How to Fix a Jammed Dresser Drawer

Written by denise nyland
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How to Fix a Jammed Dresser Drawer
Drawer contents can shift, preventing the drawer from opening. (kitchen drawer image by Christopher Hall from

Sooner or later, just about everyone has to deal with a jammed dresser drawer. The problem is obvious, but if you can determine the cause, you may be able to avoid future frustration. Sometimes the problem is that drawer contents are hanging up, preventing the drawer from opening. For this, the fix is easy. If you have a structural problem such as swollen or disfigured wood or a bent or broken track, the diagnosis and repair may take a little longer. Most jammed drawers can be repaired by the novice handyman with common home-repair tools.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Putty knife
  • Glue
  • Screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Wood rasp
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint or stain
  • Paintbrush
  • Silicone spray

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  1. 1

    Remove drawers above, below, and on each side of the jammed drawer. If you can access the contents of the jammed drawer, remove as many items as you can. Pull the dresser away from the wall. Holding the dresser securely, tip it -1.11 to 4.44 degrees Corward and let it fall back, but not tip over. If the drawer contents are causing the jam, they may shift enough to allow you to open the drawer.

  2. 2

    Reach inside the dresser to the back of the jammed drawer. Try to pull the drawer forward. If it still won't budge, inspect the drawer front to find out if the face of the drawer is stuck to the frame at any point. Insert a putty knife between the face of the door and the frame and try to gently pry the drawer front loose. It may help to pull the back of the drawer forward while you're prying. If you must resort to using brute force, try not to damage the furniture's finish.

  3. 3

    Inspect the drawer and its suspension track, once the jammed drawer is removed. Common structural faults that cause drawers to jam include bent or broken tracks, tracks coming apart from the frame or wood swelling from excessive humidity. If the track is bent, you may be able to straighten it. Remove a broken track and attach a matching replacement with wood glue and wood screws. If the track has come apart from the frame, put it back in its original position and glue the track, then screw it into place.

  4. 4

    Slide the drawer onto its track, but if it won't close, don't force it. Locate the spot where the drawer is catching. Use a wood rasp or sandpaper to narrow the part of the drawer that's been disfigured, likely by excessive humidity. If you have to rasp or sand the face of the drawer, touch up the finish with matching stain or paint. Before reassembling the dresser, apply silicone spray to the tracks, and drawer parts that slide on the tracks, to reduce friction.

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