How to Stop a Metal Zipper From Sticking

Written by cynthia measom
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How to Stop a Metal Zipper From Sticking
A metal zipper can sometimes stick and prove difficult to move. (zipper concept. revealing technology image by Stasys Eidiejus from

A zipper can stick at the most inopportune time, leaving you with the frustration of trying to move it up or down. Rather than attempt to accomplish what seems an impossible feat, you can remedy the problem with several items you likely have in your household. Not only will this solve your problem; it can also help extend the life of the zipper, because you won't risk bending the zipper pull or otherwise damaging it.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Lead point of a pencil
  • Crayon
  • Candle
  • Paraffin wax
  • Scissors
  • Small container
  • 4 or 5 drops of mild liquid dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Soft toothbrush
  • Silicon zipper spray
  • String

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  1. 1

    Rub a crayon, candle, paraffin wax or the lead point of a pencil gently on the teeth of the zipper to lubricate it.

  2. 2

    Grip the top or the bottom of the zipper installed on the garment or bag, and pull the slack out of the material surrounding the zipper.

  3. 3

    Grasp the zipper pull and tug it gently in the direction you want it to move. Unzip and zip the zipper again to ensure smooth motion.

  1. 1

    Locate the piece of fabric or thread stuck in the zipper.

  2. 2

    Pull on the thread or fabric gently, with your fingers, to free it from the zipper. Pull the zipper pull in the opposite direction of the fabric or thread that is stuck as you try to work it free.

  3. 3

    Work carefully so you won't damage the fabric. Cut the thread with scissors, if you can do so without damage to the item to which the thread is attached.

  1. 1

    Fill a small container halfway full of warm water and add four or five drops of mild liquid dish soap. Agitate the water with your fingers to form bubbles.

  2. 2

    Dip the bristles of a soft toothbrush into the soapy water. Brush the zipper teeth to remove dirt or corrosion.

  3. 3

    Spray the teeth and head of the zipper with silicon spray to lubricate.

  4. 4

    Tie a piece of string to the zipper pull tab and pull it in the direction that will close the zipper, while holding the bottom of the zipper with your other hand to remove the slack and keep it straight.

Tips and warnings

  • When using a candle, crayon or paraffin wax, avoid gouging off big chunks onto the zipper teeth.
  • Avoid using pliers or other implements to free fabric from the zipper because they may tear it.

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