Zippers break for all sorts of reasons, especially if they are subject to a lot of pull and pressure. Before you set out to get a new zipper or even think about donating or recycling that garment, see if you can fix your zipper yourself. Some problems look tough but are easy enough to solve at home.

Common issues and how to address them

The zip is stuck and not moving

If everything appears fine with your zip but the puller isn’t moving smoothly, it’s possible that there’s either something small in the middle. Try using a hair-drier or even handwashing the zip with water and soap. Test it out again to see if the issue is resolved.

If not, it’s possible that the teeth are slightly out of alignment – in which case follow the next tip.

The zip has crooked teeth

With crooked teeth, DIY requires slightly more trouble, because you will require a pair of pliers, or some other way to align the teeth by putting pressure on it. First, pull the zipper over the area with the crooked teeth, and then put gentle pressure on it with pliers to straighten it.

The zip has thread stuck in it

If your zipper simply has thread or a bit of fabric stuck in it, heave a sigh of relief, because this is one of the simplest problems to fix. Use a needle, pin or even a toothpick to gently poke at the threads until they’re apart from the zip. Once the zip is completely free, cut the loose threads with a pair of scissors. If it looks like the thread from your garment is coming off and the stitching is loose, instead of cutting the thread you should use a needle to pull it into the inside of the garment and then tie it off before cutting any excess. If that is impossible for some reason, a tiny dot of liquid glue over the loose stitch will keep it in place.

The zipper isn’t closing from the bottom

First, check if your zipper has any missing parts, or if it’s broken. If it is, you will simply have no choice but to replace it. We have a handy guide here on how to sew on a zipper. Usually, these steps are much simpler than they appear, so why not give it a try?

If you’re not keen to sew, take it to your local seamstress and they’ll be able to replace the zipper for you.

Other issues

If you can’t figure out what’s going wrong, or if your zipper is simply not closing, as a last-ditch effort, you can also use your pliers to press both sides of the head together. This will lead to the zipper teeth being aligned closer when it’s zipped, and hopefully eliminate your issue.

If you’ve tried the above and your zipper still isn’t working, you might want to stop by your local haberdashery who can give you further advise or supply you with a replacement zip.