Zip Care and Repair

Damaged zips are one of the leading causes of product failure and can potentially spell disaster; being mid-way up a major alpine face or far from home is no time to discover that your jacket wont close. An understanding of how these often overlooked components work combined with the appropriate aftercare will ensure that they keep functioning when you need them most.

Operating Zips

When using open-ended zips (i.e. one which opens entirely, for example a jacket’s centre-front zip) make sure when joining them that the slider is positioned snugly against the box, and only then insert the pin, making sure it is fully in before moving the slider. Never twist the bottom of an open-ended zip as it’s easy to damage the components.

When closing:
1) Make sure the slider is positioned next to the box.
2) Completely insert the pin into the box end.
3) Pull up the slider.

When Opening:
1) Pull the slider closely to the open parts.
2) Draw the separable pin out.

Don't Force it
We see plenty of returned products where zips have clearly been forced and it’s made a minor problem into a terminal failure.
- If a pack is too full, don’t try to exert force with the zip. Instead, reduce the amount of kit behind the zip or use two hands to pull the fabric together.
- If your zip catches on something then reverse the zip slider and try to remove the offending object, rather than yanking on the zip until something gives.
- Keep stuff that might snag in a zip out of the way. We see plenty of returned zips where hair has got caught in the slider and has then been torn out. Ouch, for both your head and the zip.

Maintaining Zips

Keeping zips clean
One of the leading causes of zip failure is dirt contaminating them. Fine sand or grit can get into the teeth or moving parts of a zip and can quite quickly wear them out. If your zip is dirty or you’ve been using it in a dusty or gritty environment then clean it with a damp soapy cloth. Machine washing a product will take care of zip cleaning, but if you’re using a garment somewhere particularly gritty then consider cleaning the zips more frequently than you would clean the whole garment. For backpacks which cannot be machine washed, ensure you clean the zips occasionally.

Zip lubrication
If your zip is clean but has become stiff then it may require lubricating. We recommend using a product such as Gear Aid Zipper Lubricant, McNETT Zip Care or Zipper Stick. Alternatively natural products such as Beeswax can also be used.

When washing products
When washing products which have zips, have all zips fully fastened. Stresses during washing on a partly-fastened zip can damage or even tear teeth from a zip.

Repairing Zips

It’s usually impossible to repair individual parts of a zip, but replacing them is often possible. A damaged zip slider can be replaced. Missing teeth on an Aquaguard®️ or Vislon zip cannot be replaced individually and so the whole zip must be replaced. On a waterproof or down insulated product this is relatively involved but on other products it is easier. Replacing the zips on a pocket might actually be more difficult than replacing the centre front zip. Please contact us for more information on what can and can’t be repaired.