Follow This 3-Step Process to Fix the Zipper on Your Backpack

updated Aug 15, 2023
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School is back in session for many, and students are getting their pencils sharpened and dusting off their backpacks from storage. But what if you took your backpack out from the back of the closet and noticed the zipper didn’t quite work? It came off on one side of the track back in June, but you figured that was a “future you” problem. Well, future you, we’ve got now-you covered. Here’s how to fix a backpack zipper.

What you’ll need:

Step 1: Grab your pliers 

If your zipper came off on one side of the track, you’ll need pliers to wrestle it back into place. That means you can potentially scratch the zipper or chip some of its paint, but this tool is your best bet to get your bag back into working order. You also want to handle it gently, as too much pressure can break the zipper. According to UCAN Zippers, once you have your pliers in hand, move the zipper towards the middle of the track and put the tip of your pliers into the side of the slider where the track should be but came undone. Gently close the pliers, but don’t pinch them. Without closing them too tight, use them as a lever to gently open up the slider to the right (or wherever the track isn’t), widening the bottom opening. Do this to both sides of the slider.

Step 2: Reattach the track

You want to keep widening the slider until the opening is noticeably bigger. This has the potential to break the zipper, so do it slowly and gently. Once you’ve worked the opening, grab the other side of the zipper, and slowly work it back onto the slider. Using some force, put it through the opening of the slider and then pull it through and up, trying to get it re-attached.

Step 3: Pinch the slider closed

Once you get the slider back on both sides of the chain, pull the zipper back down to the closed side of the bag. Take needle nose pliers and gently pinch the slider closed, putting the pincers on the back and front of the opening. You don’t want to use too much force since you don’t want to make the slider too tight, but you want to close the opening that you made bigger. Try pinching each side twice, and then testing the zipper to see if it’s still too loose or too tight. If the teeth reengage, you’re done!

Once your backpack is fixed and ready to use, you might want to go the extra mile and get it cleaned up, whether by hand or in a washer, especially if it has been sitting in storage up until now.