Tricks to Get Zippers Unstuck

Few things are as frustrating as a stuck zipper. Whether you've walked into a broiling hot room and can't remove your down jacket, or whether you are late for an important appointment and can't get into your skirt or pants, you may be tempted to just rip the darn thing apart. Resist that temptation. A few tricks can help you get that zipper unstuck without doing damage to your clothes or your nervous system.

  1. Clear the Obstruction

    • A common cause of zipper problems is fabric or threads getting caught in the zipper's teeth. The trick for clearing the zipper is to work slowly and patiently. Don't yank on the zipper slider or the fabric, as you might break the zipper or rip the cloth. Instead pull gently on the fabric with your fingers. If that doesn't work, try gently moving the slider back and forth. If the zipper is still stuck, try using tweezers to pull the fabric away.

    Apply Something Slippery

    • If the zipper isn't caught on a piece of fabric, but is still balky, try applying something slippery to the zipper's teeth. You can actually buy commercial zipper wax, but that's not necessary. Plenty of things lying around the house might work. Try using a piece of a candle, a bar of soap, or some lip balm. Caution: WD-40 might get your zipper unstuck, but it could stain your clothes.

    Use a Pencil

    • Many people have had good results unsticking metal zippers by running a lead pencil over the teeth on both the front and back of the zipper. This works because lead pencils are made of graphite, which works as a lubricant.

    If All Else Fails

    • If you are trapped inside a piece of clothing, see if you can pull it off even while the zipper is still stuck. For example, if you can't get your jacket open, pull it over your head as if you were taking off a shirt. That will solve your immediate problem and give you more time to work on the zipper, without having to bend at uncomfortable angles.

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