How to Get Rid of Metal Zipper Smell

Metal zippers are considered the classic style for this type of fastener, and are used in jeans and other styles of pants, jackets, tote bags, luggage and other items. They may be fashioned from brass, aluminum, or nickel. Any time you have two pieces of fabric that need to be fastened, a zipper may be used to join them. The metal teeth create a bond that is strong and stable. The device takes its name from the sound it makes when in use, a high-pitch “zip”. This guide will focus on how to get rid of metal zipper smell.


The smell associated with metal zippers is one that many people find quite offensive. It’s the same aroma that occurs when someone handles old coins and is caused by the oxidization of the metal as it runs over the teeth in the zipper device. Some people even report feeling concerned that the stink from the oxidization process will transfer to their hands. They will even go so far as to smell their own hands to see whether this is the case. If you’ve done this, you now know you’re not alone. Who wants to feel as though they are going around meeting people and touching things with smelly hands? It’s not much of a confidence booster.



How to Get Rid of Metal Zipper Smell

1 Soap It Up

Take a bar of soap with an aroma that you particularly like and rub it up and down both sides of the zipper. This solution to the issue of stinky metal zippers should tone down, if not eliminate, the problem.


2 WD40 It

You could try applying some WD40 to the zipper and wiping it down with a clean cloth. This process may remove any residue that may be causing the smell. (If it doesn’t solve the problem, it will make your zipper move smoothly.)


3 Wipe it Down with Vinegar

Use white vinegar and a cloth to clean the zipper. This common household item has deodorizing properties and will not harm the metal. It dries quickly, and you will know in a relatively short time whether you have been successful at conquering the smell beast.


4 Throw it in the Wash

If the smelly zipper is from a new clothing item, throw it in the wash before you wear it for the first time. This step may be enough to get rid of any lingering aroma clinging to the zipper or the fabric. Use your regular laundry soap and fabric softener. Dry it in the dryer and check the zipper by taking a whiff before you put it on. (Don’t let anyone see you do this step, though, unless you really want to explain what the heck you’re doing.)


5 Bust Out the Silicone Spray

Control the zipper odor by dousing the area with a silicone spray. You will have to hit the front and back with it, but this type of product will give you similar results to treating the problem with a spray from a can of WD40.


6 Rub it Down with Rubbing Alcohol

This product will also remove any substances that may be causing the stink. Your zipper should also move more freely after you have finished applying the alcohol. Use a clean cloth to apply to alcohol compound, and don’t forget to clean the back of the zipper as well.


Remove Musty Smell from Metal Zippers

1 Boil Water and Bleach It Out

If you are looking to get the stink out of a bunch of metal zippers bought at a thrift store before using them on  your own clothes, make sure they are good to go by washing them in a solution of boiling water and bleach. Follow up by drying them in a hot dryer. This should result in fresh-smelling metal zippers that are ready for use.


2 Lysol Soak

Try soaking the zippers in a solution of Lysol and water for 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and hang them outside to dry. Letting the fresh air and sunshine get at them should help to get rid of the stank.


Alternatives to Dealing with Smelly Metal Zippers

1 Replace Them with Plastic Ones

If you really can’t stand the thought of dealing with smelly metal zippers for one more second, consider having them replaced with plastic ones when it is practical to do so. Many dry cleaners offer this service, and you can take clothing items to specialized tailoring shops as well. While it may not make a lot of sense to have the zipper on a pair of jeans replaced, you may decide to go ahead and have the work done on a jacket that you wear often.


2 Add Pull Tabs to the Zippers on Purses and Luggage

The idea here is to minimize your hand-to-zipper contact with the metal. If you are one of those people who are uncomfortable at the thought of making contact with the metal in case it is transferring a stinky smell to your hands and that you need to be smelling your hands all the time “just in case,” this solution might help you feel a little bit better. You could also add a decorative tab to a jacket to lower the risk of coming into contact with metal zipper smell.


Published by

Joe Fresh

Joe is an odor combatant, chemistry extraordinaire and all around good guy. He has an over-productive olfactory system with absolutely zero tolerance for unpleasant aromas.

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