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How to Repair a Jeans Zipper That Won't Stay Up

Why Your Zipper Wont Stay Up

The reason your zipper won't stay up is that there isn't a whole lot of pressure at the top of the pants, where the button is helping to keep things closed. However, the middle of the zipper is being stretched by your hips. It has to flex every time you site, stand-up, or stretch. This difference in pressure is a recipe for a lazy zipper.

WrappingZipping It Up

Whether it’s your $50 jacket or $500 tent, caring for your zippers is vital to ensure the life of your possessions.

Remember to clean them, lubricate them, and treat them with care.

I hope you’ve learned some valuable tips and tricks to fix some of your zipper problems.Don’t forget to… Zip Up!


Anatomy of a Zipper

We tend to use zippers every day but never stop to think about how they work.

In general, a zipper joins two separate pieces of fabric, but exactly how?Let’s learn some proper terminology to find out.

  • Slider: The part of the zipper that moves up and down
  • Teeth: The stationary aspect of a zipper sewn on to each end of the fabric
  • Insertion Pin: The access point that allows the slide to join the teeth
  • Stop: The top and bottom portions of the teeth that prevent the slider from moving further
  • Pull-tab: The part of the zipper you grab when you zip-up
  • Crown: Where the pull-tab connects to the slide
  • Tape Extension: The fabric on either side of the teeth that connect them to the clothing/tent
  • Chain: The entire ensemble when zipped up

When the slider is pulled onto the insertion pin, it wedges the teeth together at an angle through a Y-shaped channel.Seriously! Check it out the next time you zip up your pants.

The teeth, which vary in shape, become interconnected and allow the fabric to join together.

Step 3: Add the New Slider

Take the working slider and carefully feed the top of the zipper tape through the bottom of the slider. Push the slider down until you get to the zipper teeth.

Remember that hook that’s supposed to hold the slider up? It won’t let the zipper slider come down onto the zipper teeth unless you lift the pull tab up! So make sure you raise the pull tab, and move the zipper slider down onto the zipper teeth.

Step 1: Take a Replacement Slider From an Old Pair of Jeans

Get an old pair of jeans that you don’t want anymore. (Be sure that it has a zipper slider that works properly!)

Cut through both sides of the zipper tape, and pull the slider right off.

How to Unstick a Zipper

Zippers can get stuck for several reasons. They may snag on a bit of fabric or one of the teeth gets out of line or the metal or plastic teeth break or become a bit worn. But there is usually something you can do to save the day.

  1. Stop Struggling

    If you begin to feel the zipper getting stuck and not moving smoothly, STOP zipping before you make it worse! If you are wearing the garment, Remove it if possible and examine the problem.

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

  2. Slowly Retract the Fabric

    If there is fabric caught in the zipper, gently pull it away. Apply a pulling motion to the fabric, not the zipper. Use needle-nose pliers or tweezers to get a better grip.

    Do not pull on the zipper. Pulling on the zipper may separate the teeth, especially on zippers with plastic or nylon teeth. Slowly ease the fabric out of the zipper slider and gradually slide the zipper pull tab up or down for the final release.


    Hold the zipper slider by the body, which is closer to the zipper teeth, rather than the little pull tab. This will provide more power and control.

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

  3. Realign the Zipper Teeth

    If the teeth of the zipper look out of place, use your finger to smooth them back together, if possible.

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

  4. Inspect the Zipper and Garment

    Before rezipping, check along the zipper to be sure that the fabric is moved away from the zipper and that any loose threads have been removed.

    The Spruce / Georgia Lloyd

Learn More

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How to Fix a Zipper That Keeps Sliding Open

When the zipper’s locking mechanism is out of place, your zipper might have trouble staying zipped. You may encounter this problem more often on clothing items that get a lot of wear and tear. Unless you replace the zipper entirely, there’s no real permanent fix for this problem.

However, if this issue is happening on a pair of pants, a temporary solution is to use household items like a key ring or rubber band to fasten to the end of the zipper and loop it around the pants button to keep it up (you can also use this method to make a new zipper pull).

For other articles of clothing, another temporary fix is to try using sticky hairspray to cause a buildup in the teeth, making it harder to fall down.

Semi-Permanent Fix

For a stuck zipper, you have to grease the teeth. For a slippery zipper, do just the opposite. Use hairspray (cheap Aquanet will do!) to coat the top teeth of the zipper. Apply only to the top inch or so of teeth. The goal here is to gum up the works so that the teeth have more bulk to them and the zipper has trouble going down.