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Author Topic: Plastic Zipper Care  (Read 10541 times)

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Offline Franklin

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Plastic Zipper Care
« on: June 05, 2008, 08:35:39 PM »
How does one lubricate the zippers to keep them from drying out? I've done several searches and found no topic on this.

I've used liquid dish soap on metal zippers, with good results, but it seems like there should be something a little more durable for the zippers in the camper. I've heard of using candle wax, but I have no idea how to put it on...

Thanks folks!

1976 Homebuilt Tent Trailer - 'Franklin' PUP
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Offline Cowboy Camper

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Plastic Zipper Care
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2008, 09:16:12 PM »
Candle wax, or a bar of soap should work, would it not?

I'll be honest, I don't know. Good question. I'll be keeping an eye on this topic too, cause my new camper has all sorts of plastic zippers. Smile


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Offline Retired Alex

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Plastic Zipper Care
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2008, 09:26:41 PM »
My winter boots have nylon zippers in them and I use silicone spray on them all the time with no ill effects. So I don't think it would harm the zippers on the trailer. I don't know how it would affect the tenting material though. Spray carefully.

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Offline Franklin

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Plastic Zipper Care
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2008, 03:49:56 AM »
Anyone used this product?

http://www.seattlefabrics.com/mcnett.htm#Zip%20Tech

A google search provided lots of hits, guess I sort of expected to find it here first... lol.. It looks like there is a variety of products out there for just this purpose. :)

1976 Homebuilt Tent Trailer - 'Franklin' PUP
1993 Chysler AWD Voyager - 'Fluffernutter' TV
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Offline Slack

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Plastic Zipper Care
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2008, 06:34:17 AM »
Quote
How does one lubricate the zippers to keep them from drying out? I've done several searches and found no topic on this.

Just take a candle and rub it back and forth a few times with moderate pressure against the teeth all the way along  both sides of the zipper.  Works great for any zipper.  Been using it for years.  Cheap and effective.


Offline Yellowkayak

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Plastic Zipper Care
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2008, 09:07:30 AM »
Silicon spray also!!!

JJ

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Offline traindude

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Plastic Zipper Care
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2008, 12:45:47 PM »
I took axle grease and rub it on to my zipper seems to work .

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Offline Cowboy Camper

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Plastic Zipper Care
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2008, 12:56:25 PM »
Ain't that a little messy, Sir? How do you keep the excess off the actual canvas?


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Edited by - Cowboy Camper on June 08 2008  12:56:56

Offline 01YZF6

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Plastic Zipper Care
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2008, 04:20:26 PM »
I used a block of carnuba wax to rub over the zippers, works really well

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Offline Tekboy46

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Plastic Zipper Care
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2008, 12:30:56 AM »
Agree on candle wax. Jar candle wax from almost used up jar candles can be molded into a small lump and rubbed on. I rub it onto the closed zippers; they're smooth running then. It doesn't bother the fabric if you're careful putting it on. Jar candle wax has a higher oil content than taper candles and is easier to smooth onto the zipper.

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Offline srds

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Plastic Zipper Care
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2008, 12:32:49 AM »
Candle wax

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Offline Franklin

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Plastic Zipper Care
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2008, 08:23:45 PM »
I used an 'emergency' candle from last years jack-o-lanterns. Worked great, thanks folks!

1976 Homebuilt Tent Trailer - 'Franklin' PUP
1993 Chysler AWD Voyager - 'Fluffernutter' TV
1985 Olds Custom Cruiser Woody Wagon - 'Brady' TV #2

Offline Dusty82

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Plastic Zipper Care
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2008, 05:23:04 PM »
As I've mentioned before, I'm into automotive upholstery, with a bit of marine upholstery on the side. Candle wax or paraffin is the preferred lubricant for metal zippers, and has been used by upholsterers for decades. As everyone else has mentioned before, just rub the candle or block of paraffin along the front and side edges of the open zipper to apply a thin coat of the wax, then slide the zipper slide back and forth over the waxed area a few times to lube up the slide. You don't need to cake the wax on there, just apply a little bit. Doing this regularly will keep the zippers in tip-top shape, and help to keep them from splitting due to corrosion.

I'm not very experienced with the newer plastic zippers, but I will ask a buddy of mine about them - he's been doing upholstery for 35 years, so when he talks, I listen.

One thing I do know, however, is that axle grease or any other kind of lubricant that doesn't dry fairly quickly is the wrong thing to use. It'll lube it up alright, but it'll also attract and trap dust and debris in the zipper that will wear it out a lot faster than usual (just like dust and dirt will eat up wheel bearings if you don't put  the dust cap back on.) A dry lubricant like wax is better in the long run, and it won't soak through or damage the canvas like a petroleum-based lube will.

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Offline Dusty82

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Plastic Zipper Care
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2008, 03:50:03 PM »
I heard back from my buddy and upholstery guru just a few minutes ago, and here's his reply...

"The plastic zippers don't usually need any lubrication, but there are products out there to clean and lubricate all types of zippers including plastic ones. Check this web site Zipper & Snap Lubricant They have all kinds of zipper cleaners and lubricants. I think the main thing is just to keep the zipper clean. That should eliminate most problems. I'm assuming the zipper is a marine zipper size 5 or 10 with larger teeth. The smaller plastic zippers are worthless as far as I'm concerned, I wouldn't use them on anything."

As I mentioned before, this man (Dan) had been doing upholstery for 35 years (to include some extremely high-end custom hot rod interiors) so I value his opinion, and take his word as gold. His opinion of smaller plastic zippers aside (we're kind of stuck with what the manufacturers decide to use when building our PUPs) I would personally follow his recommendation.

Franklin - it looks like the site and product you found is the same one Dan recommended to me, so it looks like you're on the right track.  I'm going to try some of that Zip Tech on the metal zippers on our Patriot just to see how it works. Film at 11...

Dusty

PUP: 1975 Coleman Patriot

Pictures here: http://s278.photobucket.com/albums/kk116/dustyspup/

TV: 2004 Jeep Liberty

I'm so new, I don't even know enough to know what I don't know...
Currently Pupless

2004 Jeep Liberty - "Ol' Broad" 1995 Chevy Silverado - "The Truck"

Offline drrusk

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Plastic Zipper Care
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2008, 11:36:03 PM »
I know for our Jeep window zippers, using a wax crayon works pretty well in a pinch!  Easy to grip and apply directly to the zipper.

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