How to Get a Corroded Zipper Open

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Keep your zippers working efficiently by applying a lubricant.

The irritation that gathers in the pit of your stomach when you cannot open a corroded zipper can be avoided. Keep a small stash of supplies on hand for moments like these so you can open the zipper and get on with your day without missing a beat. Corroded zippers are not uncommon on items that are exposed to the elements, such as outdoor hiking gear, boating equipment and biking accessories. Keep your equipment in working shape and your nerves calm with simple solutions to opening corroded zippers.


Things You'll Need

  • Spray bottle

  • White, distilled vinegar

  • Toothbrush

  • Lip balm

  • Soft cloth

  • Silicone spray

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Step 1

Fill a spray bottle with white distilled vinegar. Spray the corroded zipper with the vinegar and use an old toothbrush to brush the vinegar into the teeth of the zipper. Douse the slider with vinegar and allow it to sit for three to five minutes before attempting to slide it back and forth. If the zipper is heavily corroded, it may need to be sprayed several times. Carefully work the zipper pull up and down the teeth of the zipper until it slides easily.

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Step 2

Rub lip balm along the zipper to help loosen the slider. Apply the lip balm directly onto the teeth and work it up and down. Use your finger to work the lip balm around the slider. Once the slider moves easily up and down the teeth of the zipper, wipe the lip balm off with a soft cloth.

Step 3

Spray the zipper with a silicone based spray. Silicone sprays can be purchased at a marine supply store, hardware store or outdoor supply company. The spray includes a thin nozzle to apply to hard to reach areas, such as the interior of the slider, so it will move easier. Spray the slider and teeth of the zipper, and work the slider up and down until it moves easily.


Apply a lubricant regularly to zippers to help prevent corrosion and sticking. Avoid pulling the slider too hard; it may break under extreme pressure.



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