Seam ripper

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  1. 1

    Inspect the zipper. Make sure the problem isn't something like a thread or piece of cloth sticking to the zipper. Use a small pliers or tweezers to correct the problem.

  2. 2

    Take the slider off the zipper. The slider is the piece that moves up and down the zipper portion. Push the slider all the way to the bottom and pull it off. Use pliers to remove the metal stop at the end of the bag if needed. The metal stop is the piece on the end of the zipper fabric that keeps the slider from simply sliding off. Check the zipper to be sure all the teeth are aligned. If they're aren't, align them one by one and slide the slider back on. Sew the bottom shut where you removed the metal tab.

  3. 3

    Rip the seam of the zipper. If alignment wasn't the problem, you'll have to redo the whole zipper and pull. Use a seam ripper to pull the zipper off the suitcase.

  4. 4

    Place your newly repaired zipper into the fold of the suitcase. Make sure that both sides are perfectly aligned and that the pull, or slider, is in place before you fold the suitcase fabric over the zipper fabric.

  5. 5

    Sew the length of the new zipper by hand or with a sewing machine. Make sure the tab is firmly on the teeth of the zipper, and that the alignment is correct the entire length of the zipper. Since you no longer have a metal piece to stop the slider from falling, you will need to sew across the bottom of the zipper so that the pull or slider cannot come off.

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