We had a question recently about decreasing friction in a zip, but this is the opposite case: I have a couple of zips that slide down by themselves. Is there anything I can apply to add a bit of friction/stiffness to the mechanism?

One of them is on a bike jersey where the zip used to be a locking type but is damaged (I'm considering replacing the zip if I can't find a solution); the other has always slipped since it was new.

  • I'm guessing that getting fine sand into the zipper is not desired, but I can say based on experience it does a good job at increasing the friction...
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 12, 2022 at 21:03
  • @JonCuster as these are both things that get washed frequently (the one that's not a jersey is a base layer), I doubt it's a long-term solution
    – Chris H
    Jan 12, 2022 at 21:07
  • 1
    too often it seems to me that the sand gets embedded in the plastic of the zipper. May depend a lot on the exact sand. The stuff from down at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is amazingly hard to get rid of.
    – Jon Custer
    Jan 12, 2022 at 21:11
  • Did the (accepted) answer work?
    – Martin F
    Jan 13, 2022 at 17:48
  • 1
    @MartinF pretty well, on the bike jersey which I've tested. I don't know if it would stand up to stuffing the back pockets, but it certainly increased friction. (BTW I tend to test before accepting unless there's a clear right answer that I'd missed before asking)
    – Chris H
    Jan 13, 2022 at 18:02

2 Answers 2


You could try this:

  1. Move the zip slider to the bottom of the zip.

  2. Using some pliers, put the pliers around the slider, so one side of the pliers faces the inside of the garment and one side faces the outside.

  3. Gently squeeze the left side of the slider, then squeeze the right side.

  4. Test the zip. You may have to re-squeeze the slider until the zip functions. Avoid squeezing so hard that you jam or break the slider.

  • While this is still a good approach, on one jersey the zip pull broke before I could get enough friction to be much use. That means I'll have to sew in a new zip, and I'll get a self-locking one
    – Chris H
    Mar 1, 2022 at 11:47

For completeness, especially when the approach in the accepted answer fails (as I commented), another option is to replace the zip with a new self-locking one.

It's the work of a few minutes if you have a sewing machine, and a new zip cost me less than £/$/€2.

  • Recently a friend brought a coat to a repair place and that shop decided not to replace the zip but just the slider. Not sure how often it can be done but in her case it worked. (Opposite problem, slider not sliding part of the time.)
    – Willeke
    Mar 7, 2022 at 18:16
  • @Willeke if it's common zip that can be done. Often on the bigger sizes though.
    – Chris H
    Mar 7, 2022 at 21:15
  • You shouldn't need any sewing to replace it - you should be able to get the new slider on without unstitching if you're careful. Mar 8, 2022 at 9:54
  • @TobySpeight this one had end stops that prevented me getting the old slider off in one piece, so I assumed it would prevent me getting the new one on. It's not the hardest sewing job, but I need the practice as I'm still a novice
    – Chris H
    Mar 8, 2022 at 9:59
  • It's usually possible to twist the teeth enough to get a new slider on, but that can be very fiddly, and doesn't work with some types of zip. I carry a couple of spares in my sewing kit for backpacking, and in an emergency would consider removing the end stops for a field repair, especially if the full fix back home would be to replace the entire zip. I think that zip repair is a whole topic in itself! Mar 8, 2022 at 10:54

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