A zipper stuck on the wrong track is certainly inconvenient, especially when you're out in public and the problem involves your clothing. Repeated tugging at the zipper looks odd and may damage the clothing. Get the zipper back on track by using a pencil to lubricate the teeth along the zipper. This method helps your problem in two ways: first, you can find pencils just about anywhere; second, other common lubricants such as petroleum jelly, silicone lubricants and oil-based lubricants can stain clothing. Pencil graphite causes no such problem.
Hold the zipper slider firmly in place and tug on the side of the zipper that is on the wrong part of the track. This side of the zipper appears bunched up and out of place. Continue pulling up and down to determine which direction the teeth and the slider move most easily.
Apply pencil graphite around the zipper teeth and slider by gently rubbing the side of the pencil tip against the teeth. Continue rubbing the pencil against the teeth until you create a thick coating of graphite.
Hold the zipper and the bunched-up side as in Step 1. Now jiggle the slider and the zipper teeth up and down to force the graphite into the slider. This lubricates the slider and the teeth.
Continue pulling and jiggling the slider and zipper teeth until the zipper moves in both directions. Move the slider to the bottom of the zipper and slide it up and down several times to ensure the zipper works properly.
Inspect the clothing item for any threads or overhanging material that may have caused the zipper to get off track. Cut any excess thread over the zipper track with scissors.
Wash your item according to the directions on the label to remove the graphite and any debris that might have caused the zipper to get off track.
David Montoya is an attorney who graduated from the UCLA School of Law. He also holds a Master of Arts in American Indian studies. Montoya's writings often cover legal topics such as contract law, estate law, family law and business.