How to Make Wooden Drawers Slide Easily

Updated February 21, 2017

Wooden drawers with traditional wooden slides often stick. This is caused from wear over time as well as changes in the weather. Humidity can cause wood to swell. These drawers have slots in the bottom or along both sides that are designed to run along drawer slides. Wood-on-wood movement can naturally cause friction. Make the wooden drawers in your home operate more smoothly with a few basic techniques.

Pull the sticking drawer out of the cabinet or dresser. Assess the condition of the drawer slots and the slides inside the cabinet.

Look for any loose screws on the drawer slides. Tighten any screws that may be loose. Screws can loosen over time and cause the drawer to operate poorly.

Sand any areas of the slides that appear worn or shiny with fine-grit sandpaper. Sand with the grain.

Apply paste wax or nylon tape over the drawer slides. Paste wax is a traditional approach to making wood on wood joints operate more effectively. Nylon tape that is designed for this application can also be an effective approach. It is a matter of personal preference.

Insert the drawer into the cabinet. Pull the drawer back and forth to be sure that the drawer slides with ease.


Regularly inspect and maintain the drawers in your home to prevent damage that might occur from force applied to sticking slides.


Follow safety instructions on the paste wax container carefully.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Paste wax
  • Nylon tape
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About the Author

Jonah Morrissey has been writing for print and online publications since 2000. He began his career as a staff reporter/photographer for a weekly newspaper in upstate New York. Morrissey specializes in topics related to home-and-garden projects, green living and small business. He graduated from Saint Michael's College, earning a B.A. in political science with a minor in journalism and mass communications.