How to Fix a Split Zipper

One of the most common zipper malfunctions is a split zipper.  You’ve probably had this happen to you with a jacket or coat zipper.  After zipping your jacket, the zipper separates or splits open.  Most people think that a split zipper must be replaced, but that is not always the case.

I have fixed split or separating zippers many times without doing any sewing at all.  I’ll tell you how.

Here’s the most recent split zipper that I fixed in a matter of minutes without even picking up a needle or thread.  This particular zipper was supposed to be closing the pocket on a backpack, but the zipper would split open every time.

Often the problem is not with the zipper, but with the zipper slide.  The zipper slide is the metal piece that slides up and down the zipper.  The zipper slide can stretch out of shape with use.  To fix the zipper and prevent it from separating, you may be able to tighten up the zipper slide by pinching it ever so slightly with a pair of pliers.

I have a pair of pliers specially made for zipper repair, but a regular pair of needle nose pliers should work for you.  You can see from this picture that I am using my pliers to squeeze the zipper slide just a tiny bit tighter.  This repair is much easier to do on a jacket than on a backpack, but I think you can get the idea.

I recommend tightening one side of the zipper slide and then trying the zipper out again.  If it still separates, then try tightening the other side of the slide, too.

 After I tightened this zipper slide, I was able to zip the pocket.  I pulled on it a few times trying to make it separate, but it wouldn’t.   Ah, I’m so happy that I was able to fix this one this way.  I certainly did not want to try to replace this zipper!

If you’ve got a jacket, coat, or any other item with a separating zipper, I hope you will give this technique a try.

I do not guarantee that a quick pinch of the zipper slide will fix your zipper.  Sometimes zippers really do need to be replaced, but I always recommend trying this method of repair first.

 

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56 thoughts on “How to Fix a Split Zipper

  1. it truly works. thank you, couldn’t find a pliers so i used a nail clippers that looks like a pliers

    thank you

  2. It obviously works for sone types but I’m struggling with a zipper that is closed at both ends, made of plastic, and the sides of the zipper clasp is tight fitting over the teeth. There is no room to put the teeth back in. Any ideas.
    Wondering Teeth

    1. Sounds as if that zipper may indeed need to be replaced, Mark. It might be worth it to take it to a tailor or alterationist to see if it can be repaired and how much that would cost you.

  3. Thanks so much for this post! I found it on Google when I was searching how to fix a split zipper on my leather wallet. Your method worked! I am so thankful! It is a wallet that is special & can’t be replaced. It is about 6-7 years old and is in perfect condition other than the zipper problem. Your advice took care of that. Thanks so much! What a blessing!

    1. I’m always happy to know that someone was able to fix a zipper this way. I’m very happy that it worked for you, Melanie. And thanks so much for letting me know.

  4. Thank you so much for this , fingers crossed but I think I just fixed my favorite pair of boots(spring is not really happening yet here in Michigan)!! I had to be a little more agressive since they are leather and the zipper is a little more heavy duty but so far they are zipping great. Thank you!!

    1. The zipper part doesn’t have to be metal, Sheri, but the zipper slide would have to be. I don’t think you could tighten a plastic zipper slide. It would probably break if you tried. But if the zipper is ruined anyway, it couldn’t hurt to give it a light squeeze anyway just to try it.

  5. Thank You soooo very much. My winter coat had the zipper separation problem in this cold Oklahoma weather. Being in college, I did not have the money to replace the zipper let alone the coat. I did not have any needle nose pliers so I just used scissors. It worked just fine! Thank You again :)

    1. I would never have thought of using scissors, but I’m so glad that it worked for you! This is such an easy fix, and I would hate to see someone buy a new coat when it’s not at all necessary. Stay warm!

  6. You are a life saver. My daughter has a pair of leather shorts she’s wearing next weekend for a pageant and the zipper just separated!! Thank you for posting this. Worked like a charm!!!

  7. This is like so awesome ! I mean dude thanks a tonne !! This problem was happening with my school bag…thanks a lot for posting this..thank you so much :) :) :)

  8. this worked for me on my sons new coat i had just purchased a month ago , but i noticed the zipper is “thick now and doesn’t lay flat… its also harder to zip up but if it was any looser this tip would not have worked for me…im thinking i got a faulty jacket and no receipt to return. so all in all thanks for helping me fix it, without putting out mooooore money!

    1. I’m glad it worked for your jacket, but I’m sorry that the zipper doesn’t lie flat. Not sure why that happened. But if this keeps you from having to buy a new jacket, I suppose that’s a good thing. Thanks for sharing!

      1. Is it possible to fix a zipper that has come apart completely from one side, can they be rethreaded or do I need to buy a new purse?

        1. Narelle, you would have to take the purse to someone who repairs zippers. It’s really hard for me to say without being able to see it. I hope you can find someone to help you with it! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  9. Thank you! I just fixed a much needed backpack zipper as we are traveling right now. Pinching one side only worked.

  10. Thank you so much for this tip!My favorite winter coat was saved:) I was about to get raid of it…genius,just genius:)

    1. Rosemary, I am so happy that this worked for you! I can’t even count the number of coats/jackets that I have fixed using this technique. It wasn’t my genius, that’s for sure, but for the life of me, I can’t remember where I learned this.

      Glad you are able to wear your favorite coat now!

      1. Thank you so much. I get so much enjoyment and information from you! I love learning new ideas to save money and to be reminded of some I used to know! Also, you answer each person in such a pleasant and positive way. I want to teach my daughter to make the freezer pie crust.

        1. I really appreciate those encouraging words, Chris. Having people leave comments and questions on my blog is so affirming. It’s always nice to know that someone is reading along and learning.

          How did you find my blogs?

          1. Elaine, I think I found your blog on One Good Thing By Jillee. Also, I ordered the zipper pliers and they arrived today! I noticed the website has zippers too so I ordered a 30″ metal zipper. I can’t believe it was only $1.74! I needed one for my husband’s chore hoodie and you can’t get metal ones in stores anymore. Joann’s had order form for zippers and they were outrageously priced. I still can’t get over the good prices on the Wawak site. I also ordered a sleeve board for easier ironing. I so enjoy all your writings! Chris

          2. I love Wawak! I order all my zippers from them along with some other sewing and alterations supplies. They ship super fast, too! It’s great to have you reading along here!

      1. Hi Elaine , used pliers on my wallet which has a wrap around zipper it works, where can I get one of those taylor pliers ? Thanks Roseann

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