Can Luggage Zippers Be Repaired?

By James Smith
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Depending on the situation you have, yes you can!

Laboring all nights to pack your belongings in a luggage is a very tedious task.

It requires so much physical and mental energy to know the best options to pick along with you on your journey.

But what brings you more headache than seeing the zipper worn out, just twenty minutes to boarding your flight?

How do you get your massive suitcase repaired in those minutes?

Or would you risk your bathing suit wind up in the cargo?

Such moment could torment your psychological state until you miss out on your schedule and  end up boarding another plane.

Buying an expensive set of luggage does not guarantee that it won’t fail to respond at times you most need it.

You may purchase a suitcase for as much as $200 and find out the zipper is broken at first use.

You could imagine the frustration as there is little or nothing you can do to salvage such situations.

Some suitcases are made with just one zipper which makes it more complicated when the single zipper wears out.

If this happens to you at the airport, you may have no other choice than resolving to using a plastic bag, not being ignorant of the shame that comes with turning each unit of what you had stocked in the suitcase into the plastic bag in the public.

However, a plastic bag is never the best solution.

A worn-out luggage zipper can still be repaired and made to work perfectly well, again. You do not have to dispose your suitcase as it takes little steps to get it all repaired.

To get a luggage zipper repaired, you may be needing a pair of pliers and scissors (depending on how bad the zipper is).

Repairing A Split Zipper

can luggage zippers be repaired

  If your suitcase is made of a split zipper, you can start fixing the worn-out zipper by removing the zipper slider.

To achieve this, you will have to bring the slider over to the top of the zipper and not to the bottom.

However, if the zipper is knitted onto the bag, you will be needing a seam ripper to get rid of the fabric from the body of the zipper.

The  zipper stop is also necessary to remove completely and this is only done by cutting the stop with pliers.

If you have successfully removed the zipper slider, gently slide in a new one while you ensure that the nose of the zipper slider is made to face the top of the zipper.

After this is perfectly done, there will also be a need to attach a new zipper top stop and pin it onto the top of the zipper.

However, this can only be done by using pliers.

Tightening A Zipper Slider

 Often times, there are difficulties arising from the functioning of the zipper slider.

The opening of the zipper slider gets to wear over time and this makes it become enlarged.

When the slider is enlarged, it becomes so hard for it to join the zipper teeth together again, thereby making them zipper not stay together too.

However, a pair of pliers may be used to tighten the zipper slider by crimping the slider to its original shape.

But in this case, pliers with needle noses are advised to be used.

You don’t always have to remove the old slider and replace it with a new one.

You may just gently squeeze the sides of the slider and check if both sides are in regular shape.

It is however common that, in the process of squeezing the sides of the slider, the slider may get broken.

If too much pressure is applied to the slider, it is very likely to have the slider jammed or broken.

Lubricating The Slider

zipper slider stuck can luggage zippers be repaired

Lubrication has been a home remedy for quite a lot of domestic chores, especially when two parts of a particular objects that usually slide and glide do not move again.

That’s friction, a form of force that must be overcome before motion can take place.

If the slider of your suitcase gets stuck or fails to move up and down frictionlessly, lubrication may be a very good option to solve the puzzle.

However, the choice of lubricants used nowadays seems wrong as most people use oil, Vaseline and soap.

These are not good enough lubricants as they have their disadvantages.

They can attract more dirt from the surrounding and when this happens, the puzzle is not solved but exacerbated.

The best lubricant you may use is candle wax or petroleum jelly. However, you must ensure that it doesn’t clog up the teeth of the zipper.

Sliders get stuck more often as a result of dirt, sticky stuffs and grit that are trapped in the teeth of the sliders.

The flap behind the zipper may also get stuck.

This is why it is advisable to always inspect the zipper teeth regularly and remove any visible particle or dirt that may hinder the motion of the zipper.

If removing such dirt by hand is not possible, use a toothbrush to get rid of the unwanted particles.

However, if the particles refuse to get removed, you may have to replace the zipper with a new one.

Laundering A Stuck Zipper

After lubricating the zipper, there are chances that it gets stuck still.

If this happens, the next line of action is to launder the item. Put the item in a laundry machine so as to remove the gunk causing the unnecessary friction.

Shortly after laundering the item, apply the lubricant and see that the zipper functions without any delay.

However, if the zipper seems not functioning still, get a sharpen graphite pencil to finish this off.

Bring the tip of the pencil to the teeth of the zipper and rub the tip on the teeth.

Put the zipper to test if it budges or not, after rubbing with graphite pencil.

If it does not, bring the tip of the pencil back to the start position and rub on the teeth until you are able to see that the zipper zips down.

Shortening Lengthy Zippers

If your zipper flaps past the length of your bag, you will always want to have it cut to the your preferred length from the bottom.

First of all, you have to remove the metal stoppers located at the base of the zipper.

After then, cut it to your satisfaction with pliers and reattach to exactly wherever you want it to be.

To do this perfectly, just pry the teeth of the zipper open and apply little force to reattach the bands into whichever spot you want them to be.

However, if your zipper does not have a metal stopper, you can make artificial stopping at the bottom of the zipper.

This is carried out by using a needle and thread to make stopping stitches just right at the bottom of your zipper.  

If the zipper is not a regular type but one with a molded tooth, they’re quite different to affix because their teeth are very strong compared to the regular type.

To fix this type of zipper, get a pair of scissors and cut off the topmost part of the zipper.

If the zipper has a grooved top stop, then gently slide in the teeth and use your pliers to tighten them onto the zipper firmly.

If the zipper does not have a grooved top stop, remove the teeth completely and grip them above the mark with the aid of pliers and pull them until they are removed.

Repairing A Missing Bottom Teeth Zipper

In order to repair the missing bottom teeth of your zipper, the first task is to completely remove the bottom stop.

When this is done, hold firmly the article onto which the zipper is attached and pull off the stops. Although, this may require pliers so as not to deface or deform the zipper.

After this, carefully remove the tack located at the base of your zipper.

Next, flip the bag inside out and remove the tack with a seam ripper.

After you have successfully done this, replace the bottom stop with a larger one that covers the missing teeth.

Push the prongs into the fabric that is just right above the zipper stop of the old zipper.

Then, use pliers to close the prongs so as to make it fit right into place.

After this, use a needle and thread to reattach the bottom of the zipper unto it.

You may as well use a sewing machine to get this done, provided the item wouldn’t cause any damage on the machine.

Fixing A Broken Zipper Pull

missing zipper can luggage zippers be repaired

If the pull of the zipper breaks off accidentally and it’s quite urgent that you fix it, a key ring or a paper clip would be needed.

This is done by sliding either a key ring or paper clip through the tab on the zipper.

This is an improvised zipper pull and could last as long as you handle the item with care.

Get a zipper fixer kit

Zipper Repair Kits can luggage zippers be repaired

If you don’t have any repair parts to your zipper I recommend getting a repair kit. Like this one.

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Hi, I'm James Smith, I love traveling and always looking to optimize the traveling life to make it as comfortable and stress-free as possible. I especially love to nerd out about choosing the right luggage.

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