Cloth Stuck in Zipper: How To Get Fabric Out of a Zipper

We have all been there. Zippers getting caught in a fabric is as common as the common cold. Everyone has this problem so there is no use getting embarrassed about it. Just free the fabric and continue on your way.

How to get fabric out of a zipper: There are 4 simple steps you can take to get the fabric out of your zipper. First, you need to find the problem spot. Second, use a pin to free the fabric being careful not to pull it. Pulling bends the zipper track. Finally, cut stubborn threads with a razor blade.

That is the easiest way to get fabric unstuck from a zipper. To learn more about this common issue just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to avoid this situation and keep it from happening again.

Zipper keeps Getting Stuck on Fabric


Believe it or not, there are only 2 ways where your zipper gets something stuck in its track. The first way is that the zipper track teeth are not locking into place correctly and they leave a little gap.

The second way is that there is some fabric that is too close to the zipper and the fabric gets accidentally caught in the teeth. When the latter method happens, you want to be careful as a hard tug may bend the zipper track and ruin it.

When the fabric does not come untangled with the gentle tugs of your fingers, then you should try using a pair of tweezers to get a better grip. The key here is the word patience. Impatience can lead you to go too hard and too fast and you risk damaging the zipper.

How to Fix a Zipper With Fabric in It

Everyone may have their own idea about how to unstick a zipper that has fabric caught in it. A straight pin is one of those around the house solutions and here are some solutions that use around the house items:

Fingers or tweezers - both are good tools to use when the fabric is not really jammed in tight.

Use a cotton swab to apply one of the following - paraffin, a bar of soap or candle wax. Make the application above and below the stuck section as well as on the zipper tab. This is an easy lubricant to use to get the zipper to slide easier.

Use a pencil tip - rub the graphite lightly onto the zipper teeth. Be careful that you do not apply too much or your zipper may jam on the graphite.

Soak the zipper area - you can use either saltwater and vinegar for 3 hours or sacrifice a bottle of coke for an hour. These solutions need a little time to remove what is jamming your zipper.

One simple tip to help prevent the jamming of your zipper. Use a little paraffin, candle wax or a bar of soap from time to time to keep the zipper track lubricated and easier to use. These items also protect against rust.

How to Get Pocket Lining Out Of A Zipper


One of the more simple ways to achieve this objective is to simply place your fingers from one hand on the zipper tab and your fingers from the other on the fabric. Gently tighten the fabric so there is no slack.

Then pull gently but firmly in the direction your zipper came from. This should loosen the fabric and have the teeth let go. Don’t let yourself get frustrated as that will only compound your problem.

If that method fails you can always try one of the solutions listed immediately above. Those options work on all fabrics and zipper situations. The one thing you do not want to do is cut a hole in your pocket. That may free the pocket but it will still leave you with your zipper clogged with fabric.

The best time to use a razor blade is when you can see individual threads that are stuck and cutting them won’t put a hole in your pocket or leave too much thread in the zipper.

If you use a razor blade proceed with caution. You do not want to ruin your clothing nor cut your hand.

Avoiding Fabric Caught in Zipper


The common-sense way is to not absent-mindedly pull your zipper closed. This attitude is not good as that leaves lots of room for the loose fabric to get to the zipper. Wearing very loose clothing also has a tendency to get stuck.

Try to control the loose fabric so that it does not get close to the zipper tracks. Next, do not be in a rush. When a person is in a hurry they tend to zip up their clothes in a haphazard manner throwing caution to the wind.

That situation is probably the most common fabric caught in the zipper problem. You are not paying attention to what you are doing or where your clothes are at and before you know it, your fabric is stopping the zipper from closing.

Always take your time around zippers and stay focused on what you are doing. A caught zipper takes more time to unclog making you even later than you thought you would be.

Those are the common sense ways to avoid getting your fabric caught in your zipper. Keeping the zipper track lubricated is another way. This can be done in your spare time and it doesn’t take that long to lubricate a zipper track.

How to Get a Backpack Zipper Unstuck


It is just not backpacks that have zipper issues. Tents can have their zippers get stuck on fabric just as easily. The solutions for both are pretty similar The first one to try is your razor blade.

Since you are not at home, you may have a blade packed with you or you can easily go to the drug store and get one. Once that is done, just cut the threads so that you do not damage the zipper lining or your backpack or tent.

Next, you can see if any loose clothing or other fabric popped up at the wrong time and got in the way of the zipper. This is more for a backpack as some people tend to overpack their backpacks putting too many clothes too close to the top.

The key to all of this is not to pull too hard on the zipper or the fabric. You do not want to damage either so you need to be patient and take the time needed to unclog the zipper slowly.

Finally, use lubrication if you have it. Paraffin, soap, candle wax are handy lubricants that won’t damage your backpack, tent or fabrics. Avoid using oil as that will smell as well as ruin the fabrics on all items involved.

How do You Get a Zipper Unstuck From a Shoe


The one good aspect about getting a shoe zipper stuck is that if you create a hole in your sock unsticking it, you can hide the hole with your shoe. Despite that piece of good news, getting your shoe zipper stuck can still be very frustrating. Especially when you can’t wear your shoes indoors.

Since fabric and zippers are involved, all the solutions mentioned earlier in this article will work on this problem. You just have to be patient and endure the bending over till the task is done and your zipper, as well as your foot, is free.

How do You Fix a Stuck Uneven Zipper


One of the causes for this is that the zipper teeth have worn out. They do not lock together as they should and you get an uneven zipper fit. Or the teeth have bent in some fashion making sure they do not fit together like they are supposed to.

If the teeth are bent, you can get a nice pair of needle nose pliers that are slim enough to hold the teeth and strong enough to bend them back into shape. If this solution doe snot work long term or the teeth are worn out, you should replace the zipper.

Then there may be something wrong with the slider, the part that brings the teeth together. If this part is broken or damaged you probably have to replace it. There is no way to bend it back into shape once it goes bad.

How to Avoid These Problems

You can take the right steps and avoid getting fabric caught in your zipper. The following preventive steps are several ways to keep your zippers fabric free:

1. Make sure your zippers are kept clean - even a little dirt can cause them to malfunction. A little warm water and soap will do the trick.

2. Keep your zippers lubricated - you do not need to use paraffin, candle wax or soap if you do not want to. There are some special zipper lubricants available that will keep the zippers working well. Windex, olive oil and lip balm also lubricate zippers.

3. Don’t overdo it - opening a zipper is not the time to prove your manhood or show that you are as strong as a man. Take it easy and just gently open your zippers. Too much force may place the fabric in the zipper’s way or cause the zipper to malfunction. Easy does it are good watchwords here.

Ways to Unstick Your Zipper

Sometimes the fabric is not the cause for your zipper’s refusal to move. Dirt is the culprit or the teeth may be uneven and soon. There are many ways to get your zippers working like they should without having to visit a seamstress.

1. WD-40

This is the duck tape of lubricants. It can handle a variety of stuck zipper jobs and make sure the metal is well lubricated so the zipper doesn’t get stuck again.

2. Cooking oil

Only a couple of drops are needed to work the zipper loose. This is a lot like WD 40 except this may not work on rust.

3. Wax crayon

They are made of wax-like candles so their texture will work like candle wax. Just do not overdo it when you rub it on your zipper.

4. Candle wax

A lot like wax crayons and your child won’t get angry if you use this over their wax crayons. Just don’t use your wife’s good candles.

5. Liquid soap

Like cooking oil you only need a couple of drops to help you work the zipper-free. Again do not pour more than a couple of drops on unless you are going to clean the zipper at the same time.

6. Lip Balm

This works and like cooking oil and liquid soap, you won’t need to use a lot.

7. Pencil lead

For best results use on dark-colored metal zippers only. Avoid using this item on light-colored zippers and nylon or plastic ones.

Household Items That Help You Unclog Your Zipper

We have mentioned these items throughout this article but instead of making you go back and finding them, we made this easy to read list instead.

  • Lip balm or chapstick.
  • Bar of soap or liquid soap.
  • ​A pencil.
  • ​Petroleum jelly.
  • Wax candles or wax crayons.
  • Olive or other cooking oils.
  • Dry lubricant spray or a zipper lubricant.
  • Windex or glass cleaner.
  • WD 40

Some Final Words

Getting fabric caught in your zipper is not a fun situation to face, especially when you are in a hurry. If you zip up with caution, that will be the easiest way to avoid this from taking place.

If you happen to forget and move too quickly, there is a problem with your zipper, or you are wearing loose fabric there are many ways to get the fabric out of your zipper and have it move freely again.

Just remember to be patient and proceed with caution.

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