Tricks to Get Zippers Unstuck

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Things You'll Need

  • Tweezers

  • Key ring or paper clip

  • Soap bar or candle

Enlist a friend's help if trapped within a particularly stubborn zippered item.
Image Credit: jackethead/iStock/Getty Images

A zipper may be snagged or stuck for any number of reasons, but the problem at hand remains the same -- the zipper needs to be freed and made useful once again. The ideal remedy for a stuck zipper depends upon why it is stuck, so a good look at the situation before tugging away helps you determine which option to take without damaging the zippered item.


Step 1

Inspect the area surrounding the zipper pull to see if a foreign object is trapped in it; sometimes the zipper snags the fabric from the item near the place where it is attached, getting stuck somewhere along the track of the zipper teeth. The snag may be on the outside or inside of the zippered item.

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Step 2

Loosen snagged fabric by tugging it gently away from the zipper. Tug the fabric with one hand while attempting to zip or unzip the item with the other until the fabric is freed.

Step 3

Remove a small foreign object stuck in the zipper, such as a bit of fuzz from a sweater or a piece of tissue, by tugging and plucking it out with your fingers or a pair of tweezers as you move the zipper slider up or down.


Step 4

Fabricate a temporary zipper pull to free a zipper that is stuck because it has no means of pulling it up or down. Open a key ring made from thin metal and slide one end through the hole in the zipper slider in the area designed for a zipper pull. Tug the key ring to zip or unzip the object. A paperclip may be used in place of a key ring.


Step 5

Free a stubborn zipper by rubbing the zipper teeth above and below the slider with a bar of soap or with candle wax. Rub the soap or wax on; then gently jiggle the zipper pull until the slider moves freely.

Step 6

Squirt a dab of liquid dish soap onto the tip of a cotton swab to free a zipper on a backpack or a piece of luggage. Dab the soap on the zipper teeth just above and below the slider, wiggling the slider gently until it frees itself. Use just enough soap to lubricate the zipper teeth without soaking the area beyond the zipper.


If the zipper's teeth aren't aligned properly and the item is partially zipped, zip it all the way up; then move the slider down quickly while pulling down on the opposite end of the zipper to correct the problem. It may take several pulls up and down to get past the alignment issue.


The fabric on some clothing items may frequently get stuck in the zipper slider. When wearing the item, pull the fabric away from the zipper area when zipping or unzipping to prevent it from getting caught.


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