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topic 32107

Fixing a Zipper Frozen by Salt Spray



I am having great difficulty dissolving crystallized salt spray from the inside of the zippers of my boat bimini top. The zip-in side curtains have never been used and, therefore, have six years worth of weathering. The zipper itself is plastic and in fine condition, but the zipper "pull" is metal and "seized" from the salt air/spray.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Richard Garnett
Personal/Boater - Jackson, New Jersey

similarly (2004)

I have a frozen zipper as well, corroded by sea salt. How does one fix this?


Curt Dommeyer
- Manhattan Beach, California



Please try WD-40 [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] gentlemen. If it's aluminum and WD-40 doesn't make it functional, I think you have little hope. Actually, Richard, you are not seeing crystallized salt. Salt is instantly soluble in water.

Most likely it is aluminum corrosion products that look a lot like dried salt. Once the original lubricants are gone, if the aluminum starts corroding into voluminous corrosion products, the corroded parts are actually bigger than the raw parts so they don't fit anymore.

Good luck.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

February 18, 2008

For those of you who want to repair corroded delrin type and/or metal zippers, try dilute Muriatic Acid [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] (approx. 10 parts water to 1 part muriatic acid). Make sure to wear rubber protective gloves [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] and protective eye-ware (goggles [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]) and apply with a soft-bristle tooth brush ONLY to the zipper. Avoid any cloth material because the acid will degrade that material pretty quickly. You'll probably see some reaction on the heavily mineralized portions of the zipper, but keep applying until the zipper is freed up.

I live in one of the most corrosive environments in the world and all of zippers eventually fall prey to corrosion, but this technique does work. Two rules, be patient and protect your skin and eyes. Muriatic acid is potent stuff, so make sure to dilute it. As well, remember your Chemistry 101 basics and always pour the 1 part acid INTO the 10 parts of water. Good Luck.

Dan Harding
- Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

July 31, 2009

WD-40 [linked by editor to product info at Amazon]and heat gun or hair dryer. Worked great THANK YOU! ! !

Ron Brown
- Redondo Beach, California

May 30, 2015

thumbs up signGreat results! I read all the above responses, and started experimenting on my husbands dive equipment bag that had every zipper solidly frozen.

I used water, a tooth brush, and all had was apple cider vinegar, but I have it a shot. I first used water to dissolve as much as possible right around the metal zipper pulls on the plastic zipper. I used a pin to take off chunks. I then poured the vinegar around the areas. I just hoped for the best while expecting little while waiting as one response had said--overnight.

My husband approached me when I least expected it, saying that all zippers now opened easily! No WD40 needed, which he had not wanted due to the oily nature.

The water and vinegar solved the problem amazingly!!! I probably would have cut the bag to get the equipment and bought a new bag had it not been for this site!

Linda Simpson
- Laguna Beach, California

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