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How to Fix a Drawer That Sticks

Don't let that stuck drawer aggravate you on a daily basis; find the problem and fix it once and for all.


  • Step 1: Remove the drawer Remove the drawer. Pull it out until it stops, then lift up the end and pull it a little bit more. This should release the drawer from its glides, also known as tracks. On some ready-to-assemble drawer units, you may have to turn a screw or a tab along the side of the drawer before you can remove it.
  • TIP: If the drawer is stuck, wedge a putty knife between the drawer and the glides and use it to nudge the drawer back in line before you remove it.
  • Step 2: Put the drawer back Put the drawer back. If it slides right back in, the drawer had simply gone off the rails and is now fixed.
  • Step 3: Check the glides If the drawer still sticks, remove it and take a close look at the glides. If they are bent or misshapen, use pliers to reshape them until they provide flat, straight tracks for the drawer to slide on.
  • Step 4: Fix glides See if one or both of the glides was installed crookedly. If so, reinstall them so that they're straight and parallel. If necessary, buy new glides at the hardware store; just make sure to measure beforehand so you get the correct size.
  • TIP: Many drawer glides are attached with just two small staples. To better secure them, drill holes and install small screws instead.
  • Step 5: Wax it If your drawer does not use a glide and simply slides wood-on-wood, try un-sticking it by rubbing a candle or a bar of soap on both the bottom of the drawer and the wooden track it slides on.
  • Step 6: Shave it Still not gliding properly? Run a block plane along the top edges of the sides to shave off a little wood. Remove only a little at a time and keep re-testing the drawer until it slides smoothly.
  • Step 7: Repair the box If the actual box of your drawer is broken, you can repair it with glue. If there is a crack in the wood, apply the glue, realign the crack, and use a clamp or heavy object to keep pressure on it until it dries.
  • TIP: If the joints of your drawer are coming apart, remove the old glue before applying new glue.
  • Step 8: Replace the handle Before putting away your tools, check the handle on the drawer. If it's broken, simply unscrew the old handle and replace it with a new one.
  • FACT: According to one survey, nearly half of the world's kitchens have a "junk drawer."

You Will Need

  • A stuck drawer
  • Pliers
  • A drill
  • A block plane
  • A putty knife (optional) (optional) (optional) (optional)
  • New glides (optional) (optional) (optional) (optional)
  • Small screws (optional) (optional) (optional) (optional)
  • A candle or bar of soap (optional) (optional) (optional) (optional)
  • Glue (optional) (optional) (optional) (optional)
  • A clamp or heavy object (optional) (optional) (optional) (optional)
  • A new handle (optional) (optional) (optional) (optional)

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