How to Fix a Separated Zipper

It’s frustrating when zippers break suddenly, such as when their teeth separate and the zipper slider won’t open and close them anymore. This can be embarrassing if it’s on your pants zipper or if it’s on a backpack and all of your things fall out. However, there are several ways of fixing a separated zipper. You can either try to fix the slider itself or realign the zipper by taking it apart and putting it back together. One of these methods is likely to fix the majority of zippers that have separated.

1Inspect the slider on the zipper. Many times when the sides of a zipper separate and won’t go back together as you pull the slider, it’s because the slider itself is damaged. When you use a zipper often, the slider opening will begin to stretch open a bit. Inspect both ends of the zipper to determine if they have the same opening size. If one end looks wider than the other, then this may be why your zipper failed.

  • As the opening increases in size, it puts less pressure on the tracts of the zipper, allowing them to stay separated.
2Inspect the rest of the zipper and fix any problems that are apparent. For instance, straighten out any bent zipper teeth that you see. If there are tears in the fabric of the zipper, mend them.

  • In some cases, bent teeth on a zipper will cause a zipper to separate. If the zipper teeth are metal, you can use a pair of pliers to straighten them out. If the teeth are plastic, gently try to straighten them with your fingers, as pliers could easily break them off.
3Squeeze the opening on the slider to reduce its size. Squeeze the slider on the top and bottom with your fingers or a pair of pliers. This will make the opening inside the slider the correct size once again.

  • On one end of the slider there is a middle piece that won’t let you squeeze it. On the other end there is no middle piece. That is the side that gets opened and needs to be squeezed back together.
  • Don’t squeeze the slider too strongly though, as you don’t want to make the gap smaller than it should be. You will know the gap is too small if it becomes difficult to pull up and down the zipper slider along the tracks.
4Check the zipper. Once you’ve reshaped the slider, move it up and down the zipper. If it is properly fixed, the slider should go back to opening and closing the zipper right away.

  • If the zipper still doesn’t work, either squeeze the slider more or try another solution.

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