Zippers are great little things…until they get stuck. And that almost always happens when you’re either getting ready for an important occasion or event, running late, or both. But instead of ruining the fabric and your day, we have a few options for how to fix it using stuff you probably already have around your house.
Like other things in life, the key here is lubricant. The easiest and least messy lube, according to Howcast, is a graphite pencil — just rub the teeth on both sides of the zipper with your pencil and try again. Behold:
If that doesn’t help, you might need a more heavy-duty (read: messy) lubricant. Howcast recommends bar soap, petroleum jelly, or lip balm, but you probably have other things around your house that can help. Over at Apartment Therapy, they recommend baby powder, talc powder, glass cleaner (like Windex) and even wax paper in a pinch. They also offer this advice:
Consider the fabric your item is made from when choosing a lubricant (you definitely don’t want to stain it) and apply all along the zipper teeth in the same fashion you applied the graphite pencil. Give the slider a tug and you should be good to go.
Need other suggestions? Over at Wonder How To, Yumi Sakugawa has a few other ideas, plus a nifty infographic. In addition to the lubricants above, they also recommend trying neutral-coloured candle wax, a crayon, a Q-tip dipped in olive oil or Elmer’s Slide-All Dry Lubricant.
So the next time your zipper gets stuck, don’t just yank and it until the item of clothing breaks — know you have options.
This story was originally published in 2011 and was updated in 2019 and on October 20, 2020 to provide more thorough and current information.