Can you help me with my zipper?

I’ve got a little soft sided cooler with half a dozen built in pouches and pockets.

My wife used it last for a day at the beach last month and when I pulled it out this week for an overnite canoe trip a bunch of the zippers were froze up.

I got enough unstuck to use it and this evening with a little judicious use of WD40 and cuss words they are now all functioning fine, another month on the shelf though and I might have been tossing it.

Was thinking of using some high wax lip balm, or as I write this I thought maybe rubbing a candle on the teeth, to help prevent corrosion?

Is their some product for this purpose?

Would be easier to hunt a buffalo and make my own tallow candles for the pirpose than convince my wife to thoroughly rinse everything after a trip to the beach so other than that I’m open to suggestions.

Sand jammed in the teetth?
I don’t know if you can fix that.

If it was just zipped badly, sometimes you can free it by holding one side taut while trying to slide the zipper tag. Is it a self-repairing (coil) zipper or an old school toothed type?

Toothed zippers
The pulls corroded like old battery terminals. Salt air and pot metal are a bad mix. Salt water on the hands while reaching for a drink, even condensation with a little beach sand will do the trick.

A problem you probably do not encounter often above 3,000 feet

Bees rather than buffalo

– Last Updated: Aug-06-15 10:26 PM EST –


I think you're on the right track with the candle or lip balm.

Maybe buy your wife a plastic cooler?

I’ve had good luck with silicone spray especially the silicone sold in dive shops for wetsuit zippers…

She has her cooler
And I have OUR cooler

I probably have a can of that laying around from lubing go kart chains.

I was worried about wax trapping sand and causing a jam but we used silicone on the go carts because it wouldn’t make sand stick.


I was hoping you were a female…
I would be glad to help you with your zipper!

Jack L

I’ve had the same issue with duffles…
…and gear bags that I use for kayaking. Often, a combination of treatments with hot water, vinegar and a thin lubricant (silicone, LPS, WD-40, etc.) will free them, but if they’re really corroded, nothing will work. As mentioned above, pot metal will always corrode badly when exposes to salt water or even salt air.

The only sure-fire solution I’ve found is to buy bags with zippers with either plastic or stainless steel pulls. They don’t corrode.

I’m not sure how I would handle that question at the put-in.

Jack beat me to it.

McNett Zip Tech
no Vaseline. No petroleum products

no wax. No candle stubs.

no soap

No lip balm/Chapstick etc

they all attract dirt/sand/grit which sets you up for more jams.

McNett’s Zip Tech. All you’ll ever need. It’s a kit that will last a season+ under normal use.