How to fix sticky drawers

How to fix sticky drawers

We have a lot of antique furniture in our home, including some really nice sideboards. This one in particular needs a bit of love, but it’s about 120 years old, and I’ve been using it for the last 34 years-ish, so I’d say it’s hanging in there pretty well. 🙂 It’s funny because I’ve always known about this trick for dealing with stubborn, sticky drawers, but for some reason, we just kept fussing with the drawers for years, pushing and pulling them back and forth every time we tried to open them to get them to go back in place properly. Finally, a few weeks ago, I added this little two-minute task to my to-do list on a different dresser, and of course, BAM, it worked like a charm. Problems with dresser drawers solved! If you have sticky, fussy drawers on some of your antique dressers, here’s how to fix that!

How to fix sticky drawers

First, start with a dresser that’s slowly driving you just a little bit crazy. Like I said, this dresser needs a bit of attention, but with the drawers now unstuck, at least it’s perfectly functional! Except for that broken handle that I need to repair!

… And the same goes for this corner of the room. 🙂 You can see we ripped the old baseboard heater off the wall when we installed the new flooring in here recently and we haven’t re-painted or put the new trim in yet. Oh, and you can see the reflection of the drywall on the other side of the room. But it’s functional!

So take a candle. Make sure it’s one that you aren’t too in love with. Bonus points if it’s a scented candle.

Pull out each sticky drawer, one by one and rub the side of the candle onto the bottom edges of the drawer, the parts that make contact with the dresser when you’re sliding the drawer in or out. You’ll probably want to get the bottom as well as the sides of the drawer if your drawer fits into your dresser really tightly.

How to fix sticky drawers

If you don’t want to scratch up the sides of your candle, try using the wax from the bottom rather than the side. You’ll probably still get a few marks, but they won’t be quite so noticeable. I only used the side because I thought this was the way to get the best wax distribution.

How to fix sticky drawers

Put the drawers back.

If you used a scented candle, your room will smell nice and fresh for the next few days! Game!

The candle wax covers the drawers and allows them to slide really effectively without rubbing. It’s amazing how often in life it turns out that the best solutions are the simplest!

If you have sticky drawers, do yourself a favor and try this trick now!


Introduction: Fix the attached wooden drawers

How to fix sticky drawers

How to fix sticky drawers

How to fix sticky drawers

Old wooden dressers do not have modern hinges. Sometimes it can be difficult to open and close them freely. The drawers can be tied and glued. It’s a really easy way that will save you a lot of frustration every time you use a dresser. I’ve applied it to all my wooden sideboards and it works great!

Just a piece of candle wax or a bar of soap. I like to use white candle wax as it is not noticeable once applied.

Step 1: Steps

  • Completely remove the drawer protruding from the dresser.
  • Prendi una wax o un sapone e strofinalo nella "guida" su cui scorre il cassetto.
  • Also scrub some wax or soap into the drawer itself, the bottom of which runs over the dresser.
  • Put the drawer back in the dresser and try!
  • Repeat every few months if it starts latching on again.


Here is a short video of the whole process and it shows how well the drawer slides.

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How to fix sticky drawers Vintage artifacts are full of charm, but all of this tradition and workmanship comes at a price. Pre-plastic furniture uses wood-to-wood sliding systems that can easily fall prey to the dangers of age. Normal wear and tear can cause drawer runners to break, rendering the drawer nearly unusable and possibly locking valuables inside.

Why do you need to feed your wooden drawers

Wood doesn’t have a lot of natural lubrication, which is why it can be hard to open some wooden drawers . This is especially true in the summer. Hot, humid summer air can cause the wood to swell slightly, so you may notice more friction and it is more difficult to open drawers. These simple DIY tips will ensure that drawer guides run smoothly all year round.

The benefits of carnauba waxHow to fix sticky drawers

Our carnauba wax is actually a blend of two waxes: carnauba wax and beeswax. Carnauba wax is one of the hardest waxes on the market. Using it on drawer runners helps you slide it without creating a sticky mess or denting the wood itself. Beeswax is much softer and can be sticky when applied on its own, but provides the necessary lubrication. Combined in the right proportions, the two waxes create magic and provide a quick fix for this simple home repair project.

Carnauba wax works so well you can feel the difference: the old untreated dresser drawer vibrates and shakes when you pull it out, while the carnauba wax-soaked drawer is silent. You’ll also reap the benefit of added protection. Apply the wax to your wooden furniture and the wax will dry strongly, protecting the item from dings, scrapes and scrapes, improving durability and longevity.

How to apply carnauba wax on a sticky drawer?How to fix sticky drawers

The process is simple:

  • Pull out the adhesive drawer completely.
  • Apply a thin layer of wax with a clean cloth on the sliding guides of the drawer itself and inside the wooden chest of drawers.
  • Let the wax dry.
  • Polish the drawer runners with a cloth or stiff brush to remove excess and ensure even, complete application and absorption *.

* This is a surprisingly crucial step. Too much wax on the drawer runners will leave a sticky residue. Once dry, these residues will make the jammed drawer even firmer than it was before the wax was applied.

If in doubt, choose light layers of wax and reapply as needed – it’s always easier to add more wax than to remove an accidental buildup.

How to fix sticky drawersDepending on how often the drawer is used, it may be necessary to clean the wood – reducing friction and making it easier to move – every 6-12 months.

Over time, the wax wears slowly and is absorbed by the wood, although applying it regularly can help create a more permanent solution. This means that you will have to reapply the wax after a while.

Nightstands rarely touched in a guest bedroom may require little attention, while island drawers in your kitchen often need some TLC. Listen for the scritch-scratch of wax-less wood and be on the lookout for drawers that resist your efforts to open them and you’ll know it’s time to get out your Real Milk Paint Carnauba Wax and get to work.

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If you have dressers, dressing tables, cabinets, or other types of dressers / antique furniture, you may have had a problem with sticky drawers. Using drawer wax, wooden drawer grease, or even bar soap, paraffin or candle wax can be a cure for old drawers that stick. Use and abuse over the years can make opening and closing drawers difficult, but using one of these simple tricks will usually fix a sticky drawer.

Determine the cause of attachment

In addition to use over time, another problem that can cause old drawers to stick to wooden furniture is living in an area with high humidity. Decor Cabinets explains that wood is a naturally absorbent material; scientists call it hygroscopic, which means wood attracts water. Any piece of solid wood or furniture that contains pieces of wood will absorb moisture over time. Conifers (pine, spruce and other cones) absorb less moisture than hardwood (oak, maple, teak).

Tackling this problem could mean investing in air conditioning control of spaces in the form of dehumidifiers or air conditioners. A simple method that may work is to put absorbent gel sachets in the drawers of the affected furniture. These gel sachets absorb moisture, which can mean your furniture will absorb less moisture.

Remove and check the drawers

Remove the drawers. Check them for loose connections and broken pieces. Glue loose connections and repair or replace damaged parts. If the drawers are sound, lubricate them by rubbing paraffin or candle wax on the bottom and top of the drawers’ side pieces and around the edges of the drawer fronts where they slide into the case. Purchase paraffin or candles at your grocery store.

Apply duct tape to the drawer

Apply nylon drawer slide tape to the wooden drawer runners if the wax lubrication doesn’t free up the sticking drawer. The household handyman says it takes five minutes to apply this inexpensive self-adhesive nylon tape, but first lightly sand the drawer guides with fine sandpaper to ensure a good grip. Clean or vacuum the sanding dust. Cut the tape with scissors, tear off the backing and glue it to the drawer guides. Shop drawer tape in woodworking, metal, and home centers.

Light sand drawers

Sand the bottoms of the drawer’s sides with medium-grit sandpaper if wax or drawer slide tape does not free the sticky drawer. Pay particular attention to all visible places. You want your pants to be as flat and even as possible. Sand down a little and then check the fit. Repeat as needed until a good fit is achieved. If you can see a thick layer of paint around the edge of the drawer front, clean it. If necessary, lubricate the drawer with wax.

How to fix sticky drawers

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Sliding drawers that bind, stick together or are difficult to handle can drive you crazy. But you don’t have to put up with them. The drawers use small bearings or wheels on metal rails attached to the drawer and cabinet. These parts wear regularly, causing the drawer to tilt sideways, fall off the rail and jam. You can replace the runners with a cordless screwdriver and get the drawer running like new in minutes. If you are planning to sell your home, or if your drawers are driving you crazy because they won’t slip, install new runners.

Pull the drawer out of the cabinet. Set it aside. Using the battery gun, unscrew all the screws that secure the slide to the side of the drawer.

Go into the cabinet and unscrew the small plate on the back of the cabinet that holds the left and right side rails on the back of the cabinet. Unscrew the plate on the front of the cabinet. Remove the rails from the cabinet. Take your runners to the home improvement store and purchase replacement runners.

Separate the runners. Choose a runner labeled “DL”. Place this guide on the left side of the drawer. The circle should be on the back of the drawer, the front of the slide is flush with the back of the drawer front. Attach the slide to the side of the drawer with 1/2 inch screws using the holes indicated in the slide. Repeat the procedure using the second slide labeled “DR” on the other side of the drawer.

Place the rail marked “CL” in the cabinet on the left side. The front panel must be horizontal and match the wooden frame of the cabinet front. There is a plaque on the back of the runner. It should slide down and rest on the wooden rail on the back. Use the 1/2 inch screws to secure the rail to the front and rear of the rack using the holes indicated in the rail. Position the guide marked “CR” on the right side and screw it to the cabinet in the same way.

Tilt the back of the drawer to a 30 degree angle. Insert the casters on the back of the drawer into the holes in the front of the runners. Lift the drawer horizontally and the casters will lock into the guides. The drawer should slide smoothly into the closet.

  • Always replace all guides. They come in sets of four and all wear evenly. There is no benefit in replacing only the damaged parts.
  • If the drawer is uneven or too narrow, loosen the screws on the front of the cabinet; these are oval openings. Tocca il corridore a destra o a sinistra per personalizzarlo. Check, unscrew and tap again until the drawer slides smoothly, then tighten the screws firmly.

Specializing in hardwood furniture, woodworking, cabinets, DIY and architectural work, Wade Shaddy has been in residential construction since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a journalist and writer for the press and co-author of Bicycling magazine. Shaddy zaczął publikować w różnych czasopismach w 1992 roku, a w 2008 roku opublikował powieść „Dark Canyon”.

I refurbished my husband’s little old chest of drawers for our daughter. I sanded, painted and redone it myself. Now the drawers are sticking together. I can’t do it again, she chose the colors herself and loves it, but I don’t want her to get hurt trying to open them. What can I do without having to do it all over again?

Add your vote! Click below to reply. ThriftyFun is guided by your wisdom!

Take a bar of soap and slide it along the edge of the drawer.

Rub paraffin on the contact parts of the drawers to make them run smoothly. You’ll find canned paraffin stocked at your local grocery store. You can also use candles, soap, or even dry spray lube if needed.

Perhaps the first question is: did the drawers work well before starting the project?

Try it first: Make sure all the drawers are in the right places. They may all look the same, but not quite the same – one of them may be slightly warped or have a paint swollen with moisture.

Try to identify where drawers attach and work on these areas first. Do you have paint on the bottom of the drawer (where it slides / slides on the frame)? If so, maybe a little sandpaper will help, but be careful and place the drawer over something that will chip or scratch the paint. Many glued drawers were fixed with some sandpaper in the right place.
Aiming for a tight spot will be the first step, and if excess paint isn’t an issue, you can try scrubbing the slides / feet down a few things. Paraffin, greaseproof paper, candle wax, bar of soap

Rub the bar of soap on the edges of the drawers.

When I moved into my current apartment, I had to store some things in my former roommate’s garage for over a month before settling in. One of those things was my dresser. After moving it to my new place, I realized that something was terrible, terribly wrong – none of the drawers seemed to fit anymore (assuming they were).

How to fix sticky drawers

The combination of temperature and humidity differences in the garage caused them to swell and change shape. A few months later, they fit better, but they don’t slide in and out as easily as they once did.

A redditor tiny_tacos post suggested applying carnauba wax to the rails to make it easier to open and close. Carnauba wax is used in everything from automotive wax to furniture polish, and is commonly used in paper coatings in the United States.

Several commentators pointed out that each type of wax works, so I decided to try a few different things I had at home to see which one would produce the best results.

Candle wax

One of the most popular household items that help with sticky drawers is an ordinary paraffin or beeswax candle.

How to fix sticky drawers

Just rub it on all areas of the drawer where friction occurs when opening and closing, especially on the runners and around the outer edges.

How to fix sticky drawers How to fix sticky drawers

I used a long votive candle, but if you only have one tea candle, you can take it out of the metal cup and use it the same way.

Waxed paper

Waxed paper najczęściej kojarzy się z przygotowywaniem żywności, ale jest powlekany parafiną, dzięki czemu pozostawia cienką warstwę waxu na drewnie. It is best to fold it in half a couple of times before use, otherwise it will tear too easily.

How to fix sticky drawers

Another option that most people will lie to is a bar of soap. Just put a good coat on the bottom of the drawer (preferably a fragrance you don’t mind smelling a lot).

How to fix sticky drawers

Just know that you will have chips everywhere and it is probably best to use cheap stuff as your bar of soap will look like this:

How to fix sticky drawers


After spending more time than I would like to admit opening and closing drawers, I was surprised to find that the biggest difference was the one I cleaned.greaseproof paper. Both the candle and the soap left a thicker residue on the drawers, but the thin coating from the greaseproof paper was just the right amount.

You can use almost anything you have that is waxy or has a similar texture, for examplesilicone sprayor simplewax. If you don’t want to coat, sometimes sanding the sides and runners makes it easier to move the drawers as chips and chips can cause friction.

Do you have a clever solution not mentioned here? Let us know in the comments below.

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This article discusses the three most common drawer and cabinet designs. There are others, but these tips and advice should apply to most people.

Di seguito, analizzeremo tre stili popolari e proporremo alcune possibili soluzioni per eliminare la "situazione appiccicosa":

Drawer Guide Design:
1. Un cassetto è una semplice "scatola progettata per scorrere in un’altra scatola", senza hardware "a scorrimento".
-Make sure that the wood has not swelled; if so, sanding or planing may be required.
– Make sure that the contact surfaces are smooth; lubricate with paraffin or butcher’s waxor simplebar soap.

2. The drawer is equipped with a mechanical roller hardware that slides into the corresponding hardware inside the slot of the drawer.
-Make sure that all mechanical components are firmly fixed to the drawer itself and inside the drawer.
-Assicurati che tutte le "parti mobili" siano effettivamente in movimento.
– Lubricate WD-40 with white lithium grease or similar light grease (minimum quantities required).

3. The drawer has a rear-mounted (plastic) sliding bracket and the drawer grip has a centered top metal “guide” and two small roller wheels; one in each lower corner of the drawer opening.
-Make sure that the guide mounted centrally inside the drawer unit is firmly anchored.
-Assicurarsi che il "cursore" di plastica sul cassetto stesso sia saldamente ancorato e non danneggiato.
– Lubricate with white lithium grease (small amount needed).
-Make sure the wheels of the lower rollers are securely attached to the bottom of the drawer area.
-Make sure the rollers of the lower rollers are positioned so that the bottom of the drawer clearly slides in and out of the opening.
– Lubricate WD-40 (minimum quantity required).

Manutenzione Preventiva (o… come prevenire il ritorno dei "cassetti appiccicosi"):

And again, depending on the drawer sliding system involved, preventing the drawers from sticking together isn’t too difficult.

Some wooden furniture with drawers expand and contract as the seasons change or other general weather changes. So if a wooden chest of drawers or sideboard is stored in a humid place and does not have “sliding” mechanical elements, it will most likely swell enough to make it very difficult to move the drawers.
-Of course, the best prevention method is to keep this type of wooden furniture in a dry place.
– Drying products are also available which can help minimize swelling of the wood due to moisture. Place the product inside or near furniture to maximize the benefits.

Per i cassetti con sistema a "guida meccanica", la migliore manutenzione preventiva è quella di ispezionare, ribloccare e rilubrificare più volte l’anno.