How to Fix Zipper on Backpack – Repair Tips

I’m sure a lot of you have had that moment where you were hurrying and attempted to quickly zip up your bag only to find your zipper stuck. Try as you might, even managing to finally zip it will probably leave it broken. 

This is quite a common scenario, and many opt to replace their bags after this, thinking that a broken zipper can’t be fixed. However, it is indeed possible to both avoid breaking a zipper and fixing a broken one. This article will help you learn how to fix zipper on backpack.

Identifying the Problem

Before you can attempt to fix your broken zipper, you will need to identify what problem it is facing. There are many ways that a zipper can malfunction, and similarly, there are different solutions.  

Being able to correctly identify the issue at hand is the first step to fixing a broken zipper and avoiding breaking it again in the future.

Identifying the Problem

1. The Zipper Remains Stuck

As mentioned in the beginning, this is a common situation you may find yourself in. The zipper remains stuck, and no amount of force you exert will cause it to move. There are many reasons why this may happen.  

One of the most prominent reasons is that the teeth aren’t aligned properly, causing the zipper to get stuck and unable to move. You may notice that you can pull your zipper back but not forward, which will help you indicate where the teeth are misaligned.  

Another reason this can happen is because of debris or dust stuck in the teeth, which will prevent the zipper from moving. When your zipper gets stuck, do not force it to move, or you might end up damaging it or the teeth. This can be prevented by making sure to slowly close the zipper and to keep it clean. Here is a precaution, if the dirt is heavier don't move the zipper, rather wash it. We've two options to wash a backpack, for instance, either by hand washing it or by machine wash. Check out this guide to easily wash your backpack.

2. The Teeth Don’t Close

Another common problem you might see is that when moving the slider, the zipper won’t close. There can be several reasons for this, but the two main reasons are that either some of the teeth are sticking out or that the slider is worn out. Misalignments in the teeth are common and prevent the zipper from fully closing.  

To avoid this, make sure to slowly pull the slider when closing the zipper and always pull the slider along the direction of the zipper. Though using the slider might get it worn out, and this may result in it not being properly locked in place with the zipper. 

3. Breaking the Zipper Pull

We’ve all done it at one point; we pulled the zipper so hard the pull got severed and separated and left us fumbling embarrassingly trying to pull the zipper up. When your backpack is packed with overloaded this may occur. Try to pack your backpack systematically.....otherwise, your belonging will take a lot of space when they are messy.
To avoid breaking don't pull the zipper with a lot of force especially not pulling on it when it is stuck.

4. Breaking the Slider off 

This is probably the unluckiest situation you might get yourself into amongst all the possible problems. Sometimes you might end up pulling the slider off of your zipper. The reason this is considered terrible is that this damages both the teeth of your zipper as well as the slider itself, making it hard to repair.  

And this is one you should be very careful of as this mistake will more often than not make your zipper go beyond repair.

Methods of Fixing a Broken Zipper

Once you have identified the problem with your zipper, you can then proceed to use the recommended method to fix it. Some easy ways to fix zippers are:

Methods of Fixing a Broken Zipper

1. Use Lubricants

If your zipper is stuck, then it will help to apply some lubricant on it allowing it to move more smoothly. Often this will be enough for the zipper to work, but in case it doesn’t, it is worth washing or cleaning the teeth of the zipper for any debris that might be stuck.  

It is also recommended to cut off stray threads from bags and jeans so that they don’t get stuck in the teeth or slider and end up mixing with the lubricant.  

For lubrication, you will want to use a graphite stick. It is the best option for this particular task as it can be used to apply the perfect amount of lubrication without it getting anywhere else. Simply move the stick around the area where the zipper is stuck, and you’ll have it free in no time.

2. Realign the Teeth

This is usually done when your zipper won’t close. Using pliers, you can realign the teeth and move the slider to see if it works. Be careful when doing this as it is very easy to pull out the teeth using your pliers.

3. Use a Substitute for the Zipper Pull

If you ended up severing the zipper pull, an easy solution is to simply use a makeshift pull. A paperclip is the cheapest option, but if you want it to look good, a keyring is a better alternative. Make sure the substitute is secure.

4. Replacing the Slider

Unfortunately, broken sliders don’t have many options regarding how you can fix them besides replacing them. Replacing a slider is much cheaper than replacing the item itself.  

Remove the broken slider with pliers and check if any of the teeth got bent. Realign if necessary. Attach the new slider making sure it is secure and that the zip closes when you move it.


Hopefully, you now know how to fix a broken zipper. In most cases, it is quite easy to fix a broken zipper, and you won’t have to worry about replacing the item. However, if these tricks aren't working for your backpack and you've decided to buy a newer one you can check out our backpack buying guides for a better replacement.

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