Fix Stuck Wooden Drawer Slides with These Easy Hacks

Few things are more annoying than a drawer that won’t open. You’ve taken all that time to organize your kitchen stuff, and then when you need something, you can’t get to it without ripping your arm out of its socket.

Well, worry no more! If you have wooden drawer slides, these two easy fixes will ensure they’ll open on command.

Wooden vs. Metal Drawer Slides

Drawers are pretty much useless if they won’t open. That’s why they require some kind of slide, also called runners, to move in and out. And that’s usually how they tend to get stuck.

Metal drawer slides are the most common today, and they offer some distinct advantages. Ball bearings in metal slides let drawers glide smoothly. They also, typically, include an automatic stop function, so drawers don’t fall out when you pull them too far. If you’re adding drawers to a project, metal slides will definitely shave off some time.

If you’re a woodworker or know your way around handcrafted furniture, you’re probably familiar with wooden drawer slides. Of course, they aren’t limited to fine furniture. Wooden drawer slides in workbenches keep tools and other supplies handy and tidy. Done right, wooden drawer slides can hold more weight than metal ones, important for storing heavy tools.

One downside to wooden drawer slides: Humidity can cause the wood to expand, leading to more stuck drawers. Fortunately, there are a couple of easy ways to deal with stuck wooden drawer slides.

How to Fix Sticking Wooden Drawer Slides


Rub paraffin wax on the parts of drawers where the wood meets. You’ll find paraffin wax almost anywhere, from hobby and craft stores to the canning supplies section in your local grocery store. In a pinch you can also use candles, bar soap or even dry spray lubricant.

Nylon tape

For a more permanent fix, apply nylon drawer slide tape to the parts that come in contact with each other. You can find self-adhesive nylon tape at most home stores.

The tape won’t stick to wax or dirt, so prep the surface first by lightly sanding it with 100-grit sandpaper and then vacuuming the dust. Then simply cut the tape to length with scissors, peel off the back and stick it onto the wooden drawer runner.

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