A zipper problem is a nightmare for anyone who owns a backpack, especially when they’re traveling. Zippers are so vulnerable that anything that comes in contact with them might end up damaging them. From stuck zippers that won’t close to a separated zipper that exposes your belongings, there are plenty of ways that a zipper can get damaged. The question is: how do you fix such a problem if it occurs for you?
As a whole, every zipper problem is unique and requires unique solutions. You can fix a stuck zipper by applying a lubricant such as jelly. You can reattach a separated zipper by using a few tools, such as a nail filer, and you can fix a zipper that won’t close by pressing the zipper slider with pliers.
That’s not all, as you still need to know the tips on how to fix a zipper on the go, how to fix a zipper that won’t close or won’t open, and how to handle a separated zipper, which you will learn if you read on.
Table of Contents
Are There Really Repair Shops to Fix Zippers on Backpacks?
It’s frustrating to deal with a broken zipper, especially if you’re in a hurry. Many things can go wrong and damage your zipper, including you rushing to close it but end up pulling it out of the zipper trails. If this happens, you can choose to fix the problem or let someone with more experience handle it.
Luckily, many zipper repair shops are ready and willing to help out, and all you need to do is search for them. You don’t even need to leave your home to find them, as most of them have websites and social media pages.
Zipper repair shops handle all sorts of zipper problems, from zipper replacement to reattaching a detached zipper. They’re uniquely qualified for this task to the point that they can get you any zipper color you may need. However, it’s your responsibility to vet them and choose the one you believe can handle your backpack zipper without damaging it.
5 Tips to Fixing A Zipper On A Backpack
Although it’s recommended to take your backpack to a zipper repair shop, it’s also best if you know how to fix the problem yourself. Learning a few temporary zipper-fixing tricks would really come in handy when an emergency arises. Here are some tips for fixing zippers on backpacks:
Sometimes a zipper stops working not because it’s damaged but because of friction. The first sign is when a zipper starts to feel stuck, and you have to apply more pressure than usual. Most of the time, the zipper would stop midway and would only close if you pulled it back a bit and then pushed it forward. This problem occurs when you have used the backpack for a while, and depending on the extent of the damage, you can handle this problem on the go. The typical solution is to apply a lubricant along the zipper. However, not all lubricants work, but the following will do:
- Jelly – Any skin jelly would do the trick, but be careful not to apply a lot as that would stain the backpack.
- Pencil graphite – If you don’t have skin jelly at your disposal, you could use pencil graphite, where you rub it along the zipper until you feel it’s getting easier to move the zipper slider.
- Crayon wax – If you can’t get your hands on a pencil, crayon wax is as good of a solution and works the same way as a pencil.
- Olive oil – Olive oil is not just good for cooking, but it can be a lifesaver for fixing a stuck zipper.
NOTE: Water is not a good lubricant unless it’s soapy water. Don’t use your saliva either to lubricate the zipper.
Apply Pressure to the Zipper Slider
Have you noticed that your zipper won’t close even when you move a zipper slider that is still attached to both zipper lines? Chances are, the zipper slider is losing its grip on the zipper, but a simple fix will do the trick. Again, depending on the extent of the damage, you can handle this problem with pliers or anything that can grasp and put pressure on a zipper slider.
Pull the zipper slider all the way to the start, and using a pair of pliers, press the slider gently on either side of the zipper. Avoid putting too much pressure, which might force the zipper slider to clamp tightly to the zipper and stop it from moving. It might even damage the zipper if you’re not careful.
Additionally, you still need to use a lubricant on the zipper once you have pressed the zipper slider back to normal.
Improvise On a Zipper Pull
The most vulnerable part of a zipper is a zipper pull that tends to break at the slightest pressure. This problem occurs due to a combination of events such as:
- The zipper slider is getting stuck and requires a lot of effort to pull.
- You accidentally stepped on a zipper slider.
- The zipper holder has been getting weak after prolonged use.
- You have been pulling a zipper slider rougher than you should, maybe because you need to hurry.
A broken zipper pull makes it hard to pull the zipper slider, and in some cases, it might end up hurting your thumb. Luckily, you can fix this problem by replacing the broken zipper pull with a paper clip, key chain, or a malleable wire cable. It’s a temporary fix, and you should replace the zipper slider once you get a chance.
Replace the Broken Zipper Slider
Yes, it happens. Broken zippers are very common, and when it happens, a lot of people tend to panic. Luckily, replacing a zipper slider is not as hard as it seems, as with a few tools and steady hands, you can fix this problem.
- First, you need to remove the broken zipper slider using a pair of pliers. Pressing the slider with a bit of pressure would help to break it down.
- Next, you need to expose the end of the zipper and remove the zipper stopper. You can accomplish these two tasks by still using the pliers. Get a new slider and insert it on the zipper line in reverse. Pull the zipper slider all the way to the beginning and try to close the zipper to see if it’s working.
- Put back the zipper stops you removed, and if that’s impossible, use a needle and threat to knit the area tightly shut.
- If you can’t get your hands on a new slider on time, you should remove one from other pockets of the backpack, ideally those from the side pockets.
Straighten the Bent Teeth
Bent teeth on a zipper are a common problem where even lubrication won’t help. Although it might sound complicated, fixing this problem is also easy, as long as you have a pair of pliers at your disposal. Bent teeth on a zipper occur when you pull the slider forcefully or too quickly that the line intertwines. It may also occur as the zipper ages or when you tend to store your backpack with a zipper open. Nonetheless, it would take you minutes to correct this problem, even if you’ve never done it before.
Move the slider away from the bent tooth to expose it. Then use a pair of pliers to grip the tooth and apply the pressure gently until it straightens out. Try pulling the slider on the tooth gently to see if it has straightened out. Don’t pull too hard, especially after you experience a lag.
How Do You Fix a Separated Zipper?
A separated zipper occurs when one side of the slider is too large to clamp the zipper. It’s a common problem experienced when the zipper gets older or when someone tampered with the zipper. However, you can quickly fix this problem with a little effort, the right tools, and patience. Here are some tools you’ll need:
- A pair of pliers/ screwdriver/ kitchen knife
- Sewing needle and a thread
Use a pair of pliers to remove the bottom zipper stopper and pull the slider out. Reposition the slider back on the zipper, but this time attaching both sides. Use a pair of pliers to gently press the slider to narrow the clamp on the zipper track. Avoid pressing on the zipper pull as this might damage it. Pull the slider gently and watch the zipper close. If it doesn’t, try pressing again with a pair of pliers.
Using a sewing needle and a thread, make a sizeable knot where you had removed the bottom zipper stopper. It doesn’t have to be too big to be noticeable.
Alternatively, if you’re in a hurry or uncomfortable removing the slider from the zipper track, you can try a quick fix:
Start by pulling the slider back to the bottom of the zipper track. Apply a little pressure on the slider using a pair of pliers and try pulling it along the zipper track. If you had applied enough pressure, it should be closing now. However, this is a temporary fix as the zipper might separate again.
How to Fix a Broken or Separated Zipper
How Do You Fix A Zipper On A Backpack That Won’t Close?
If a zipper zips but doesn’t close, that means there is a problem with the slider. In this case, the slider has widened up to a point where it cannot press the zipper teeth as needed. This problem is inevitable and mostly happens when you open and close the zipper more often.
To rectify this problem, you need to have access to a pair of pliers. The fix is similar to that of a separated zipper, only that you’re clamping the slider while it’s still attached to the zipper track. Make a gentle press on the slider’s “mouth” and keep adjusting the slider up the track to see if it’s clamping the teeth as needed.
How To Fix A Zipper That Doesn’t Close
How Do You Open A Zipper That Won’t Open?
A stuck zipper is as frustrating as a separated zipper. It results from a slider not getting enough lubrication or sticking to the zipper track, which makes it hard to pull it along. When confronted with this problem, avoid forcing the zipper to open, as doing so might damage the zipper track. You’ll need some supplies to get things working:
- A pair of tweezers
- Lubrication (mainly soap)
- Cotton swab
Start by tagging the zipper that is stuck in the slider using a pair of tweezers. Soak the cotton swab on the zipper track to lubricate it. Wiggle the zipper towards the lubricated section until it starts to move.
How to Fix a Stuck Zipper
Dealing with a broken zipper is a nightmare for anyone who owns a backpack. However, you can solve this problem very quickly with little DIY skills and the right tools. If the zipper gets stuck, fix it by applying lubrication. If it’s separated or won’t close, you can fix it by pressing it with a pair of pliers.