We see all types of zipper problems here at Rainy Pass Repair, and zipper corrosion is one problem that you can easily prevent. Here are some tips to keep your zippers fresh and clean, and keep you out there doing the things that you love to do.

Zipper corrosion occurs when the metal parts of a zipper are exposed to salt water or other elements, causing the metal to corrode and break down. This problem can affect other metal parts such as snaps and fastener hardware too.

Most garments and bags that are made for use in marine environments will have either plastic zipper parts or are made of stainless steel. If you are buying a garment or gear that you will use on or near salt water, always check that the metal components are made to withstand the elements. When exposed to salt water or air for long periods of time, untreated metal parts will get a green, flaky coating, and this can cause the parts to break down and fall apart completely.

Unfortunately, the only way to repair corroded zippers is to replace the slider or in some cases the entire zipper. This can be expensive, but there are several ways to prevent zipper corrosion:

  • Rinse zippers with fresh water after being exposed to salt water or salt air.
  • Treat your zippers frequently with a zipper lubricant such as McNett Zip Tech
  • Use soap or candlewax to lubricate the zippers before you go to a salty environment (keep in mind that wax can attract dirt so you will still need to rinse or wipe your zipper off to prevent wear.)
  • If zippers or other metal parts show signs of corrosion, clean with white vinegar and an old toothbrush.
  • Select gear for marine adventures that has plastic or stainless steel parts.

Here are some photos to help you identify corroded zipper:


zip corros pack corroded zip box