How to Fix a Broken Zipper

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How to Fix a Broken Zipper
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How to Fix a Broken Zipper

Most would agree, it is always disappointing to have to throw away a perfectly good piece of clothing due to a small flaw like a broken zipper. Many think that a do-it-yourself repair of a broken zipper is difficult and so opt to either toss the item or get a professional to repair it. However, repairing a broken zipper is not all that hard.

The following guide will illustrate the different ways in which zippers can break and the sewing supplies that are needed to repair a variety of broken zippers. The guide also contains a section regarding how to find and buy supplies to repair zippers, online.


Types of Broken Zippers

With a number of moving parts, there are quite a few ways that zippers can break. The following table outlines the most common ways that zippers can break, and includes the best course of action for repairing each type of broken zipper.
 

Type of Broken Zipper

How to Fix the Broken Zipper

Separated Zipper Teeth

One of the more common types of broken zippers occurs when the zipper teeth themselves either separate or come off the track. First, try running the slider back to the base of the stopper and running it back up to try to rejoin the teeth. If the two will not rejoin, the zipper is broken and needs repair. This unfortunately is one of the more difficult fixes, but it’s not impossible to fix. When a zipper is separated, the stopper needs to be removed by pulling off the stopper with a pair of pliers. Bring the slider down to the bottom of the zipper (do not remove it entirely) and rejoin the teeth together. Add six thick stitches to the where the stopper was located. Once the teeth are joined back together, pull the slider back up length of the zipper.

Broken Slider/Pull

When a zipper slider, or pull is broken, and the teeth are still working, the slider can be bent off and removed, and a replacement zipper slider can be attached to the zipper. Once it is crimped in place, the new slider pull can be worked back and forth to rejoin the teeth of the zipper.

Lost Zipper Tooth

If a zipper tooth is bent or lost, it is best to just fully replace the zipper. The seams holding the zipper in place must be pulled out, and a replacement zipper must be inserted and sewn into place. This is best done with a sewing machine. Before removing the old zipper and replacing it with a new one, it is best to note exactly how the old zipper was placed on the piece of clothing. This is to ensure that the new zipper is aligned exactly as the old zipper was.

Rough Slider

If a slider is sticking as it travels up and down the zipper or is jerking as it’s being pulled, it can be smoothed out by adding a lubricant of some kind to the zipper teeth. Lubricants can include a little bit of bar soap, graphite from a pencil, or wax from a candle. It is best to zip down the zipper to the bottom stop, and then rub a small amount of lubricant on the zipper teeth and the slider. After lubricating teeth, run the slider back and forth to work the lubricant across all the teeth that line the length of the zipper.


Supplies for Fixing a Broken Zipper

For when a zipper breaks, everyone should have a repair kit on hand for fixing a broken zipper. The following outlines the essentials needed for fixing a broken zipper.
 

Item

Description

Sewing Needle

A sewing needle will be needed if the zipper is misaligned or has broken apart. The metal stopper at the base of a zipper will need to be removed and replaced with a wrapping stitch using a sewing needle.

Seam Ripper

When a zipper needs to be fully replaced, a seam ripper is a necessary to pull out the seams holding the old zipper in place. A thin pair of scissors or a razor blade will also suffice for removing the seams on a zipper.

Thread

A thick weight of thread is used to replace the zipper stopper after it has been removed for a case when the zipper has become separated. Thread is also necessary to sew a replacement zipper back on a garment.

Needle Nose Pliers

Needle nose pliers are necessary for removing the metal base stopper on a zipper and also for moving the slider pull.

Candle/Pencil/Bar Soap

When a zipper is not sliding open and close properly, some candle wax, a pencil graphite, or a small amount of bar soap can be applied to the zipper teeth to lubricate them. In the same way that grease or oil would be applied to the hinge of a creaking door, any of these materials can be applied to a zipper to better lubricate the teeth.

Replacement Slider

If there are no broken teeth on the zipper itself, but the slider or zipper pull is cracked or broken, a replacement slider can be purchased, and attached to the zipper to rejoin the zipper teeth.

Replacement Zipper

Once a zipper itself is broken (i.e. a tooth in the zipper is missing, or the teeth are worn and the zipper is separating) it needs to be fixed by replacing an old zipper with a new one. Replacement zippers can be purchased in various sizes and colors.

Sewing Machine

It is best to sew a replacement zipper onto a garment by using a sewing machine. Using only needle and thread to do this can be time consuming and cumbersome process to secure a new zipper to an article of clothing.


How to Find Zipper Repair Supplies on eBay

Finding and purchasing the zipper repair or replacement supplies you want is made easy with eBay.

Most of the materials needed to fix a zipper will be found in the Crafts section of eBay. Items like replacement zippers, thread, sewing machines, needles, and more will be found here. From here you can narrow down the crafts listing by the categories to be found on the left-hand side of the page, or you can also use the search bar at the top of the page.

  • Keywords: If you have specific tools or replacement requirements for your zipper repair, you can use the keyword search box at the top of the homepage. Searching for generic items like "zipper" or "zipper slider" will display replacement material listings. Also, with specific lengths and widths of zippers, remember to try searching for items based on specifics like length to narrow down your search.
  • Categories: Once on a listing page of any kind, you can use the eBay categories on the left-hand side of the page to hone your search in different ways. If you have searched for "zipper" in the search box, you can narrow your search by selecting categories like Sewing and Fabric, Wholesale Lots, Multi-Purpose Craft Supplies, and more.


Buy Zipper Repair Supplies on eBay with Confidence

Once you have found the zipper repair supplies you will need to fix your broken zipper, there is a short list of best practices that should be followed when making a purchase online through eBay. The following should be kept in mind as you move through with your purchase:

  • Know Your Seller: eBay has implemented a series of rating and feedback methods to function as ways of social proofing seller’s, so instilling confidence in buyers who are buying items from sellers for the first time. When searching for zipper replacements and repair supplies, examine the reputation of the seller you are looking to purchase from. You should always look for quality eBay sellers with positive feedback that points to their honesty and reliability.
  • Know What You’re Buying: Once you have found the supplies that meet your zipper repair needs, be sure to fully read and examine the eBay listing to know exactly what it is that you are buying. Especially with replacement zippers, it is important to know the length, width, and thickness of the zipper itself. If you require more information or better photos of the item you wish to purchase, you can always contact the seller via the listing page to request further images and information. The easiest way to do this is to click on the Contact Member link in the seller’s profile.
  • Complete Transactions Safely on eBay: Always remember to complete all transactions through eBay to ensure that your purchase is covered by eBay buyer protection programs (terms and conditions do apply). Never use wire transfer services to pay for items. This is not a recommended payment method for paying someone you don’t know.


Conclusion

A broken zipper needn’t be an inconvenience that you have to live with. There is no need to throw away a perfectly good article of clothing because the zipper isn’t working. It’s easy to fix a broken zipper. When fixing a broken zipper, examine what type of break it is and take the necessary action to fix the problem. This could range from simply lubricating the teeth of the zipper to replacing the zipper entirely. Assemble a broken zipper repair kit by stocking it with the essentials. Make sure it’s handy for when a zipper lets you down. You can always find and buy replacement sliders, replacement zippers, and sewing essentials on eBay.

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