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How to Fix Sticking Wooden Drawers

Updated: Jun. 30, 2017

Paraffin or nylon tape keeps wooden drawers from sticking.

FH10JAU_STIDRA_01-2Family Handyman
Make stuck drawers open smoothly again with a little paraffin or special nylon tape that lubricates those rubbing, sticky surfaces. It's a 5-minute fix.

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Fixes for sticky drawers

Apply nylon tape

Self-adhesive nylon tape lubricates rubbing surfaces.

Drawers that don’t slide smoothly can be a real nuisance. But there’s no reason to put up with them since the fix is usually pretty simple. Here are two tips for getting your drawers sliding as smooth as butter.

Rub paraffin on the meeting parts of drawers to keep them working smoothly. You’ll find paraffin with the canning supplies in your local grocery store. In a pinch you can also use candles, bar soap or even dry spray lubricant.

For a more permanent fix, apply nylon drawer slide tape to the parts that come in contact with each other. You’ll find self-adhesive nylon tape (about $12.00 for a 1/2-in. x 10-ft. piece) at woodworking stores. One source is Rockler Woodworking and Hardware ( 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 to remove the dust. Then simply cut the tape to length with a scissors, peel off the back and stick it onto the wooden drawer runner.

Required Materials for this Project

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

  • Nylon drawer slide tape
  • Paraffin or candle