How to Loosen Sticking Drawers

A light cleaning and lubrication makes an amazing difference

Dirt, dust and old lubricant (or lack of it) can make drawers hard to open and shut. Cleaning gummed-up guides will help; so does the right lubricant.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Loosening a sticky roller or guide

Instead of fighting sticking drawers, take about two minutes per drawer to clean and lubricate them so they'll glide in and out with the touch of a finger.

For drawers fitted with rollers and guides (Photos 1 and 2), wipe them clean and spray the rollers with a drying-type silicone lubricant that doesn't attract dust. Look for the type that can be sprayed on plastic and rubber as well as metal.

Most dresser drawers don't have rollers and guides. To renew their smooth action, use a rag to clean out old dust and wax. Then rub hard wax (candle or paraffin) along the drawer edges and center guide.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Rags

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Silicone lubricant
  • Hard wax or paraffin