How to Get a Zipper Back on Track

We’ve all been there. You’re placing something precious inside your bag, only to zip it up and find the zipper got off its track. Now you have to deal with holding your bag together, and what if your stuff falls out?

Have no fear, as getting a zipper to work again is a pretty easy task. If you’re wondering how to get a zipper back on track, you’ve come to the right place.

How to Get a Zipper Back on Track

So Your Backpack Zipper Came Off on One Side. How Did That Happen?

When you continuously open and close your zipper, it goes through something called normal wear and tear. Over time, one side can get worse and wear out faster than the other side. When the bar that keeps the slider on track wears out, the clamp widens and a space opens up on one side. When that happens, the slider can get disconnected from the side.

Sometimes issues with one track can cause the zipper to stick to the other side, too. The solution to both these issues is to fix the slider’s clamp to get the zipper to slide again.


How to Get a Zipper Back on Track

If the Issue is with the Slider, How Do I Fix it?

If you’re learning how to get a zipper back on track, the issue is likely with the slider. To get started, get a good pair of quality pliers. You’ll need one to fix the slider.

Inspect the Zipper and Tracks, Then Fix the Underlying Issue

As tempting as it is, don’t just blindly go in and start adjusting. The first part of learning how to get a zipper back on track is too closely inspect the track and slider to see what’s wrong. If you’re not observant, you could try to fix the wrong issue. 

For example, both slider edges can widen when they lose some clamping power. Then when the zipper hangs from one side of the track, it looks like one is perfect and the other side needs to be fixed. But if you adjust it like that’s the problem, your zipper won’t get fixed.

Another common problem you’ll find while inspecting the zipper is problems with the track. Sometimes tracks are missing or the teeth are bent. If your track has missing teeth, you’ll need to place a stop before the spot where it gets stuck. That way your slider won’t run over the area with missing teeth.

If your zipper teeth are metal, you can use pliers to straighten any bent teeth. If they’re plastic, you should be able to fix them with just your fingers.

The issue could also be with the stops on the track. When you inspect your zipper, you’ll be able to determine exactly how to get a zipper back on track.

Use Pliers to Widen the Slider

To get the clamping effect, you have to start by widening the slider. Open the sliders with your plier. Then unstitch the closings at the ends to expose the ends of the tracks. Just be very careful on this step, because you could easily break the slider with too much pressure. You could also chip paint off the zipper. 

Put the Tracks Back on the Slider

Once the slider is wide enough, you can put the tracks back on the slider. You can either fix the zipper with your fork or with your hands. We recommend using a fork, as it’s a little bit easier than using your fingers.

Start with the closed side of your backpack. If you’re using a fork, then place the slider on the middle thongs. The other thongs will be inside your backpack, then pull the fork up.

Now that the slider is on both sides, you can make sure the tracks are aligned. Move the zipper up and down to make sure it works, but be careful you don’t run it off the tracks.

Tighten the Sliders

You’re almost done! The final step is to pinch the sliders with your pliers to make them tight. Just be wary you don’t pinch the zipper too hard, or you could end up with a zipper on just one side.

Now that you’ve finished all the steps, run your zipper up and down. If it glides smoothly, you’re done! But if it doesn’t, go back to step 2 and start over. You’ve successfully learned how to get a zipper back on track.

Tighten the Sliders

Some Tips on Fixing a Zipper that Came Off on One Side

Need some quick tips on how to get a zipper back on track? Here are 3 more tips to help you in a bind:

Add Lubricants to the Zipper Teeth

Sometimes all your zipper needs is a little lubricant to run smoothly. Luckily, you don’t need to buy anything fancy for this. You can use anything handy that’ll work, such as petroleum jelly, chapstick, lotion, or even coconut oil if you have it on you.

Moderately apply your lubricant so that it doesn’t get all over your backpack. You wouldn’t want to stain the material, would you? Some lubricants can even stain the zipper, so just apply a little bit at a time until it starts to glide easily.

Don’t Use Your Teeth No Matter What

When you’re learning how to get a zipper back on track, it can seem like a good idea to use your teeth. Please don’t do that. You won’t know how much you’re tightening the slider when you use your teeth, and you can even damage the sliders. I won’t even mention the possible damage to your teeth. 

If you don’t have pliers handy, just please be patient until you get your hands on some pliers. You’ll thank me later.

Use Masking Tape

A little-known fact is that you can use masking tape to help thread your zipper up through the bottom of the track. Getting the zipper aligned correctly can be difficult, especially if you have shaky hands. Masking tape can give you a smooth surface which makes it easy to get the slider into the track’s teeth.

To start, simply wrap small pieces of masking tape around the backpack’s tracks. Make sure to leave plenty of room for it to hang off the tracks. Use this smooth area to get the slider onto the track easily.


Use Masking Tape

Final Thoughts

In this day and age, it’s so easy to get a new backpack or handbag if your zipper comes off on one side. But you don’t have to spend money to fix your zipper, you just have to learn how to get a zipper back on track.

All zippers go through normal wear and tear, so you’ll likely need to use this trick at some point. Now that you know how to get a zipper back on track, you can keep your bag around for years to come. Just make sure you have a plier and a fork ready, and you’re good to go!

Some of our good quality bags with zippers are the Mint Apollo 1 Circle Purse and the Black Apollo 1 BFF Backpack. If you need help with a Tote & Carry bag, you can contact our customer service. We always use eco-friendly leather and the highest quality zippers.

How to Get a Zipper Back on Track

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