How to Separate Stuck Zippers

Zipper image by Gudellaphoto from

Zippers can be found in many things we use today, such as backpacks, sweaters and coats. These devices are convenient to use, but every so often, they will become stuck and cause much frustration. Zippers usually become stuck because there is something caught in the mechanism or because the teeth are not fitting together properly. Sometimes it is possible to get a zipper working again by just fiddling with it until it somehow fixes itself. Other times a zipper can seem to be completely stuck and just won't budge; this is when certain techniques come into play that can help it to become unstuck.

Determine why the zipper is stuck. Check around the zipper pull and the area where the teeth interlock to see if something is stuck in the mechanism. If there is nothing stuck in the zipper, then the problem likely lies within the interlocking teeth.

Attempt to remove any stuck objects if this is found to be the problem. Gently pull on the object with tweezers while at the same time pulling the zipper in the opposite direction. Do not pull hard if the object does not move or you may risk making the problem worse. Using too much force can also cause the zipper to break.

Apply lubricant to the zipper if the teeth are stuck or are not interlocking properly. Use a bar of soap, liquid soap, a wax candle, some cooking oil, some WD-40 or something similar to lubricate the teeth. WD-40 can work well with zippers on outdoor belongings where they may have become rusted. Work slowly and try to ease the teeth back to working properly rather than forcing them.

Determine if this could become a repeat problem. Examine the zipper to see if there are any areas in particular that will cause problems. Look for bent teeth, rusted areas or pieces of fabric near the zipper that could easily get caught. Lubricate the zipper well and zip it up and down several times to ensure that it moves smoothly. Try moving away pieces of fabric that can get caught.