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How to Clean a Zipper

Posted Saturday, February 04, 2023

How to Clean a Zipper

Cleaning a zipper is important for proper functioning. Although all zippers need cleaning, it’s particularly helpful for those on outdoor equipment. Zippers can easily get jammed with sand, salt and other outside debris.

So, let’s look at the easiest ways to clean a zipper, regardless of what it’s attached to.

Benefits of Cleaning a Zipper

The most obvious benefit of cleaning a zipper is so it works properly. But in turn, this has other benefits:

  • A zipper is more likely to fail before your item does. Cleaning a zipper therefore improves the item’s lifespan.
  • Dirty zippers can get stuck or become misaligned. If nothing else, these issues are just a pain to fix.
  • Expensive items generally still have standard zippers. Keeping them clean means not having to spend loads of money to replace the whole item if they break.

4 Ways to Clean a Zipper

You can use pretty much all of these options on plastic, metal and coil zippers. Be aware, though, that acidic products may tarnish metal zippers. Luckily, there are other options, so just go with one of these if you have a metal zipper.

Option 1: Soap and Water

The first option uses good old dish soap and water. Simply mix boiling water with a few drops of dish soap and rub the zipper with the solution using a toothbrush. Do this when the zipper is closed and open to ensure you get into all the teeth.

This is the easiest and safest option, and you could use it on outdoor equipment, bags, or everyday items. Be aware, though, that you’ll need to rinse the soap off somehow, which will mean getting the item wet.

Option 2: White Vinegar and Water

Alternatively, replace the dish soap with white vinegar. Both products are good for removing sand and salt, but vinegar is useful for items where you can’t use dish soap.

For example, this might be for tent zippers or waterproof equipment that you can’t wash normally. White vinegar doesn’t necessarily need to be rinsed off – the smell will dissipate after an hour or so.

Option 3: Zipper Cleaner

Finally, you could use a zipper cleaner. These products also contain lubricant and are useful for items that you might not be able to get wet or wash. Zipper cleaner is useful for marine fabrics or waterproofs that you might not want to fully wash.

Option 4: Washing Machine

If the zipper is on an item of clothing, throwing it in the washing machine should do the job. Having the zip done up will help the garment retain its shape better. However, the zipper might not get fully cleaned this way, so you might need to clean it first using one of the methods above before washing it properly.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, one of these options should be suitable for the zipper you’re trying to clean. It’s not particularly difficult, but you’ll want to choose a method that’s most suitable for the item rather than the zipper.

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