How to Lubricate a Zipper on a Suitcase

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Candle wax and olive oil can be used to lubricate your suitcase zipper.
Candle wax and olive oil can be used to lubricate your suitcase zipper. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

If you are in a hurry or are trying to jam that extra piece of clothing into your suitcase, a stuck zipper can be frustrating. Lubricating the zipper can be a quick and simple solution that allows the zipper to move smoothly. A variety of substances can be used to lubricate a zipper, and many are common household items. Using a little care and finesse, you can be up and running with a functional suitcase in a short amount of time.

Things You'll Need

  • Candle
  • Bar soap
  • Olive oil
  • Wax lip balm
  • Paper towels
  • Needle-nosed pliers

Rub the bottom of a candle along the teeth of the zipper. Jeff Brendenberg, author of "2,001 Amazing Cleaning Secrets," recommends using a white candle to avoid spreading dye over the suitcase, although other candles will work if you don't have access to a white candle. Move the slider along the teeth as much as possible to spread the wax. Remove any excess wax with a paper towel.

Apply several drops of olive oil onto the zipper. Pour small drops of olive oil onto your finger or a paper towel and rub it along the zipper. Be careful not to get any of the olive oil on your suitcase. Zip and unzip the zipper several times to ensure the olive oil is spread evenly along the zipper. Remove excess olive oil with a paper towel to avoid staining the suitcase.

Run the edge of a bar of soap along the zipper. Use a small bar of soap to make it easier to spread, if one is available, as a larger bar of soap can rub off on the material on the sides of the zipper.

Gloss the zipper with a waxed-base stick of lip balm. The small stick makes it easy to limit the area coated by the lip balm. Rub the balm along the zipper. Spread the balm by moving the slider of the zipper back and forth along the teeth.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the slider is still stuck or gets caught somewhere along the teeth of the zipper, inspect the teeth to ensure they are aligned. If they are out of alignment or bent, straighten them with needle-nosed pliers.
  • Cut the top of the lip balm off after applying it to the zipper if you are going to use the balm on your lips.

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References

  • 2,001 Amazing Cleaning Secrets; Jeff Brandenberg
  • The Passionate Olive: 101 Things to Do with Olive Oil; Carol Firenze
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