It is a truth universally acknowledged that a person who owns an item with a zipper will at some point experience zipper troubles.

From the time my husband broke the pull off his favorite hoodie to the time the airport broke the entire zipper off the front pocket of my new suitcase, we are certainly no strangers to the zipper woes that most people face at some point in their lives.

Image credit: Tomas Sobek via Unsplash

Luckily, not every zipper issue has to be a catastrophe.

Here are 5 tips from Life Hacker for fixing the most common zipper problems:

1. When the zipper is just… stuck

Who hasn’t experienced that moment of dread? It won’t go up, it won’t go down–it caught up some of the surrounding fabric–you’re going to be stuck in these clothes FOREVER?

According to Life Hacker you can fix this really easily.

Grab a graphite pencil and rub the pencil tip on the teeth. Try it again and it should work. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to move on to a lubricant. Windex is good because it’s not oil-based, but you can also use bar soap or lip balm.

Start with the zipper all the way up, and slowly apply the the lubricant to the teeth. Then inch the zipper down some more, reapply, and continue doing that until the zipper comes all the way down. This is especially handy to fix a zipper stuck in the fabric itself.

I’m going to have to remember that one next time.

Here’s a short video, so you don’t forget:

2. When the teeth won’t close or stay closed

So annoying, and actually the main problem I’m having with the zipper I tried to fix from the aforementioned damaged suitcase.

Life Hacker suggests trying option #1 just in case, and if that doesn’t work, looking for teeth that are not straight and fixing them with a pair of pliers–or pinching the slider closer together with the pliers.

Otherwise? It might be time to replace the zipper completely.

They’re not expensive, but you need to be able to sew.

Image credit: Marcus Urbenz via Unsplash

3. When the zipper just won’t stay up

Sadly, Life Hacker suggests that if you want to fix this troublesome issue permanently, you will likely have to rip out the entire zipper and put a new one in.

But they did have a couple of quick tips for a temporary solution to keep your pants up:

The easiest is to slide a key ring through the zipper pull and over your pants button.

This keeps the zipper up in a simple way.

If you’d prefer a little more flexibility, you can also try a rubber band.

I always knew that drawer full of spare rubber bands would come in handy some day.

4. When the slider has broken off

I can’t say I’ve ever experienced this one–except where the whole thing broke off my suitcase, and so I don’t have it to put it back on.

But according to Life Hacker and this YouTube video, it’s super easy to replace:

5. When the zipper pull has broken off

Like I said, we are very familiar with this issue in our house.

Usually we just try to maneuver the empty slider with our fingers–or attach a safety pin.

You can turn a paperclip, a keyring, or even a telephone wire connector into a zipper pull.

Just slide it through the tab on the slider et voila—you have a new zipper pull.

Sure, it’s not exactly the most stylish solution, but at least you’ll be able to get in and out of your clothes.

What can I say? We might be a little bit lazy.

Turns out, we were doing it right all along.

Image credit: Mukesh Jangid via Unsplash

Those are all really useful tips.

To try and fix my suitcase, I found a product that is supposed to fix any zipper, by allowing you to attach a completely new slider without replacing the entire thing, but I think I got the wrong size.

I’m going to have to go try some of these tricks now!

Do you have any useful tips for broken zippers? Let us know in the comments!

Especially if you can help me fix this suitcase…