Zipper care.

I have several zippers that are stuck due to their exposure to saltwater . What is the best way to try and get the zipper unstuck ? Also, is there some preventive maintenance that can be done to prevent this problem?


Easy habits
First, always rinse zippers every time you finish a paddle in salt water. It’s not a bad idea for the garment as well - regular use of a garden hose or your shower will stay in front of much of the problem.

Second, up your schedule for using stuff like McNett zipper wax or whatever other zipper cleaner and lubricator you’d like. Do it much more often in salt water use than you’d bother in fresh water.

Old fashion way
Used to be to run a lead pencil up and down it.

New fashioned way is to use some dry lube.

As the poster above said; wash it in fresh water every so often.



getting unstuck
Soak the zipper in white vinegar for a time, then use a pair of pliers to grab the slider part of the zipper (not the pull tab 'cause you can easily break it off) and twist it about abit to free it up. I wish I could find something that would prevent zippers from crusting up with oxidation, but haven’t had much success so far. Cheers---------

I’ve been using bees wax
once a year and it seems to work very well.

someone mentioned chapstick

I had a dickens of a time getting hubby out of his drysuit today. Somehow it zipped on a little balky but would not unzip without a team effort… and baby it was cold.

Fortunately the relief zipper worked OK.

Hot water may work better…
…if the issue is just salt encrustation. If the zipper is corroded, vinegar will help. Once it’s free, lube it with wax (paraffin or bee’s wax) or a specialty zipper lube.

Once a year not enough
Sounds like a bad joke I know, but once a week isn’t too frequent to treat zippers that get exposed to salt water.

chapstick not recommended
Although someone posted here that is what they use, I don’t recommend the use of chapstick for regular use. Anything in a pinch but best to use either zip wax or parrafin or beeswax. Pure beeswax candles will work but much cheaper to get a block of beeswax at the hardware store.

I second Celia on “once a year isn’t enough”!

On most products the zipper is one of the more expensive things to repair, replace or fix and it is best to keep it in working order by regular rinsing and care.


By offering a heavier coating, I wonder if paraffin or beeswax might also prevent some salt-water infiltration and oxidation of the metal zipper teeth, perhaps more than the lightweight synthetic zipper-care products?

Here in the freshwater Great Lakes region, periodic cleaning and lubing are usually sufficient.