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How to Fix a Broken Zipper

Having a broken zipper is no reason to throw that favorite jeans away. Learning to replace it is the solution. Read to know all about fixing this wardrobe malfunction.
Omkar Phatak Nov 5, 2018
Having a broken zipper may lead to a very embarrassing situation and unless you know how to fix it quickly, you can be in a spot of bother. Sometimes, the zipper pull simply comes off, dislodges from one side or simply gets stuck. Many people simply stop using or throw away their clothes, which are made unwearable due to a broken zipper.
A broken zipper is a 'wardrobe malfunction', that is easy to take care of. One needs to know the basic working of a zipper, to fix it. It consists of two rows of parallel metal teeth, on each side. The slider has metal grooves inside, that engage the teeth on both sides to zip the zipper. It is quite an ingenious piece of engineering, if you think about it.
There can be various reasons for a zipper falling in disrepair. Depending on the kind of problem, you may need some tools and may need to be adept, at basic sewing techniques. The basic tools that you'll need, are a scissor, pair of pliers, thick thread (used for sewing buttons), sewing machine, and needles.

How to Fix a Stuck Zipper?

There can be two reasons for a zipper getting stuck. The major reason is the disruption of slider teeth alignment and the other reason may be lack of lubrication. The former is the more common case and you can easily take care of it. The disruption of slider teeth arrangement, leads to improper locking of teeth and subsequently, the slider gets stuck.
Firstly, spray some lubricant like oil, on the zipper and try to move the slider down. Once you get it to the bottom and align the parallel sides of the zipper, move the slider up slowly, to get the teeth lock. If that doesn't solve the issue, then remove the stopper at the end with pliers and slide the zipper till the bottom, without entirely removing it.
Align both the sides of the zipper properly and fix any misaligned teeth, using pliers. Then, try to see if the zipper locks the teeth. If it works, then using a thick thread, sew the bottom of the zipper, back again, without putting the stopper in place. That should do the job.

Fix the Zipper Pull

Often, a broken zipper pull can be a problem, as it makes zipping up difficult. In such a case, you need to replace it. The slider has a hole-like arrangement at the top. Replace the pull with an open ended metal ring, that usually comes with key chains. We are sure that you must have some old ones lying around. A temporary substitute can be a safety pin.

Fixing the Slider

If the slider is bent, it can be fixed using pliers, by restoring its shape. However, if the whole slider is broken and is beyond salvage, it's best to replace it. Buy a new slider. Remove the stopper from the end of the zipper and remove the old one.
Engage the teeth of the zipper, from one side first, into the groove of the new slider and do the same from the other side. Once both the teeth lineups of the zipper are engaged in the new slider, move it up and down, to ensure it's locking teeth properly. Then, simply sew the bottom of the zipper, to lock the slider in place.

Replacing a Broken One

If the zipper teeth have a distorted alignment, which is beyond repair, there is no way out but to replace the entire zipper assembly. Buy a new assembly of the same length, as the old one. Remove the old zipper by cutting off the stitches from the inside. Remove the stopper and then remove the old zipper.
With a sewing machine, sew the new zipper in place, while taking care that its teeth align and match properly on both sides. Slide in the slider and stitch the bottom. With that, the replacement is accomplished. It is a simple technique, which you will get better at, with practice.
Remember, if you use the zipper properly and pull the slider up and down slowly, it will rarely fall into disrepair. Also, lubricate the slider occasionally so that it doesn't get stuck. If the grip of the slider has loosened, compress it with pliers, to restore the grip. These were the precautionary measures to prevent a zipper-based wardrobe malfunction.