Ah, yes…the dreaded separated zipper. It’s one of the most common and infuriating wardrobe malfunctions out there. We’ve all been there—struggling to zip up our favorite jacket, only to find that the teeth of the zipper have become separated.
If you’re wondering why this happens, you’re not alone. The truth is, zippers can separate for a number of reasons—from wear and tear to improper use. If your zipper has separated, don’t despair! There are plenty of simple ways to try and fix it at home.
In this guide, I’m going to teach you how to troubleshoot a separated zipper in just a few steps. With just a bit of care and patience, we can get your zipper back in tip-top shape in no time! So let’s get started.
Identify the Problem: Teeth or Slider?
So you’ve got a broken zipper and you need to fix it. But before you even think about getting out your toolkit, take a step back and identify the problem. Is the zipper separated—meaning that the slider just isn’t catching onto the teeth? Or are the teeth actually broken or misaligned?
Zipper separation is often caused by too much stress on the zipper, which can loosen the slider and cause it to come off its tracks. On the other hand, broken teeth might be caused by a snag from clothing fabric or from simply overuse. Identifying the cause can help determine which repair method is required.
When you look closely, you should be able to distinguish between teeth that are broken or misaligned and teeth that have simply come detached from their slider. On both issues, there are several quick fixes available—all of which we’ll discuss in-depth here. So grab your tools and let’s get started!
Materials Needed to Fix a Separated Zipper
So, you’re ready to fix your zipper. Before you get started, you need to gather the right materials. First, grab yourself a pair of needle-nose pliers or tweezers—you’ll need these to grip the tiny teeth and slider parts of the zipper. You should also pick up some lightweight machine oil or wax product to lubricate the teeth and slider.
Next, get a few toothpicks. You’ll use these as makeshift tools for pushing and pulling on small components in hard-to-reach spots. Lastly, you’ll need something to hold the fabric of the zipper together while you work on it. A small rubber band or a large paper clip will do just fine.
Now that you’ve got all your materials prepped and ready, it’s time to fix that pesky separated zipper!
How to Fix a Broken Zipper Teeth
Now that you know what is causing the zipper to separate, it’s time to fix it. You can begin troubleshooting a broken zipper by using two common methods:
Method 1 – Crimp the Teeth
This method requires a special tool called a “zipper crimper.” This little-known tool is designed to hold zipper teeth in place while giving them a bit of extra strength. It’s relatively easy to use and works on most types of zippers. Here’s what you need to do:
- Set the crimper’s correct width for your zipper type, then insert each tooth and crimp in place
- Once all the teeth are crimped, move the slider up and down several times for extra strength
- Test out your repair job—if it still seems weak, repeat steps 1 & 2 again
Method 2 – Multiply the Teeth
This method is often easier to do than crimping, as you simply need to insert an extra tooth into each space on the zipper; repeating this process until each space is filled with multiple teeth. Here’s how it works:
- Insert an extra tooth into each space on one side of the zipper manually
- Move the slider up and down several times for extra strength, this will help secure new teeth onto the tape
- Replace old/worn out/missing teeth on other side of zipper (if necessary) with new ones and repeat step 2 for that side of zipper
- Test out your repair job—if it still seems weak or unsatisfactory, add more teeth until desired result is achieved
With either method,
How to Replace a Slider on a Zipper
Sometimes, a broken or separated zipper can be fixed by replacing the slider. Replacing the slider may be the least expensive solution and is definitely a good approach if you have the appropriate replacement slider on hand. Here’s how it’s done:
- Make sure the zipper is unzipped as far as possible and that any material surrounding the zipper is out of the way.
- Use pliers to remove any broken pieces from the zipper, such as rivets or teeth.
- Carefully remove both ends of the old zipper slider using pliers.
- Gently press both sides of your new slider onto each side of your zipper until it clicks into place.
- Open and close it several times to make sure it works properly and is secure in place.
- If you find that one end of the slider isn’t staying put, add a drop of super glue to ensure that it won’t slip off again anytime soon!
Tips and Tricks for Long-Lasting Zippers
Having a broken zipper on your clothes or bags can be very annoying. But with the right knowledge and some practice, fixing a separated zipper is actually not that difficult. Here are some tips and tricks you can use to make sure your zippers stay separated no more.
Lubricate with Wax
If you want your zippers to last, lubricating them with wax is a good idea. Wax helps reduce friction between the zipper teeth, which over time can cause them to separate. To apply wax, simply rub the wax onto the zipper teeth using either a cotton swab or an old cloth until they are well-coated. This will help ensure that your zippers don’t separate once again in the future.
Fix Bent Teeth
Sometimes bent teeth on a zipper can also cause it to separate. If this is the case, you’ll need to use something small and needle-like (like an old toothpick) to carefully straighten out the bent teeth before lubricating them with wax. It might take a few tries before you get it right, but with some patience, you should be able to get them straightened out in no time!
Replace Damaged Pieces
If all else fails, it may be best to just replace the entire zipper pull or slider if it is too damaged for repair – this way you know it will definitely last longer without issue. When choosing replacement zippers, make sure that they are compatible with your clothing or bag’s fabric type and size so they won’t require any further adjustments down the line.
When Do You Need to Seek Professional Help?
Let’s say you’ve tried all the methods and tricks above, and your zipper is still completely separated. When should you take it from a DIY repair at home to getting professional help?
When it comes to zippers, there are times when you should always seek professional help. For example, if trying to fix a broken zipper has resulted in more damage—requiring heavier duty machinery or tools than you have access to at home—that’s when it’s time to get some assistance.
Furthermore, when the teeth are loose or bent at the end of the zipper and won’t slide (even after repeated lubrication attempts). That’s when you might need a replacement. And while it may be tempting to go buy one off the rack, it may not fit your project perfectly. In this case, you’ll want a professional tailor or seamstress to sew in a custom-made zipper that fits exactly right.
So there you have it, now you know how to fix that broken or separated zipper. It’s easy when you know the steps, and you can save yourself the time, money and effort that it would take to replace it if you’d like. Remember the key steps: take apart the zipper at the separated area, lubricate the area with a silicone-based cloth or wax, and construct it back together.
Whether you’ve got a stubborn zipper or one that’s come off entirely, this guide has all the simple steps you need to get it back to its former glory or a new level of convenience and ease. In a few easy steps, you can get that zipper running good as new and make sure that whatever it’s attached to will last you a hat-trick of lifetime.