Repair zipper – a second life for clothes and bags

Wer selber einen defekten Reißverschluss reparieren möchte, kann dadurch Kleidung oder eine Tasche vor der Tonne bewahren. Hier steht, wie’s geht.

zipper broken? That’s no reason to throw away a piece of clothing or a bag. And there is no need to spend money on a repair either, because in most cases you can do it yourself Repair zipperwithout costing you anything.

Replace slider handle

The handle of the zipper slider (also called a zipper or slide) breaks off quickly. Then it becomes cumbersome to open and close the shutter. A quick fix is ​​to thread a paper clip or safety pin through the small hole on the slider. If you have a little more time, you can also model a new handle around the free end of the paper clip with modeling glue such as Sugru, which is even easier to handle.

Alternatively, a pretty piece of ribbon or cord works well as a replacement handle – simply thread it through the slider hole and knot the ends into a sling.

Repair zip puller

If the slider itself has worn out and no longer closes the teeth of the zipper, this can often be fixed as well. To do this, simply press the slide together with pliers or tap it carefully with a hammer so that the upper and lower parts are as close as possible to each other again. So the teeth can no longer slip out.

If the slider has fallen off, it is necessary to thread it back onto the rows of teeth, as described in the next section. If the slider is broken, you can buy a new slider that fits the zipper repair.

Thread the zipper back in

The first thing to do is to check if missing teeth are the reason the slider has slipped out. In this case, unfortunately, a new zipper is needed.

On the other hand, if it was the slider, you’re in luck and the zipper can be repaired.

For this you need:

  • a slider (the one repaired as described above or a new one)
  • needle and thread
  • maybe a pair of pliers

Needed time: 15 minutes.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Remove stoppers

    First remove the stopper at the lower end of the zipper. With a trouser zipper, this affects the clip that holds both rows of teeth together. With a jacket zipper that can be opened completely, this only affects one side. Pay attention to which side the bottom tooth is on.If you want to repair a broken zipper yourself, you can save clothing or a bag from the bin.  Here's how.


    Tip: With a metal zipper, the stopper can often be bent apart and reused later

  2. Thread on slider

    From the now open end, thread the slider back onto the zipper – first on the side with the lowest tooth, then on the other side. The zipper can be closed again by gently jerking.

  3. Reattach or replace stoppers

    If the stopper was not damaged during removal, it can be reattached to its original location using pliers. Otherwise, make a replacement stopper with a needle and thread. To do this, sew around the bottom teeth as often as necessary until there is a sufficiently thick lump that serves as a stopper.If you want to repair a broken zipper yourself, you can save clothing or a bag from the bin.  Here's how.

This means that the zipper is functional again without you necessarily having to spend money on it!

“Lubricate” a sluggish zipper

If a new metal zipper is difficult to open and close, it may be because the teeth are still too sharp. In this case, it helps if the fastener is slowly opened and closed several times so that the teeth wear out a little. Another option is to rub the teeth with a pencil. They are “lubricated” by the graphite and the slider slides better over them.

If you want to repair a broken zipper yourself, you can save clothing or a bag from the bin.  Here's how.

Straighten bent zipper teeth

With zip fasteners whose “teeth” consist of a flattened plastic spiral, it can happen that the threads bend and no longer mesh properly when the zip fastener is closed. Then the zipper can also run sluggishly or the slider can tilt and get stuck.

In this case, a pair of tweezers or small pliers can be used to gently bend the spirals back into the correct shape so that the locking mechanism works again.

Tip: Other types of damage to a piece of clothing can also be repaired instead of throwing the good piece away. And sometimes it’s also nice to emphasize the patched area, for example with the sashiko technique.

You can find more suggestions on how you can avoid waste in everyday life through repairs or recycling in our books:

What clothes or other textiles have you repaired instead of throwing them away? We look forward to a comment from you!

Here, too, it is about avoiding waste and unwanted substances:

If you want to repair a broken zipper yourself, you can save clothing or a bag from the bin.  Here's how.

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