Zippers were invented about one hundred years ago, and they have not changed very much since that time. And still, though being convenient and easy-to-use, zippers give us a lot of trouble. They often got stuck, separated, etc.
Luckily, if a zipper does not work, it does not always mean that it is really broken. In most cases, one can repair an out-of-run zipper, and we will explain you how to solve the most common problems.
Your Zipper Is Stuck
If a zipper is just stuck, you should make the following steps to fix it.
Pull out or remove in some other way the fabric jammed in the zipper.
Rub its teeth with black lead (use a pencil), Windex1, lip balm2, wax, or bar soap. It will lubricate the zipper's teeth.
Now work it back and forth, until it comes all the way up and down.
Inspect the zipper visually for possible broken teeth. If you find any missing teeth, use the trick which is explained below. If too many teeth are lacking, you should better replace your zipper.
Your Zipper's Teeth Do Not Close
It is a widespread problem which can come from different reasons. Do the following.
Try the above mentioned method of using some lubricant.
If it does not work, check the zipper for threads or pieces of cloth and remove them.
Inspect its teeth. Some of them may be sticking out. Fix them with a pair of pliers3.
Look at the zipper's slider. If it has started to come apart, close it together with your pair of pliers. It will catch the teeth and work properly.
If it fails, you will have to replace the zipper.
Your Zipper Does Not Stay Up
If the zipper won't stay up you can find yourself in an awkward situation. In fact, this problem cannot be fixed permanently so we recommend replacing the zipper. If you need to do something with it right now, take a key ring and adjust it to your zipper's pull. Then zip up and hang the ring on the pant's button.
Your Zipper Misses Teeth
Zippers lose teeth very often. If the missing ones are close to the lower end and you do not need to fully open the zipper, you can use this method.
Try to align the teeth near the missing one.
Take a needle and a thick thread and place a couple of stitches several teeth above the gap. These stitches will act as a bumper.
If necessary, make some stitches at the bottom too.
The Slider Has Broken Off
You will have to replace the slider if it comes off. It is not difficult so you can do it yourself.
Use a couple of pliers in order to cut off the slider.
Slide the new one onto the teeth.
The Pull Has Broken Off
It is hard to use a zipper without a pull. At the same time, it is very easy to solve the problem. All you have to do it to turn a key ring, a wire connector, or a paperclip into the pull. It may look stylish if you find a nice thing for the new zipper pull.
Fixing Separated Zippers
Now we will explain how to fix a zipper if it separates.
Again, you need a pair of pliers. Use it to remove the metal stop of the zipper.
Then move the slider to the bottom below the last teeth.
Realign all the teeth. They should be interlocked smoothly.
Now pull the slider to the zipper's top.
Take a needle and a thread and make several stitches on the place where the metal stop was.
That's it then.
How to Replace a Zipper
If you are not able to fix a zipper, you have to replace it. You might think this is a difficult task, but it is not.
Buy a zipper. Try to match the old zipper's length and color.
Remove the current zipper's bumper.
Remove the stitches holding the old zipper and pull it out.
Stitch you new zipper instead of the old one. You should use the same pattern.
As a rule, zippers are sold with instructions. They will help you to replace the zipper.
Now you know how to fix a zipper and can do without a tailor.