How to Fix a Zipper That Separates, Misaligned, Missing Teeth

Can’t live without them. Zippers are on a lot of items these days and they have become an essential part of life. For athletes they secure their clothing, for normal men and women, zippers make sure daily life is more convenient. Zippers even make wearing shoes or boots easier.

The easiest method is to simply remove the old broken zipper and replace it with a new one. But if you do not want to do that, pick the stitches near the separation, slide the zipper past that point and line up the teeth again. Re-sew the area once you are done.

To learn how to fix zippers that have lost their way, separated, or are missing teeth, just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to fix your broken zippers and keep them working for a long time again.

Can a Zipper That Separates Be Fixed?


Yes, it can but it may take a lot of work to get the teeth lined up like they used to be. If you have the time, you can work on this as a nice project as it will take a lot of concentration to line the teeth up and get them working like they used to.

If you do not have the time, we suggest that you save yourself the work and simply replace the zipper that separated. This is faster and easier to do than trying to re-line the teeth and get them in their proper places. (fixing cloth stuck in zipper)

What To Do With a Zipper That Separates?

Whatever you do, you should not try to force the teeth to go through the slider. In some minor cases, this will realign the teeth but does not always solve the problem. Some separations are more difficult to solve and forcing their way through the slider only makes it worse.

Most people may not make the effort to fix a separated zipper and either leave it for the dry cleaners or the tailors to deal with. Or they just simply go out and buy a new one. Sometimes the easy path is the best path to take, especially when your schedule is full.

How To Fix a Zipper That Separates At The Bottom

For this fix, you will need a pair of needle-nose pliers and a strong grip. Take the pliers and remove the bottom stoppers. Then slowly move the slider to the bottom, fixing any twists as you go. You do not want to pull the slider off completely.

Next, realign the teeth one by one and pull the slider up slowly as you do this. Once this is done, sew on new stoppers and add about 9 stitches to the bottom to act as a stopper. Double knot when you are done and cut off any excess thread.

How To Fix a Zipper That Separates in The Middle


One method of fixing is simply to sew a knot at the lowest point of the separation and continue to use the zipper. This shortens the amount of zipping you will get and it is only useful in specific circumstances.

Or you can take a pair of pliers and clamp the slots on the pull where the teeth are closer together and realign the teeth. If the separation has bent or missing teeth, then you should replace the zipper with a new one.

A separated nylon zipper may need a professional to fix and get the zipper back in shape.

A Zipper That Separates on a Backpack

Usually, backpacks have plastic zippers attached to them so the following instructions will focus on fixing that type of zipper. First, try to straighten any bent teeth you may find at the separation. Also, look for any string or thread that may have gotten between the teeth and separated them. Remove that if it is there.

Next, clean the teeth as any particles that have built up may move the teeth out of line causing the slider to skip those teeth and let the zipper separate. Third, you need to check the slider itself.

It may have separated a little and doesn't align the teeth anymore. Just take a pair of pliers and squeeze the slider closed but not so much it doesn’t do its job.

Pants Zipper That Separates

The best fix for this is to remove the stoppers at the bottom of the zipper and slide the slider down to almost the end. Then realign the teeth as you go up, moving the slider upwards as you work. Once you have the teeth realigned, just replace the old stoppers.

Most people will tell you that it is better to simply replace the zipper. They do not want to do the hard work of fixing them and it is a valid reason to get a new zipper. Besides, you do not know when the current zipper will separate again and you have to repair it all over.

How To Fix Separated Nylon Zipper Teeth


One method is to use a small butter knife and pry open the groove on the side of the zipper that has separated. Then place the separated side back inside the groove, realigning the teeth as you go. Close the groove and zip the nylon zipper again.

The thing to be aware of at this point is that you may find that the teeth won’t realign and the end of the side that separated won’t go back into its groove. When this happens you will have to replace the zipper.

Can a Zipper With Missing Teeth be Fixed?

If the zipper is made of metal and the missing teeth are at the top or the bottom of the zipper, you can fix the zipper. You just have to change the location of the zipper stops and use the zipper like normal.

However, if the missing teeth are in the middle of the zipper, then you will have to replace it and use a new one. You can try to replace the missing teeth by replicating something from Q tips or a brass clip but that takes a lot of work and it may not be successful.

Can You Replace Missing Zipper Teeth?

This can be done and some people have used a Q-tip piece to fill the gap. You will have to sew the Q-tip piece to the zipper tape to hold it in position and keep it secure. The drawback is you may have a small hole at that point but the piece will keep the zipper together.

When you see a single tooth is missing, check to see if the other teeth close to that spot are loose. If so, it is best to just replace the zipper with a new one.

How To Fix a Zipper With Missing Teeth


You can try using a brass clip to fill the gap but the problem with this solution is trying to keep it secured and in place. Some people cut a U shape piece out of a Q-tip and sew it in place but this is just a stop-gap measure to ensure the slider still works properly.

Most people say you cannot fix missing teeth on a zipper but if the missing tooth or teeth are at the bottom or the top just move the stops up or down and past the holes and use the zipper like normal.

How To Fix a Misaligned Zipper

The first step in this situation is to remove either the two bottom stops or the two top stops. Next, move the slider towards the end you removed the stops. If it is stuck use a little oil to lubricate it.

After that, check for any twisted or bent teeth and use a pair of pliers to straighten them. Once that is done realign the bottom of the two zipper tapes and slide the slider back down. Put one side of the zipper through the slider into the retainer box and slide the slider up and check your work.

If it works put the stops back on.

How To Undo a Misaligned Zipper

To get the misaligned zipper ready for repair, you need a pair of pliers to pull either the top or bottom stops off. Then you will need a seam ripper to remove any stitches holding the zipper in place if you want to align it off the clothing item.

To realign you will need to use your fingers to get the tape in place and then reassemble the zipper once that is done.

Some Final Words

Zippers are a convenience but there will be times where they will not function as they should. The easiest fix is to replace them as you never know when the repaired zipper will fail again. Or you can let the professionals handle the task and save yourself some frustration.

Leave a Comment: