Almost as accustomed as we are to the use of zippers in clothing, both clothing and luggage accessories (suitcases, backpacks, bags) and even footwear, we are also accustomed to the problems they cause after a certain time of use.
A simple trick to remove wax from the most difficult surfaces
One of the most common of those problems is the zipper getting stuck. To make matters worse, we often discover it when we have little time, precisely because we were about to use the garment or product in question. How to fix it?
Sometimes it is a simple task. When it is visible that a piece of fabric, some threads or some other foreign element has been trapped between its teeth that prevents the correct closing, the following procedure usually works: with one hand the zipper is slowly opened, while with the other the zipper is extracted. obstacle.
But in other cases sometimes the task is more complicated. The zipper locks without any anomaly being observed with the naked eye. In these situations, it is advisable not to use much more force than normal, because you run the risk of not only not solving the problem, but also aggravating it.
What to do then? Act calmly and carefully to avoid further damage. And keep in mind the operating principle of the zipper: the two rows of plastic or metal teeth adjust one to the other thanks to the action of a sliding piece, called a carriage.
If the carriage won't move forward or moves with difficulty, it's usually because some small obstacle has become lodged between the teeth, although sometimes the problem is a simple accumulation of dust and dirt on their surfaces. The best way to get them out of the way is with the help of some lubricating substance.
Fortunately, no special materials are needed to lubricate the zipper. Many commonly used items, present in most homes, can perfectly fulfill this function: soap, candle or crayon wax, lip balm, Vaseline or even the tip of a graphite pencil are some examples.
The procedure is simple. It involves rubbing the lubricating material on the zipper teeth in the area where it is stuck (being careful not to dirty –or do it as little as possible– the surrounding fabric), so that the substance enters the zipper teeth. interstices and may contribute to the movement of the carriage.
Then you have to take the handle of the car and move it slowly but firmly towards the area where the lubricant has been applied, and there repeat the movement in both directions to help the substance to be well distributed.
In most cases, you will notice how the displacement becomes smoother and more harmonious. On many occasions, beyond the fact that the zipper gets stuck at a specific point, dust and dirt have been accumulating on your teeth for some time.
Therefore, if there is a sufficient amount of lubricant, it should be applied not only in the area where the problem occurred, but in its entirety. In this way, future problems can be prevented, which, as we have mentioned, very often occur when we are about to wear the garments.
Another possible lubricant is oil. It can be olive, coconut, multipurpose or other kinds. It offers the advantage that, being liquid, it slides much more easily into the gaps in the zipper, and is therefore more effective. It is valuable in cases where the zipper is very stuck or has a lot of dirt.
But oil also has a negative aspect: precisely because of its liquid nature, there is a greater risk of staining the fabric and other surfaces near the zipper on the garment or accessory. And it is known that oil stains are very difficult to remove. Also in this way the attempt to solve a problem could generate a bigger one.
The most appropriate way to apply the oil, in any case, is by means of a swab, a dropper or some other device that allows the fluid to be poured in small quantities and, in this way, prevent unpleasantness.
For more difficult cases, where the rack carriage is so stuck that it cannot be moved, the recommendation is to use a pencil. Graphite – the material pencil lead is made of – is a dry lubricant that comes in handy in these situations.
The tip of the pencil should be inserted into the small holes in the car, so that the lead reaches the teeth of the zipper, as if you wanted to write or paint on them. The graphite will settle there, and then – as with previous lubricants – force must be applied to move the carriage, slowly and steadily.
If it doesn't release completely but at least partially gives way, a new dose of graphite will probably help the clog to finish clearing. Using a pencil can also be very handy when a zipper tooth gets caught inside the carriage.
Also in this case, as in the previous ones, after fixing the zipper it is essential to clean it very carefully so that the traces of graphite – an almost invisible dust that can cause stains – do not dirty the fabric of the garment.
In general, these are the most common home methods to fix a stuck zipper. If none of these remedies work, you will most likely need to go to a tailor or other clothing repair specialist to fix the problem.
For the rest, it is always important to consider the option of repairing clothes or accessories before discarding them or deciding to buy others. The cost of repairing a zipper is, of course, much lower than that of a new product.
And furthermore, extending the useful life of the things we use has benefits not only for our pockets, but also contributes to generating less waste and, therefore, to caring for the environment.
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