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Zipper broken? Or does it stick or no longer hold? Don't give up just yet. Many zippers can still be saved. And: Why you should always close zips before washing.

Status: 05/11/2021

Let's be glad we have it, because before his time clothes could only be closed with buttons, ribbons, hooks and eyes. The American Whitcomb L. Judson patented the first zip fastener in 1892, and a few other inventors then steadily improved it. Zippers were not used for everyday clothing until the 1920s.

That means YKK on the zipper

If it says YKK on your zipper, you have a zipper from the world's largest manufacturer: YKK is the registered trademark of the Japanese manufacturer "Yoshida Kōgyō Kabushikigaisha ". It has been producing zippers since the 1930s and has also been represented in Germany since 1967. If the letters" OPTI "are on the zipper, it comes from the largest German zipper manufacturer OPTI, now part of Coats GmbH.

But sometimes zippers don't like the way we do - they jerk, jam or no longer hold. That is why we don't always have to exchange them or give the item of clothing to the used clothing collection. Sometimes these little tricks help:

If the zipper can only be closed with a jerk, it may be stuck together. On the other hand, a soft pencil with which we move back and forth on our teeth helps with metal zippers. The greasy graphite from the pencil ensures that the zipper slides more easily again. The pencil method is not suitable for light-colored zippers, nor is it so suitable for plastic zippers.

With light-colored and plastic zippers, we distribute soapy water on the teeth with a cotton swab to make them easier to move. Vaseline also works well. Or you put a drop of silicone spray on a rag and rub it over the teeth of the zipper.

Zipper always opens

If the zipper of the jeans does not stay where it should, namely at the top, we can first try to make it functional again with a pair of pliers. To do this, we carefully press both sides of the slider together with the pliers. We do this with feeling so that the slide does not break or end up being squeezed too tightly. It is better to try several times. If the slide is tighter again, it grips better and closes again more easily.

If that doesn't help, we thread a key ring into the slider and fix the ring with the button on the waistband when closing it.

Zipper stuck: bent teeth

If some of the hooks / teeth on our zipper are bent, we try to straighten them carefully with the pliers.

If a tooth is completely missing in the lower area, we can sew up the zipper at this point. Then the zipper is a bit shorter, but can still be used.

If the zipper is stuck and the slide handle has broken off

If the slide handle has broken off, we can still use our zipper, but it is quite tedious just to close the zipper with the slider. Solution: thread a paper clip, a small safety pin, a leather or textile ribbon, a key ring or a special carabiner from the haberdashery department and the zipper is easy to use again.

Repair zipper - does not work in some cases

In some cases, however, the zipper cannot be saved, namely:

  • when several teeth are missing
  • when the textile tape of the zipper comes undone
  • if the end piece is missing from a divisible zipper

If the zipper has to be completely replaced, it is usually cheaper to buy zipper by the meter instead of ready-made zippers. This is particularly worthwhile with bed linen fasteners.

Always close zips before washing

Always close the zips before washing - good for the zipper and other laundry

We have to take care of the zips to keep them running smoothly. What we can do for a long zipper life:
Always close zips before washing. If they stay open, the teeth can get caught and bent. In addition, open metal zippers are not good for the other fabrics in the drum.
Always clean zippers well: Zippers that often get dirty or dusty, such as those on shoes, tents or backpacks, should be cleaned regularly with soapy water and an old toothbrush and kept smoothly with soap, candle wax or pencil graphite. Some outdoor equipment manufacturers recommend silicone spray for plastic zippers.