How To Prevent and Remove Salt Buildup on Your Zipper

How To Prevent and Remove Salt Buildup on Your Zipper
June 8, 2022

Salt accumulation is common on the zippers of dive equipment, boots, tents, and some nautical materials, such as curtains. Zippers need a cleansing from salt accumulation to avoid sticking or corroding. Knowing how to prevent and remove salt buildup on your zipper will keep everything in working order. 


Rinse & Wipe

There are some items you repeatedly use before you consider rinsing them off. But you should be extra cautious when those items have zippers because they become havens for salt buildups. For example, if a pair of your favorite boots feels the wrath of a snowy afternoon, the salt on the streets you’re walking on may damage the zipper.

Rather than taking off your boots and putting them in the closet, bring them to the sink and rinse them off. After a good rinse, wipe them with a clean towel thoroughly. Having a clean cloth is crucial, considering a dirty one could cause further buildup.

Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that your tent zippers are functional after having a rainstorm. There shouldn’t be an issue if you dry them off and lubricate them.

No Storage When It’s Damp

One of the most common sources of salt damage is putting your equipment or apparel away when it is still wet.  Doing this could deteriorate the metal fastener, and mildew could form. The first thing you should do is lay out or hang your wet gear to air dry.

Air drying is a quicker, more effective way to dry your belongings, particularly if you can use compressed air. The compression gun method doesn’t work well on water-resistant items like sleeping bags and tents since it could harm the waterproof coating. Let them dry naturally before putting them back into storage. 


Some folks have a love-hate relationship with vinegar in their food. Why salt and vinegar potato chips satisfy some people’s tastebuds continues to be a mystery. However, we aren’t debating whether consuming vinegar is the best. Instead, we’ll use vinegar and other products to guarantee that salt doesn’t attach itself to your zipper. You can do that by following these steps:

Grab a Toothbrush

Go ahead and grab a toothbrush on its last legs, a bowl, and some vinegar to start. Dip the toothbrush into the vinegar and scrub the zipper lightly and carefully. If you are completely against the idea of vinegar (maybe you hate the way it smells), you can try alternative methods like lemon juice or soda.

Again, dip your brush or cotton swab into the liquid and put it on the zipper. Let the liquid be for a few minutes before wiping it off the zipper. Soda and lemon juice work well because of the acid in each substance.

An Overnight Soak

Many people enjoy soaking in a nice bath to unwind after a long and grueling day. You can give the same treatment to your zippers if salt is beginning to become a problem. Soaking the zipper in a baking soda and vinegar bath works wonders for getting rid of the salt deposit mechanism.

Take another container and add some vinegar and water again, but add a skosh of baking soda to the concoction. Try your best to sink only the zipper into the bowl; otherwise, the material around the zipper might be collateral damage. You can attempt some trial runs in a bowl of water if you’d like to know if it’s possible.

Lubrication Is Your Friend

There isn’t a surefire lubricant you can use for a zipper. Many products will work their magic on improving their performance and removing salt buildup. Anything with wax or silicone is wonderful for loosening stubborn zippers. And you can find either option anywhere from an automotive store to online. You can add it to your new zipper repair kit so that you can handle any zipper snag that comes your way. You must apply the lube at room temperature and clean off any excess that remains after moving the slider back and forth to coat it.

Fresh Water

Sometimes, all you need to clean something is some fresh water. While creating a chemical mixture of vinegar and baking soda has benefits, it may also be unnecessary because clean water is all you need. Follow these steps to cleanse your salt-riddled zipper with some good, old-fashioned, fresh H2O.

Open Sesame

Going only halfway down the fly and scrubbing the fastener doesn’t do much good. The best strategy is to go as far down as possible because this ensures you will clean every bit of the zipper. If needed, use pliers to hold the slider to get into the nooks and crannies of the inner workings. The only thing you need to remember while washing it is to not be too tough, or the zipper might break or slide off the track.

Mind Your Beeswax

Once again, lubrication is your best friend, and beeswax is your new ally. Salt deposits can render your slider useless, causing your zipper to stick. If that’s what you’re experiencing, beeswax or paraffin wax may give it the nudge you need. However, if you don’t want to make a trip to a grocery store, you can try using candle wax or a soap bar instead. Light a scented candle, collect the wax, put it on the zipper, and count your blessings that you freed the fastener at last.

Rinse and Repeat

Ideally, the salt will not withstand its battle with the fresh water and will dissolve away to loosen your zipper. Using warm water gives you a better chance of accomplishing this feat, especially if you submerge it. You can also try another soft-bristled brush as you scrub and rinse simultaneously. With all the scrubbing you might endure, maybe you will find the real purpose of buying bulk toothbrushes.

A Sudsy Bucket

The last step of this method requires you to use non-detergent soap and warm water. Once you fill the bucket, add five tablespoons of soap powder and stir until you have a bucket full of suds. This soapy blend should erase the salt buildup from your zipper, relieving your headache from a faulty fastener.

With this guide, you now know how to prevent and remove salt buildup on your zipper, which will come in handy when you face this problem. If there are other zipper issues in your life, please look at FixnZip to handle your concerns. Our zipper sliders work on jackets, tents, boots, backpacks, luggage, and more. If you have any questions about our product, please reach out. We’re glad to help!

How To Prevent and Remove Salt Buildup on Your Zipper
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