“Of all things that tax a man’s patience, there’s nothing to compare with a stuck zipper” – Unknown
Does it seem like you are forever struggling with zippers on jackets, tall boots, gear bags, breeches, jeans and paddock boots?
Have you ever wondered, “Why can’t someone make a stronger zipper?”
What we fail to realize until it’s too late is that, like most types of equestrian gear, zippers require regular maintenance to prolong their lives.
The zipper is, without a doubt, the most under-appreciated fastener on today’s equestrian equipment. It is frequently taken for granted until it fails to do its job.
Dirt, sand, grit, and debris will find a way inside and alongside the zipper coils – this will surely do damage. A more common cause of zipper failure is general abuse, such as forcing the zipper open or closed, yanking on the zipper slider or trying to close the zipper when a piece of fabric or thread is on the zipper track. This will result in damage to the zipper teeth and/or the slider.
Purchasing tall boots that are just too tight, with the idea that they will stretch with wear, also puts a strain on zippers.
Regular maintenance and a little respect will keep your zippers in top condition, prevent zipper failure, and can help them last a lifetime.
Following are some tips to enhance the life span of your nylon, plastic or metal zippers.
General Zipper Care Instructions
Keep zippers clean. Use water and a small, soft brush (an old toothbrush works great) to clean between the zipper teeth to remove harmful sand, dirt and salt deposits that lead to zipper jam.
Wipe down and dry zippers naturally, away from artificial heat sources.
Use a zipper cleaner/lubricant to keep your zippers in tip-top shape.
Slow your zipping pace when closing a zipper. Pull your zipper sides together first and then slowly zip up. Never force the zipper. The zipper should close easily.
Always ensure that the zipper tab locks into position at the top with the zipper tab pointing downwards.
Footwear Zipper Care Instructions
Always pull the zipper down completely before placing your foot inside the boot or taking your foot out.
When placing your foot inside the boot, avoid coming in contact with the open zipper or putting pressure on that area. A shoe horn is a great accessory when slipping into tall boots.
Using boot trees is recommended. Boot trees will prevent the shaft of the boot from collapsing thus placing added pressure on the teeth of the zipper. The use of boot trees will also help maintain the overall shape of the shaft.
Boot jacks should be used with caution. Constantly placing pressure on the back of the boot can cause harm to the heel and zipper. Never remove your boots by placing the toe of one boot on the back of the other. This will also cause damage. We suggest removing boots while sitting. Place one hand at the toe of the boot and one hand at the back while gently sliding your foot out of the boot.
Apparel Zipper Care Instructions – Jackets, Breeches, Jeans, etc.
Zip-up all zippers on garments that will be placed in a washing machine. Doing so will prevent the zipper from snagging on other items, harming the teeth of the zipper. This will also prevent your zipper from snagging on and doing damage to other items in the wash.
Tips and Tricks for your Zips:
Nothing can ruin a day at a horse show like a sticky zipper on your boot that won’t close. But before you grab for the electrical tape or run out to spend money on a replacement pair of boots, follow these simple tips to unstick that sticky zipper:
Step 1. Locate the spot where the zipper is getting stuck and pull the zipper back away from this area.
Step 2. Make sure the area is free of dirt and debris.
Step 3. Apply a small amount of Chapstick, candle wax or bar soap to the problem area on both sides of the zipper.
Step 4. Slowly zip the zipper back and forth across the problem area until the zipper is working freely.
Taking care of your zippers will help avoid any future problems and your zippers will give you many years of loyal service and the zipper could even outlast the product it’s attached to!