How to Fix a Zipper (without Replacing It)





Introduction: How to Fix a Zipper (without Replacing It)

This is a easy way to fix a zipper without replacing it. This method is really fast too. It works when the zipper pull doesn't close the zipper together anymore. I don't really like to replace zippers, because they always come out a little bit wavy when I do it myself.

You can save a jacket, a tent, a sleeping bag, and many other items.

Step 1: What You'll Need

You will only need a pair of pliers.
But if the zipper pull is really destroyed or is made of plastic you will need a NEW ONE OF THE SAME SIZE. YOU CAN FIND IT IN ANOTHER OLD JACKET. Or you can buy one online for really cheap.

Step 2: Remove Stopper

Remove the little iron stopper of the top of the zipper, which will be on the same side of the jacket where the zipper puller is.

(Sometimes they are made of plastic, so it is little more difficult to remove and replace. You may need to substitute it with few knot of thread or something else. There is many tutorial out there on how to replace a stopper).

Step 3: Remove Zipper Pull

Remove zipper pull. You can probably see that it is all distorted.

Step 4: Adjust the Zipper Pull


With the pliers close the two sides of the zipper pull, try to make it look like the original shape again.

If your zipper pull is not too worn out you can try to close it directly on the zipper, without removing it.

(if it is made out of plastic, if it is too bent or if it breaks doing this, you need to find another one of the same size, they are available online, or you can take it from another old zipper).

Step 5: Put Back the Zipper Pull

Put back the zipper pull. It may take a little bit of time...

Step 6: Put Back the Tooth

Put back the iron tooth with the pliers.

Step 7: Done!


Faster than changing it!

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158 Discussions

Спасибо, совет очень помог!

You know, you can squeeze the zipper slider without taking it off the jacket. If the slider is broken, you can replace just the slider with a new one the same method as above. The small metal piece at the top is a stopper, not teeth.

2 replies

Yes, I wrote it already in step 4, but sometimes, when it is really distorted, it is better to remove it, to take a better look of it, and adjust the right and left hole equally.

And thanks for the word "stopper", I'll change it.

Right you are! Except it's a Top Stop that is removed.
So much bad advice on zippers out there it's crazy

Pinching only works in some cases and is temporary since these are pot metal and not iron, really you don't have to take the slider off to pinch. What you want is a new slider. You can find a great repair kit for replacing zipper sliders at

Great customer service and such a useful product!

OMG this is sooo useful! I recently had a zipper issue with some motorcycle gear...took me hours to figure out. this will help next time.

On man what a timely Instructable! Best backpack ever developed that zipper issue. Read this..... 4 minutes later... Success! Thanks man. You solved that with alacrity.... and grace! Well done.

2 replies

alacrity? Does your mother know you are using that kind of smut in public? (Thanks for the word!)

What you did was fine. There is a missing tooth in the picture and the zipper won't work very well this way. Sooo how do you handle that?

1 reply

Had that problem too. Used needle and thread, built it up where it's missing, but not too much. Then, using a toothpick dabbed a bit of fabric glue to stiffen. Mine had plastic teeth. Works, but have to be careful pulling up pass it. Good luck.


2 years ago

If the teeth are broken the whole zipper needs to be changed. If the slider (the part that opens or closes the zipper) is hard to move up and down on a metal zipper, use some graphite on the zipper teeth and it will slide easily. Don't know what would work on a plastic zipper .

4 replies

If a plastic zipper (with teeth or with coils) is having issues moving up and down you can use a silicon spray or something called Super Slick Stuff. It smells like oranges while the silicon just smells bad.

I simply rub the zipper teeth with bar soap [dry, not wet], similar to loosenig a "sticky" dresser drawer.

This technique is also very useful if the pull tab breaks off. I have
used paperclips as replacement pull tabs, but with this fix, I will
simply replace the broken one with another puller of the same size.
Thank you so much!

If you've lost the tab at the start of the zip take a needle and thread and build up the area by over sewing the stitches but not to much
Then find a plastic that can be easily melted with a lighter weight melt and apply to overstitched area both sides being careful not to get it on yourself or the item let it harden then try to build this up to what it was previously you can the fashion this using a lighter with the aid of an old knife or scraper
I've used this method more than a couple of times