The Simple Hack That Can Help Fix A Stuck Zipper In A Pinch

One thing that clothing, pillowcases, backpacks, and purses often have in common is a zipper in a bad mood. When you're about to dash out the door, a stuck zipper is a frustrating experience of twisting, pushing, and pulling to no avail. The first thing to check is whether or not a rogue piece of fabric is caught under the zipper pull. If not, a simple hack can help you solve the problem: Just grab a pencil and use its eraser to help unstick those zipper teeth in a pinch.

An advantage of taking everyday objects and reusing them in unusual ways is that you can solve a problem quickly, saving time and money. Old-fashioned pencils don't usually make it onto lists of home office must-haves these days, but they're still useful. It turns out pencil erasers contain softeners made of vegetable oil that prevent us from ripping the paper we're erasing, and that lubricating quality can also help loosen zipper teeth. Erasers also contain abrasives meant to disrupt pencil marks, and those work to move around micro amounts of grime or buildup that can accumulate on zippers. 

How to unstick your zipper with an eraser

Pencils are perfect for a zipper emergency, especially since the only clean-up is blowing away eraser residue. After you've made sure the culprit isn't stuck fabric or warped teeth, rub your pencil eraser over the teeth on both sides of the zipper pull. Try to move the zipper and, if it's still stuck, use the eraser again. If there's a misaligned tooth, a pair of pliers can restore its position, but if several teeth are warped or missing, it could be time to replace the whole thing.

If you've tried the eraser hack and your zipper is extremely reluctant, consider adding a bit more lubricant firepower. You might want to protect your clothing or fabric with towels on either side of the zipper. You could sprinkle the teeth with baby powder or talc to get them to cooperate, or get a Q-Tip from the bathroom, dip it in petroleum jelly or a lip balm with a similar texture, and carefully swab just the zipper teeth. As long as you're careful not to embed wax into your clothing, a candle can also help you fix a stuck zipper