Despite the zipper's long history (a little more than a century), problems as common as a stuck zipper remain well into the digital age. That might change sooner than we expect: Rumor has it that the trusty old zipper is going to get a modern twist. But until that arrives, what do you with a zipper that won't budge?
1. Rub graphite or soap when your zipper refuses to come down. A very common malady with zippers is them getting caught on something, like your shirt, perhaps when you are zipping a jacket. There's no getting around it until you get the teeth unstuck. For metal zipper teeth, rubbing a pencil tip lubricates them so you can move the zipper a tooth at a time. For nylon zipper teeth, bar soaps work better. Others risk using crayon and lip balm with equal effectiveness.
2. Hold up the zipper that keeps coming down with a key ring. Unless you get crafty and think outside the box, you would need to fully replace the zipper that has lost its staying-in-place power. If the zipper keeps sliding down, attach a key ring - or rubber band if that's all you have - on the slider and hook it up to the pants button. This is understandably a quick fix, with the more permanent remedy of altogether changing the zipper to avoid unwanted embarrassment.
3. Replace a broken zipper pull with a paper clip, a key ring and yes, even a rubber band. For the easiest fix to the easiest zipper problem, hooking up any of the three - and virtually anything that you can get through the hole of the zipper pull - beats prodding the zipper to come up and down with bare hands. Your quick fix may not look the most stylish, but at least you get the zipper to work until you are able to properly replace the entire thing.
4. Close crooked zipper teeth with a pair of pliers. Depending on what keeps the zipper popping open (really a hassle when you need to keep things from spilling out), you can either apply graphite or a bar of soap to smooth out the teeth after you make sure that nothing is stuck in between. If the zippers won't close because a tooth is sticking out, move this back into place with a pair of pliers so they become straight and allow the zipper to run. The same tool can be used to tighten a loosened slider that usually comes off when the seams are bulging at the edges. Make sure that the slider catches the teeth again. If it does but the entire zipper refuses to run perhaps because of missing teeth, have the zipper replaced altogether.