Saving Stuck Zippers

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2014 • all rights reserved

It worked for me and saved a nice daypack

A while back,  I pulled our old daypack out of its storage place and found it was totally salt-encrusted and water stained. None of the zippers would budge. That wasn’t going to work.

A couple years ago we’d won a new one and this one got thrown under the bed and forgotten; now we wanted to use both. Oops! I was afraid it was just a goner.

Figuring that I had nothing to lose, I soaked the daypack in some hot vinegar water for an hour, and that got the two largest of the three zippers working.

I used a 5 gallon bucket and put almost a quart of cider vinegar* in it, then added boiling water (I’m guessing about 3 gallons — it’s not rocket science) and then added the daypack and used our grill tongs to push it down into the water. A couple of times during that soak time I used the tongs to swish things around.

On the third zipper, Dave squirted straight vinegar into the zip pull and then used pliers to pull. Now it works too!

Daypack-after-washingFiguring that the daypack was already totally wet, I ran it through the washer on gentle then dried it in the dryer (normal heat). Looks great and all works perfectly — I just put a bit of ZipCare on the zippers to keep it from having problems again. Woo-hoo!

*Cider vinegar is more acidic than distilled white vinegar, making it a better choice for dissolving salt encrustation.

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  1. Good to know. i’ve thrown quite a few items out. thanks….

  2. A light coating of Chapstick on the teeth will delay a recurrence for quite some time. The crystals generally won’t form, or they will fall off. Also the coating includes UV shield.

    • The biggest problem with using Chapstick is that it will attract dirt and sand, which in turn can jam the zipper. All depends on where you are whether that’s likely to be a problem.

  3. Barbara Lowell says:

    Wow so great. I use vinegar a lot but didn’t know that ACV was more acidic. Thanx great rehab story. I like WD40 for zippers sometimes too depending on the situation, more for metal corrosion.

  4. Great tip! It would have never occurred to me to try this. Oh, vinegar, is there anything you can’t do? 🙂

  5. Frank Collins says:

    Go to your dollar or any cheap store and get some candlesticks. Rub the candles on the teeth of the zippers and they will work good as new

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