How To Make Wood Drawers Slide Easier [10 Different Ways]

Drawers that don’t slide easily can be a real pain. You have to pull hard on them and they often get stuck. This can damage the drawer and make it difficult to open and close. We will discuss 9 different ways that you can make your wood drawers slide easier! We will provide tips on how to fix a drawer that is sticking, as well as how to prevent your drawers from sticking in the future.

There are several things that you can do to prevent your drawers from sticking. First, you can sand the edges of the drawer to make them smooth. This will help the drawer to slide more easily. You can also apply a thin layer of wax to the drawer slides. This will create a slippery surface that will allow the drawer to move more easily. Finally, you can make sure that the drawer is properly aligned. This will help to prevent the drawer from getting stuck.

Drawers are essential for any type of storage, whether it be in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, or office. They provide a place to put things away and keep them organized. However, when drawers don’t slide easily, it can be problematic.

Reasons For Sticky Drawers and How to Handle It

Expansion and Contraction due to Temperature and Humidity Changes

The porosity of wood makes it susceptible to absorbing moisture from the atmosphere, potentially causing drawers to stick when swollen. A dehumidifier in the same room as these affected drawers can help address this issue. Additionally, placing silica gel or activated charcoal packets inside them can absorb any excess humidity and preclude the expansion of the wood.

Damaged or Worn-Out Drawer Slides

Drawer slides are essential in aiding drawers to move freely and smoothly within a cabinet. However, over time these pieces of hardware can become worn out or malfunction due to regular use. As such, homeowners need to inspect the drawer slides for any damage that may be causing the sticking issue. If no damage is evident following an inspection then cleaning them with a damp cloth and lubricating them with WD-40 or silicone spray should help alleviate this problem effortlessly.

Dirt and Debris Buildup

Over time, dirt and debris can build up on the drawer slides, making them difficult to move. To remedy this problem, take out the drawers from the cabinet and carefully clean off any particles with a moist cloth and mild detergent. Make sure that you dry off all of the slides before putting them back in each drawer for smooth operation again.

Warped or Uneven Drawer Bottom

If your drawer’s bottom is warped or uneven, it could lead to a sticky situation. To remedy this issue, you might want to try sanding the bottom of the drawer until its surface is perfectly even. On top of that, using a cork or foam liner can help facilitate smoother movement when sliding in and out — an ideal solution for any cumbersome drawers.

Misalignment of Drawer and Cabinet

If your drawer is stuck inside the cabinet, it could be due to misalignment. Check the slides for any damage and make sure they are correctly in place. If required, adjust them so that you can open and close the drawer without interruption. By doing this simple task, you’re guaranteed to enjoy the smooth operation of your cabinets.

Loose or Broken Hardware

Drawers can become misaligned or hard to open when screws and brackets are loose or broken. The solution is simple – tighten any loose hardware, replace any broken ones, and ensure that the size and type of new pieces match your drawer’s specifications. With this small step, you will have a smoothly-functioning cabinet in no time.

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Types Of Drawers

how to make wood drawers slide easily

There are different types of drawers, and each one may require a different method to make them slide easier.

Side-Mounted Drawers

Incorporating side-mounted drawers into your furniture is a great way to achieve efficient movement and storage all in one. Slides installed on the sides of both the drawer and cabinet allow for smooth transitions when opening or closing — perfect for everything from dressers to kitchen cabinets.

Bottom-Mounted Drawers

Bottom-mounted drawers are a must-have for any kitchen layout, offering an easy way to pull the drawer out from the cabinet. These slides are attached beneath the drawer and frame, allowing it to glide in and out seamlessly – available in various styles, shapes, and sizes.

Center-Mounted Drawers

Center-mounted drawers, found in furniture like desks and dressers, are designed with only one slide mounted to the center of both the drawer and cabinet. Unfortunately, if any damage or sticking occurs they can be harder to repair than other types of drawers.

Undermount Slides

Upgrade your cabinets with the sophistication of under-mount slides, a type of drawer slide that is mounted beneath both drawers and cabinet boxes. With this discreet method for mounting drawers, you can attain a sleek aesthetic often seen in high-end furniture and kitchen cabinetry. Undermount slides make modernizing any space effortless.

European-Style Slides

Make your drawers move in and out of cabinets with effortless ease with European-style side-mount slides. Ball bearings help the drawer to glide smoothly, making them an ideal choice for contemporary furniture and kitchen cabinetry.

Ball-Bearing Slides

Ball-bearing slides offer a quiet, effortless gliding experience due to their use of small balls. This type of slide is perfect for heavy-duty applications like tool cabinets and file drawers as they are exceptionally resilient and will last you many years–making them an ideal selection for industrial or commercial environments.

How To Make Wood Drawers Slide Easier

how to make wood drawer slide easier

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Apply Wax or Soap to the Drawer Slides

Instantly improve the drawers in your furniture by adding a simple layer of wax or soap. Not only is this an affordable option, but it also reduces friction between the drawer and slides for smoother operation. To apply wax, you can use either a candle or beeswax on the slides; if using soap instead, opt for bar form or liquid then wipe away any excess afterward. With just these few steps you’ll be able to open and close drawers with ease.

Sand Down the Sides of the Drawer

If you’re running into issues with a stuck drawer, sanding down the sides of the drawers can be an easy and effective solution. Use some fine-grit sandpaper to remove just enough wood from each side before placing it back in your cabinet—this should resolve any sticking or rub against other surfaces.

Add Drawer Slide Spacers

Utilizing drawer slide spacers can adjust the arrangement of slides, minimizing friction and allowing for effortless opening and closing. Easy to install – all that’s required is attaching them to the slides and then reattaching your drawers! You can find these versatile tools at any home improvement store or online.

Adjust the Drawer Slide Positioning

If you’re having difficulty with your drawer sliding smoothly, consider adjusting the slides. Easily loosen and adjust the screws to nudge them either up, down, or sideways – then test it out. You’ll be amazed by how this minor adjustment can make all the difference.

Replace the Drawer Slides

Damaged or worn-out drawer slides can be replaced to bring back a seamless, smooth operation. There are numerous types and sizes of drawer slides available on the market, so pick one that suits your drawers best. Make sure you adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation too.

Use a Lubricant Spray

To ensure smoother movement of your drawer, try using lubricant sprays such as WD-40 or silicone spray. WD-40 is a popular lubricant that can be used to make wood drawers slide easier. Just spray a small amount onto the drawer tracks and then try opening and closing the drawer. If it still sticks, you can add a bit more WD-40. Once the drawer is sliding smoothly, wipe away any excess WD-40 with a cloth.

Apply Drawer Slide Tape

Drawer slide tape is a self-adhesive tape that can be applied to the slides to reduce friction. It is easy to install and can be found at hardware stores or online. This is an ideal solution for drawers that are sticking and need a quick fix.

Add Ball-Bearing Drawer Slides

Investing in ball-bearing drawer slides is an excellent decision for anyone seeking a durable and smooth sliding motion. Even though they tend to be pricier than other varieties, the long-term value makes them worthwhile, as their low friction allows for reliable gliding over time.

Apply Furniture Polish or Wax

Make sure drawers are slick and smooth with furniture polish or wax. Simply apply the lubricant to drawer slides, then test them out to determine if movement is more effortless. The extra layer of protection provided by the wax or polish will also help preserve your drawers for years to come.

Adjust the Drawer Glides

Easily alter the drawer glides, positioned at the bottom of the drawer, to make your drawers slide effortlessly. Simply slacken off the screws and shift the glides slightly up, down, or sideways for an optimal fit. This is a simple and cost-effective solution to sticky drawers, so give it a try.

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Alternative Methods

Apply a homemade lubricant – Aside from the classic techniques of making wooden drawers move with ease, there are various other approaches to try. Consider applying nylon tape, rubbing candle wax or paraffin wax on it, spraying it with silicone spray, spreading graphite powder over it and even utilizing a homemade lubricant. With these options at your disposal, you’ll be sure to have smoother sliding drawers in no time.

Nylon tape – This method entails using nylon tape on the drawer slides, to create a buffer between the slide and the drawers. The result is less friction when you open or close them, making it wonderfully effortless.

Candle wax or paraffin wax – Rubbing wax onto the drawer slides can ease their movement and make them operate more smoothly. Paraffin or candle wax works best because it acts as a lubricant, diminishing friction on the surfaces to ensure the smooth performance of your drawers.

Silicone spray – Silicone spray is another lubricant that can be used to make wooden drawers slide easier. Simply spray the silicone onto the drawer slides, and the drawer should slide more easily.

Graphite powder – Make your drawers slide like a dream with graphite powder. This dry lubricant is the perfect solution for sticky wooden drawers – simply apply it to the drawer slides and watch as they move effortlessly.

Homemade lubricant – A homemade lubricant can also be made by mixing equal parts of cooking oil and vinegar. Apply this mixture to the drawer slides, and the drawer should slide more easily.

How To Care for Your Drawers: How To Make Wood Drawers Slide Smoothly

how to make wood drawers slide smoothly

Caring for your wooden drawers is an essential part of ensuring that they continue to function properly and last for a long time. Here are six ways you can care for your drawers:

Avoid overloading the drawers – Stuffing your drawers can cause undue strain on the drawer slides, making it harder for them to open and close. To protect against potential damage, be sure not to overfill your drawers – this will help keep them working well for years.

Keep the drawers clean and dry – To maintain the integrity of your wooden drawers, regular cleaning, and drying is essential. Wipe them down using a damp cloth to remove dirt and moisture that could lead to warping or sticking. Additionally, avoid contact with water while using the drawers to prevent further damage.

Use drawer liners – Keep your drawers free from scratches and other damages with drawer liners. Not to mention, they help keep your items organized and in place while making it easier for you to open or close the drawer.

Use quality hardware and drawer slides – Investing in quality hardware and drawer slides can drastically improve the function of your drawers. On the other hand, cheap alternatives tend to wear out rapidly, often resulting in sticking or sliding difficulties.

Inspect and maintain the drawers regularly – Prevent potential problems by routinely examining and tending to your drawers. Carefully assess the slides, hardware, as well as all sides and bottom of each drawer – this will guarantee that they remain in optimal condition.

Fix issues promptly to prevent further damage – When drawers start to stick, warp, or suffer other malfunctions, it is paramount that you take immediate action. This can include lubricating the parts involved or making changes in hardware and slides for a better fit. Taking care of these problems quickly will help prevent further damage down the line.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Fixing Sticky Drawers

When fixing sticky drawers, it’s important to avoid making certain mistakes that can make the problem worse. Here are six common mistakes to avoid:

Over-applying lubricant – Lubricant can help make drawers glide more smoothly, however, one should not use too much as it may result in dirt and debris accumulation over time. Excessive lubricant application will only make the problem worse.

Using the wrong type of lubricant – To ensure smooth-running drawers, it’s essential to use the correct lubricant. Each type of drawer requires its unique solution: wax-based lubricants are optimal for wooden constructions, while silicone spray is best suited to metal and plastic sliding mechanisms. Improperly applied or mismatched lubes can result in sticking or even damage to your drawers – so choose wisely.

Tightening hardware too much – While it can be tempting to tighten all of the hardware as tightly as possible, this may lead to issues with the drawer sliding easily. It is crucial to ensure that all hardware is sufficiently tightened without being overly tight – otherwise, this could cause the drawer to become stuck or bind.

Neglecting to clean the slides and hardware – It’s essential to keep drawer slides and hardware free of dirt and debris, as build-up can hinder their function. To avoid problems with sticking, make sure you clean these areas thoroughly before lubricating or making any adjustments.

Not properly aligning the drawer and cabinet – Misaligned drawers can cause numerous issues, including sticking and even irreparable damage to the cabinet or drawer itself. Before making any further repairs or adjustments, ensure that your drawer is properly fitted onto the cabinet for optimum functioning.

Not identifying the root cause of the problem -To prevent the difficulty from reoccurring, it is essential to determine the source of any issues before attempting a solution. Otherwise, if you are only treating the symptoms instead of tackling what lies beneath them, then you may be in for disappointment as time passes.

Upgrading Drawer Slides

Upgrading your drawer slides is a great way to solve the aggravating issue of drawers that stick or are difficult to open and close. Below, we will discuss some advantages of upgrading these slides as well as providing several types to consider, installation instructions, and tips for selecting the right slide for you.

Benefits of Upgrading Drawer Slides

Improved functionality: Upgraded slides often provide a smoother, more effortless glide for drawers, making them easier to open and close.

Increased durability: Higher-quality slides are generally more durable, so they can withstand more weight and wear over time.

Better access: Upgraded slides can provide better access to the entire contents of your drawers, making it easier to find what you’re looking for.

Improved aesthetics: Upgraded slides can improve the overall look and feel of your drawers, which can enhance the appearance of your entire space.

Better organization: Upgraded slides can make it easier to keep your drawers organized, reducing clutter and making it easier to find items.

Increased value: Upgrading your drawer slides can increase the value of your furniture, making it more attractive to potential buyers if you ever decide to sell.

Types of Upgraded Slides to Consider

Soft-close slides: These slides feature a sophisticated mechanism that delicately and quietly slows down the closing action of the drawers, thus curtailing any potential slamming and excessive noise.

Undermount slides: For a modern and sophisticated aesthetic, these slides are mounted beneath the drawer. Not only do they look great but they often boast increased strength and capacity to carry more weight than side-mounted versions.

Ball-bearing slides: These slides incorporate ball bearings to offer an incredibly smooth, low-friction glide for drawers – making your everyday tasks much simpler and more efficient.

Full-extension slides: These slides enable the drawer to fully extend out of its cabinet, giving you greater freedom as you access all items stored in it.

Heavy-duty slides: Constructed for greater stability and more strength, these slides are often found in industrial or commercial sites.

Center-mount slides: Installed on the lower middle of drawers, these sliders ensure a smooth and effortless experience while opening lighter and smaller cabinets.

Steps for Installing Upgraded Slides

Tools needed for installing upgraded slides:

Magnetic Screwdrivers Set with Case, Amartisan 43-piece Includs Slotted, Phillips, Hex, Pozidriv,Torx and Precision Screwdriver Set, Magnetizer Demagnetizer Tools, Tools for Men
CRAFTSMAN Screwdriver Set, Slotted & Phillips, 14-Piece (CMHT65045)
DeWalt DWHT36109 30' Tape Measure
DEWALT 20V MAX* XR Reciprocating Saw, Compact, Tool Only (DCS367B)
Stabila 78496 Type 196 Heavy Duty Complete 6 Level Kit - 78"/48"/32"/24"/16"/10” Die Cast Magnetic Torpedo Level Includes Nylon Carrying Case, Yellow
Magnetic Screwdrivers Set with Case, Amartisan 43-piece Includs Slotted, Phillips, Hex, Pozidriv,Torx and Precision Screwdriver Set, Magnetizer Demagnetizer Tools, Tools for Men
CRAFTSMAN Screwdriver Set, Slotted & Phillips, 14-Piece (CMHT65045)
DeWalt DWHT36109 30' Tape Measure
DEWALT 20V MAX* XR Reciprocating Saw, Compact, Tool Only (DCS367B)
Stabila 78496 Type 196 Heavy Duty Complete 6 Level Kit - 78"/48"/32"/24"/16"/10” Die Cast Magnetic Torpedo Level Includes Nylon Carrying Case, Yellow
Magnetic Screwdrivers Set with Case, Amartisan 43-piece Includs Slotted, Phillips, Hex, Pozidriv,Torx and Precision Screwdriver Set, Magnetizer Demagnetizer Tools, Tools for Men
Magnetic Screwdrivers Set with Case, Amartisan 43-piece Includs Slotted, Phillips, Hex, Pozidriv,Torx and Precision Screwdriver Set, Magnetizer Demagnetizer Tools, Tools for Men
CRAFTSMAN Screwdriver Set, Slotted & Phillips, 14-Piece (CMHT65045)
CRAFTSMAN Screwdriver Set, Slotted & Phillips, 14-Piece (CMHT65045)
DeWalt DWHT36109 30' Tape Measure
DeWalt DWHT36109 30' Tape Measure
DEWALT 20V MAX* XR Reciprocating Saw, Compact, Tool Only (DCS367B)
DEWALT 20V MAX* XR Reciprocating Saw, Compact, Tool Only (DCS367B)
Stabila 78496 Type 196 Heavy Duty Complete 6 Level Kit - 78"/48"/32"/24"/16"/10” Die Cast Magnetic Torpedo Level Includes Nylon Carrying Case, Yellow
Stabila 78496 Type 196 Heavy Duty Complete 6 Level Kit - 78"/48"/32"/24"/16"/10” Die Cast Magnetic Torpedo Level Includes Nylon Carrying Case, Yellow
  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Hacksaw
  1. Remove the existing slides and hardware from the drawer and cabinet.
  2. Measure the dimensions of the drawer and cabinet to ensure that the new slides will fit properly.
  3. Install the new slides onto the cabinet, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Attach the new slides to the drawer, ensuring that they are level and aligned properly.
  5. Test the drawer to ensure that it opens and closes smoothly and without any issues.
  6. Repeat the process for any additional drawers that need to be upgraded slides.

Tips for Choosing the Right Slide for Your Needs

Consider the weight and size of your drawers: When selecting slides for your drawers and cabinets, be sure to select ones that are rated to support the weight of your drawers as well as measure appropriately with the dimensions of these compartments.

Think about your usage: Take into account how often you use your drawers and the items that are stored inside when choosing which slide will work best for you.

Look for quality: To protect your investment and ensure reliable performance, select slides made from dependable materials manufactured by respected brands.

Consider your budget: When selecting upgraded slides, think about your budget and choose the one that meets both your needs and financial requirements.

Research and compare: Invest time in exploring the various types of slides and contrast them to figure out which one is most suitable for your requirements.

Consult a professional: If you are undecided on which type of slide to select or how to install it, consider seeking the advice of an expert for assistance.

Creative Ways to Repurpose Old Drawers

Repurposing old drawers is a great way to give them a new life and create unique and functional pieces for your home. Here are four creative ways to repurpose old drawers:

Wall shelves: Transform a drawer into an eye-catching shelf by mounting it to the wall! Add your own personal touch to match your style with a coat of paint, or you can leave it as is. This creative storage solution allows you to show off small items while keeping them out of sight and organized.

Planters: Transform any old drawer into a beautiful planter – simply by adding some soil and plants! For an added touch of creativity, you can even attach legs to the bottom of the drawer so it sits higher off the ground. This is a great way to bring vibrant greenery into your home.

Pet bed: Transform a simple drawer into an inviting slumber spot for your furry companion. Give it a personalized touch with paint and other decorations, such as name tags or paw prints. Finally, make sure to add a cushioning layer of comfort at the bottom so they can enjoy cozy naps all day long.

Kitchen organizer: Use a drawer to create a custom kitchen organizer. Add dividers to keep utensils, spices, or other kitchen items organized and easily accessible.


FAQs: How To Make Wood Drawers Slide Easier


Can I use vegetable oil to lubricate my drawers?

While it is possible to use vegetable oil as a lubricant for wood drawers, it is not recommended. Over time, the oil can become rancid and attract dirt and debris, which can cause the drawers to stick even more. Additionally, vegetable oil may not provide enough lubrication to keep the drawers sliding smoothly.

What is the best type of lubricant for wood drawers?

The best type of lubricant for wood drawers is one that is specifically designed for use on wood. Some good options include beeswax, paraffin wax, and silicone spray. These lubricants provide a smooth, long-lasting glide and are less likely to attract dirt and debris.

How often should I clean my drawers?

It is a good idea to clean your drawers regularly to prevent dirt and debris from building up and causing sticking. Depending on usage, aim to clean your drawers every few months or as needed.

Can I fix my sticky drawers myself, or do I need professional help?

In most cases, you can fix sticky drawers yourself using the methods outlined in this article. However, if the problem persists or you are unsure about how to proceed, it may be best to seek professional help.

Why do my drawers keep sticking even after I have lubricated them?

If your drawers continue to stick after lubrication, it could be due to other issues such as misalignment or damaged hardware. It is important to identify and address the underlying problem to ensure long-lasting, smooth operation.

Can I use WD-40 on my wood drawers?

While WD-40 can be effective at lubricating drawers, it is not recommended for use on wood as it can cause damage to the finish over time. It is best to use a lubricant specifically designed for use on wood.


Taking care of your drawers is essential to ensure their longevity and smooth operation. Sticky drawers can be a frustrating problem to deal with, but there are several ways to make them slide easier. From applying wax or soap to the drawer slides to upgrading the slides altogether, each method has its own benefits and drawbacks. It’s also important to avoid common mistakes when fixing sticky drawers, such as over-applying lubricant or using the wrong type of lubricant. By properly caring for your drawers and fixing issues promptly, you can avoid costly repairs or replacements in the future.