How To Unstick a Drawer

Unstick that Stubborn Drawer


It's one of those common annoyances that raises the frustration factor just a teeny amount week by week--a sticky drawer. Sure, it's a minor problem, but when the fix is so easy there is no reason not to take care of it. Old-fashioned, all-wood drawers are the worst offenders. Over time, they build up enough grime, paint, and other impediments to put you in an untenably sticky situation. The secret to un-sticking? Paraffin wax.

Project Steps

Step 1


drawerstep1First, empty the drawer of all of its contents. This is a good excuse to do a little cleaning--especially if this is the junk drawer. Then, remove the drawer from its resting place.

Step 2

Inspect the underside of the drawer. It most likely operates by one or two wooden rails ("glides") that keep the drawer aligned. The problem is almost always sticking glides or sticking sides of the drawer itself. Take a look and make sure there no obvious gouges or other obstructions. If there are, smooth them out with sandpaper.

Step 3


drawerstep3Next, rub paraffin wax along the drawer's glides. Then, rub some more wax where the glides meet the cabinetry. (No paraffin? You can use candles or even bar soap in a pinch)

Step 4

Reinstall the drawer, making sure it is lined up carefully. Open and close the drawer a couple of times. If you don't notice much change in the ease of use, apply more wax.

Wax On
Why battle a sticky drawer constantly when the fix is so easy? To keep your cabinetry in tip-top working order, keep a block of wax handy and give your drawers a good rubdown now and then.