Skip to Content

5 Ways To Get Dresser Drawers To Slide Easily

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Do you have a dresser with drawers that tend to stick when you try to slide them out? This is a pretty common occurrence, especially with older dressers. So how do you fix this issue? We've researched a few different ways to help solve this problem. In this post, we will share them with you.

Here are a few ways to help your dresser drawers slide better:

  • Replace The Tracks
  • Sand The Drawer Down
  • Apply Wax Or Wax Paper
  • Apply Baby Powder
  • Use Plumbers Grease

Sometimes the tracks or wheels on the slides of a dresser can become warped or worn out, causing the drawer to stick when sliding in and out. Humidity can also play a factor in causing dresser drawers to become harder to maneuver. Continue reading to learn about how to mitigate this issue.

Modern interior with dresser, 5 Ways To Get Dresser Drawers To Slide Easily

5 Ways To Get Dresser Drawers To Slide Easily

Replace The Tracks

Things you'll need

  • Electric drill
  • Slider set
  • Replacement screws, screws, and wheels
  • Wax-based lubricant
  • Wood glue

Remove All Of The Drawers

Remove the drawers from the dresser and set them to the side. Next, grab your electric drill and unscrew all of the screws holding the slider on the bottom of the drawer in place.

See this electric drill on Amazon.

Unscrew The Sliders

Reach inside of the drawer and unscrew the small plate at the back of the dresser. This plate holds the left and right runners in place on the end of the dresser and is usually a small black piece of metal. You may not be able to reach this with your drill, so it's helpful to have a manual screwdriver to unscrew this plate from the dresser. After you unscrew it, remove the sliders from the dresser as well.

See this screwdriver on Amazon.

Attach The New Sliders

Grab your new sliders and place them on the floor. Next, mark the sliders according to the dresser number and the side that they will be placed on. For example, list the sliders as "Drawer 1, left side" or "Drawer 2, right side". Ensure that the wheel is at the back of the drawer and that the slider is flush against the back of the drawer. Next, take the screws and use them to line up the sliders with the drawer and screw them in.

Now that the slider is in place turn the drawer right side up and position it inside the dresser. The drawer should be at about a 30-degree angle with the wheels lined up to the slider inside the dresser. Place the drawer down on the slide so that the wheels lock in place on the runners and slide it back, lowering it as you do. Next, slide the drawer forward so that the wheels will lock onto the runners.

Sand The Drawer Down

Sometimes the drawers of a dresser can swell due to humidity and other factors. If you find is that the drawers on your dresser have become a bit too big to slide in and out correctly, you can sand them down with a sanding block or orbital sander. You can use a sanding block anywhere from 200 to 300-grit. If the drawers are sticking because the sliders don't have enough space, you can sand the bottom of the drawer where the sliders are placed.

If the dresser is sticking because it has become too tall for the drawer, sand the dresser's bottom edges until it is short enough to slide in and out easily. In this type of project, you'll have to use your eye to determine how much you will need to sand down. It's best to sand a little at a time and test the drawer then to over-sand it.

If the sliders and rollers on your dressers drawers need a little bit of lubrication because they have become dry, here are ways to get them moving easily again.

See these sanding blocks on Amazon.

Test The Drawers

Slide it back and forth 3-4 times to make sure that the drawer slides back and forth correctly. If it does, you are good to go. Now it's time to follow the same steps for the other drawers.

Apply Wax Or Wax Paper

Wax is a great option for lubricating your wood dresser. Not only is it safer than silicone lubricants, but it lasts a very long time. Wax is also pretty inexpensive; you can find a small can online for under $10. You can easily apply wax to the sliders either on the dresser or to the sliders on the bottom of each drawer. It can be applied using your fingers, cotton swab, or a Q-tip.

See this wax on Amazon.

Apply Baby Powder

You can also sprinkle baby powder on the inside of the dresser's tracks to reduce friction. To do this, remove all of the sticky drawers, and lay them down on a drop cloth or tarp. Next, grab a bottle of baby powder and sprinkle it on the bottom of these drawer sliders. Afterward, place the drawer back in the dresser and roll it back and forth a few times so that the powder can lubricate the wheels.

See this baby powder on Amazon.

Use Plumbers Grease

Plumbers Grease can also help reduce the friction on a sticky dresser drawer. The cool thing about this grease is that it works well and a wide range of temperatures and humidity levels. You can also use it on drawers made of metal, PVC, MDF, and plastic.

The application is pretty simple, as you'll need to apply a small amount to the sliders on the dresser. Afterward, roll the dresser drawer back and forth so that the entire slider is lubricated. Be careful when applying plumber's grease, as you don't want the silicone to drip onto the dresser drawer's wood surface.

See this plumbers grease on Amazon.

Why is the drawer sticking?

Dresser drawers can stick for several reasons. Sometimes the drawer will pop out because the grooves that hold it have become worn or fallen out of their position. And sometimes, the sliders that allow a drawer to move back and forth will become dry or rusty over time. For the most part, a little bit of lubrication or replacement of the sliders can't fix these issues.

Another common factor that causes dresser drawers to stick is high humidity. This is particularly common with dressers made of wood and can be exacerbated during spring and summer months when humidity is higher. Humidity will cause wood to swell. This, in turn, creates friction when the drawer is slid in and out. Over time, the drawer can be damaged if it is not sand it down or lubricated.

If you have a dresser with drawers that stick or do not slide in and out correctly, remove the drawer to determine the issue's cause. If the drawers are particularly heavy, it's best to have an extra pair of hands to assist you so that you do not accidentally drop them or cause yourself physical harm.

Be sure to take a look at the bottom of the drawers to note the condition of the sliders as well as the sliders inside of the dresser itself. Are the wheels in good condition? Are the sliders in good condition? Look for damaged or obvious obstructions as well as for any warping of the wood of the drawers.

How do you know what size drawer slides you need?

Before you can determine what size drawer slide you need, you will first need to determine the type of slide mount that your dresser will use. There are three types of slide mounts, under-mount, center mount, and side-mount slides. The amount of space between the cabinet opening and the drawer box on your dresser will determine which slide will work best.

Typical drawer slide lengths range from 10 to 28 inches. However, there are shorter and longer slides available for customized drawers or special applications. Be sure to measure the length of your drawer before deciding on which slide type you will use.

If you are purchasing under-mount slides, note that the slide will need to be the same length as the drawer to function properly. If you are working with center or side-mount slides, subtract 1 inch from your dresser's length to determine how long the slide should be. So, for example, if the length of your dresser's drawers is 12 inches, you'll want to purchase 11-inch slides.

How do you loosen a stiff drawer?

You can loosen a stiff drawer by replacing the slides that allow it to slide in and out of position. Depending on the cause of the stiffness, you can also sand down the drawer or apply lubricant to the drawer's sliding tracks. It also helps to look at the tracks to ensure that no dirt or debris is obstructing the slide, causing the wheels to become stuck. If your drawer only has wood planks instead of sliding tracks, you may want to add a bit of lubricant directly to the planks or on the bottom of the drawer to help prevent friction.

What is the best lubricant for wood?

One of the most recommended lubricants for wooden furniture is beeswax. Though silicone is sometimes used as well, it can be messy, and in some cases, it can damage the wood. Beeswax can be used for various applications, including drawers, and to coat nails or screws. One of the most popular lubricating compounds is Lundmark Pure Bee's Wax. This lubricating wax is not only effective, but it prevents the wood from splitting and drying out.

See this product on Amazon.

Wrapping Things Up

We hope that this post has provided you with several ways to help your dresser drawer slide more easily. Remember, the first thing to do is to determine the source of the friction. If it's a matter of lubrication, a bit of beeswax baby powder, our plumber grease will get your dresser drawer sliding back to normal in no time.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

How Big Is A Typical Dresser?

Do Dressers Need Mirrors? Here’s What You Need To Know