How To Fix A Misaligned Zipper In 7 Easy Steps
While zippers are definitely among the most handy-dandy small devices ever invented, they also come with a wide array of problems, one of which is misalignment. You know, when the slider (a.k.a. the thing you slide over the zipper tape) skips a few tabs or so? Or when you mistakenly zipped it up without properly aligning from the bottom? Misalignment is a common cause of zipper jamming, malfunctioning, or breakage.
This can be a nuisance and might just cause your jacket or jeans on the donate pile. However, what most of us don’t realize is that fixing the zipper is very simple and requires only a few basic tools and minutes of your time. So, here is a guide on how to fix a misaligned zipper.
Materials You Will Need
Sometimes, when you got a misaligned two way zipper, it also gets stuck or jammed, which makes repair a little more challenging. Lubricants can be used to get things going and allow the slider to be adjusted.
Dry lubricants are solids that can be rubbed on the zipper’s teeth to make it easier for the slider to move. Usually, a graphite stick is used for this purpose. However, if you don’t have a graphite stick, you can use the tip of a pencil.
Wet lubricants are oil-based or water-based liquids that can be used on a zipper. These are typically only required when graphite does not work and include:
○ Soap and water
○ Liquid soap
○ Detergent or laundry soap
○ Petroleum Jelly
○ Baby oil
You may need to unstitch the zipper from your garment, bag, or equipment to make it easier to repair. For this purpose, a seam ripper or sharp blade will come in handy. If you don’t have those, a small pair of scissors could work as well.
A Pair of Pliers, a Screwdriver, or a Kitchen Knife
Pliers are the best tools to help you remove the stops, the slider, or teeth that may be causing the problem. You can also use them to reattach or replace them. If you don’t have pliers, you can use a flat-tipped screwdriver or kitchen knife. Just be extra careful with the knife as it can damage the stops or cause them to go flying across the room.
Needle and Thread or a Sewing Machine
After repairing your zipper, you will need these to attach it back to your garment or bag. You can stitch it by hand, or you can use a machine to make the work much faster, especially if you’re dealing with a long or large zipper.
Zipper Replacement Parts
During repair, you may have to replace broken, malfunctioning, or missing parts of the zipper.
Instructions On How To Fix A Misaligned Zipper
Before we get into the details of fixing a zipper, it might help for you to first recognize the parts of a zipper as shown in these pictures below:
Now, You’re Ready To Start Fixing your Zipper.
Step 1. Remove the top stops.
As shown in the pictures, a zipper has two top stops and two bottom stops which prevent the slider from coming off of it. To reset and fix the alignment of your zipper, you must remove either the two bottom stops or the two top stops if the bottom has a retainer box and pin system. To do this, grab a pair of pliers to pull away from the stops and set them aside. You can also use a kitchen knife or screwdriver for this task.
Step 2. Remove the slider.
Once the stops have come off, you can now move the slider to the top or bottom of the zipper, whichever way the removed stops where initially positioned.
Step 3. Lubricate a jammed zipper.
If the slider is stuck, this is the time you can use your lubricants. Try the graphite stick or pencil first by rubbing it on the teeth nearest to the slider. Then, try moving the slider back and forth along the zipper to loosen it up. This may require a little force, but once the slider starts moving, your job becomes easier. In case the graphite method fails, use wet lubricants.
Step 4. Realign the zipper’s teeth.
Now, realign the bottom part of the two zipper tapes. Also, check for any deformed or missing teeth that may have caused the misalignment. Use your pliers to replace these or restore their shape.
Step 5. Slip the slider back.
Once the tapes are aligned, you can now slip back the slider from the top. If your zipper has a retainer box at the bottom, you can start by putting the slider all the way down on the side of the box.
Then, insert the pin on the other tape into the slider. Make sure to pull it all the way down into the retainer box. Try zipping up to the point before the removed stops should be. Ensure that the zipper stays aligned and closes properly.
Step 6. Put the stops back in place.
Since the problem is now solved, you can seal the zipper again by putting the stops back using pliers.
Step 7. Finish it up
If you removed the zipper, you could now stitch it back. You can even replace damaged stops by simply sewing the two zipper tapes securely together where the stops should be.
You can also watch this quick video demonstration to know how to fix an uneven zipper on a jacket.
Congratulations! You now know how to fix a misaligned zipper and might just be able to save a beloved piece of clothing or an otherwise perfect bag or tent. You might be surprised at how helpful this skill can be.
Did you learn something from this tutorial? If so, please feel free to share it with your friends and family. Do leave your comments or questions below as well!