APS - Annapolis Performance Sailing


How to Clean and Lubricate a Sailing Dry Suit Zipper

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Proper zipper maintenance for your dry suit will extend life and quality of the suit.

We will show you how to:

  • Lubricate a zipper
  • Clean a zipper

Zipper Types

There are two basic types of waterproof sippers used on sailing dry suits.  The brass tooth zipper (or gas zipper) has been around for over 50+ years and is hard wearing, but not a flexible as a plastic zipper.  The T-Zip plastic tooth waterproof zipper is flexible and lightweight but has been known to very occasionally pop open if it is not kept clean and lubricated.

Zipper Lubricationsailing dry suit zipper care

Waterproof zippers should be lubricated periodically or any time the zipper becomes more difficult to operate.  For occasional lubricating throughout the sailing season, use a non-silicon based lubricant like Zip Tech.  It is important to push the lubricant into the teeth on both sides of the zipper.  For a T-Zips you especially need to lubricate the area (both sides) at the very end of the zipper where the zipper car rests when closed.  Once the zipper is lubricated, run the zipper car back and forth a few times to distribute the lubricant.  Then with a rag, wipe away any excess.

Zipper Cleaning

dry suit zipper cleaningIf you are sailing in dirty water or launching from a sandy area, grit, dirt, and sand can get into the teeth of your zipper and cause it to become difficult to operate lead to premature failure.  Using a product like Zip Care you can brush contaminants out from between the teeth (both inside and out).  Bending the zipper slightly will open the teeth in areas that are heavily contaminated.  After all is cleaned out, pop the top and squeeze the liquid lubricant into the teeth.  Wipe the excess away with a cloth.  Run the zipper car up and down the length of the zipper to further distribute the lubricant.  Note, this liquid lubricant is lightweight.  When the zipper needs further lubrication later in the season, switch back to a paste type lubricant like Zip Tech.


Make sure your zipper is completely open with getting in or out of your drysuit so teeth are no damaged from the zipper car.

Dry suits should be stored in a clean, dark and dry place.  Metal zippers should be closed most of the way with the zipper car about 2” from the end.  Plastic sippers should be stored completely closed.

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