How to Fix a Backpack Zipper [5 Common Issues!]

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Let’s look at how to fix a backpack zipper (properly!) and get you on your way again

Your backpack is an invaluable accessory to carry around your most important goods. With all the different zippered compartments, keeping your belongings organized and secure should be easy enough.

That said, sometimes zippers break or get stuck, and just for a moment, it feels like a disaster!

Maybe you can’t open or close the backpack, some of the components broke off or are damaged, or perhaps the teeth are bent. Now your belongings aren’t safe anymore.

As you will see, there are several problems that backpack zippers can suffer from, each of which has its own solutions. So let’s look at how to fix a backpack zipper based on issues you may be experiencing.

How to Fix a Backpack Zipper

Common Problems and Solutions

As mentioned, there are several ways your backpack zipper could be broken and, therefore, several ways to fix that zipper. Let’s look at the main issues.

1. Your Zipper is Stuck

One of the most common issues that you might face with a backpack zipper is that it is simply stuck. It doesn’t matter how hard you pull, whether it is stuck open or shut, you just can’t move it. However, there are some simple solutions to this problem.

First, if your backpack zipper is stuck, using a lubricant, such as dish soap, WD40, or lubricating grease, should do the trick. If debris and dirt have built up around the zipper and in the teeth, it could very well get stuck.

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Take a bit of dish soap and dilute it with water. Then take this mixture and apply it to the area where the zipper is stuck, making sure to move and wiggle the zipper as much as possible to loosen it up and work the solution into all the areas.

Another trick is to use a graphite pencil to unstick the zipper, which is done by applying the tip of the pencil up and down the zipper, around where it is stuck, and then try moving the zipper.

If this doesn’t work, you can use a professional lubricant to try and loosen things up.

If this still doesn’t work, try washing the backpack to see if it will remove the debris and get the zippers moving again. If all else fails, you may simply need to replace the zipper as a whole.

2. The Zipper Teeth are Bent

Another problem is that the teeth have bent.

The teeth allow the zipper to freely move up and down the track. If the zipper’s teeth bend over time, it can prevent them from closing. If the teeth cannot close, the zipper will not be able to move. If the zipper teeth are bent, washing the backpack and lubricating the zipper will not help.

Before you try to fix the zipper teeth, ensure that no fabric is getting in the way of the zipper moving. Sometimes there might just be a bit of fabric in the way. However, if fabric in the way is not the cause of the issue, you will have to repair the teeth.

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The solution is to use a pair of needle-nose pliers to try and bend the keys into their proper position. Pliers will allow you to grip the teeth and bend them back into shape. However, be gentle, or you may snap the teeth and break them off.

If this method does not work, your only real solution will be to replace the zipper track and teeth as a whole.

3. The Slider is Broken

The next common issue is that the slider is broken or has fallen off.

The slider is the component that attaches to both of the tracks and pulls the teeth together. It might have broken off, or it might not be properly gripping the teeth. If this is the case, to use your backpack, you will need to replace that slider.

To do this, you will first need to cut off the existing one if it has not already fallen off. The best way to do this is with a zipper replacement kit, ensuring you have all the necessary parts.

If you can’t find a kit, you’ll have to take the slider off yourself, which you can do by moving it to the bottom of the zipper and sliding it off, or simply by cutting it off.

If there is a zipper stopper in place, you will have to cut that off and then sew it back together once the slider has been attached; you won’t be able to attach the new slider if the stop is still there.

To replace a broken slider, you must take a new one that matches the old one, match it with the teeth, and then slide it back on the track.

How to Fix a Backpack Zipper

4. The Zipper Track Has Ripped Off the Fabric

Perhaps the track has ripped away from the fabric, or the stitching has come undone. If this is the case, the solution is simple, especially if the teeth and the slider are in good condition.

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You can take heavy-duty thread, preferably matching the color of the zipper track and the fabric of your backpack, and sew it into place using a sewing needle.

If the zipper track has ripped away from the fabric and is severely damaged, you will need to undo the stitching, remove the old zipper track, and sew a new one into place.

5. The Zipper Pull is Broken

If the zipper pull, the part that you hold and slide, is broken or has fallen off, you must replace it. Zipping up a backpack when this component is missing becomes extremely difficult.

The simple solution is to use a key chain or a paper clip, insert it into the little loop, and use that as the pull.

However, if you don’t like the solution, the other option is to replace the pull with another pull you purchase from a specialty store.

Final Thoughts

These are the five main backpack zipper issues you may be faced with, as well as their solutions.

It’s true that if all fails, you might need to replace the zipper as a whole. But we hope one of the fixes above will work for you!

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