Sticking drawers are a common problem in older wooden dressers. This video from The Honest Carpenter will show you 5 EASY FIXES to get your wooden drawers sliding smoothly again!

(Keep in mind that these methods are for what we typically call “web frame” drawers–drawer boxes slide on wooden components inside the dresser. With the exception of #5, these methods won’t work on sliding metal hardware or more modern components with bearings and tracks.)

Check out our other videos as well!




The action of wood-on-wood components sliding across one another produces a lot of friction, which results in the drawer “sticking” or dragging. In many cases, the key to fixing this problem is ELIMINATING FRICTION.


1) SANDPAPER: Use 180-grit sandpaper to lightly sand down components that may be rubbing against each other too harshly. Look for abrasion points where components are catching one another. Consider lightly sanding these spots to reshape them a bit. (Note: this method won’t work for every dresser, but for ones that have experienced some warpage, it can be helpful.)
2) BAR SOAP: Use common bar soap to lubricate the components that are rubbing against each other. Simply rub the bar soap across these surfaces–but don’t leave too much gunk or residue. Focus especially on the underside of the drawer box, and the top of the wooden web frame pieces inside the dresser.
3) BEESWAX: Use beeswax in a similar fashion to coat or lubricate wooden components in drawers, particularly the center slide (if one is present). You can also use: paraffin wax, or even common household candles, though it may be wise to avoid anything scented.
4) WAX PAPER: Fold pieces of wax paper into pads and rub them against components. The thin layer of wax on the paper will be transferred to the wooden components without creating too much residue. BUT, be careful not to pull up any wood splinters!
5) DRY LUBE: Use dry lubricant to spray the web frame components. Graphite and teflon are two common forms of dry lubricant–I prefer teflon. A tube applicator can help to direct the flow of the lubricant to problem areas. Lubricant will go on wet but soon dry out, leaving a slick layer. This is the most effective method, and dry lube can also be used on metal, plastics, and rope!

Thank you for watching the video! Be sure to check back in with The Honest Carpenter channel for more videos soon.

Also, be sure to visit our website, where we host HONEST CARPENTER CONSULTING:


(Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Apex, Cary, Wake Forest–North Carolina)


  1. Lisa Grijalva on October 18, 2020 at 9:59 am

    I tried the soap and it works …I wouldn’t use the spray bc Teflon is so toxic and I don’t want that in cabinets where I store my cooking appliances.

  2. Mountain View Turning on October 18, 2020 at 10:07 am

    Great video

  3. Karla Hart on October 18, 2020 at 10:16 am

    On the dry lube – Teflon … most likely contains PFAS which are really bad news forever chemicals. Keeping them out of our bodies, homes, waters, etc. is best.

  4. campmein on October 18, 2020 at 10:17 am

    I am going to use your advise, I am confident it is the answer. Thanks so much… have a blessed day.

  5. Ed Over50 on October 18, 2020 at 10:19 am

    Will look for the dry lube And give it a try. Thanks for the informative video Ethan

  6. Marilyn M on October 18, 2020 at 10:20 am

    Great to know dry spray is available. Used soap before. Thanks

  7. reddirt roots on October 18, 2020 at 10:27 am

    Informative video. Thank you!

  8. Maxx B on October 18, 2020 at 10:35 am

    I have an old, real wood dresser in my garage and the drawers really didn’t like the damp during winter months. I happened to have a can of silicone lubricant to hand, so before I went as far as remaking the drawers and installing extension runners, I gave the drawers and frame a good coating and they work so much better.

    I still have to use both hands to close the drawers so one side doesn’t bind. That’s a whole lot less work than reworking them. I’ll get the Teflon lube next time for an even smoother action.

  9. DC Various Vids on October 18, 2020 at 10:41 am

    One more though not easy to get – French chalk. Either rubber along contact surfaces or grate and sprinkle.

  10. Catalina Ramirez on October 18, 2020 at 10:41 am

    You look like a sk8ter

  11. Ana Larson on October 18, 2020 at 10:42 am

    The soap and beeswax scented can help keep stink down in older furniture especially. Be careful with sprays that stink it’s lots of chemicals that can then be all over your clothes. Also check the gliders as some habe screws that need tightening or even changing grom all the friction and expansion issues. Prayers to your journey

  12. UK Tony on October 18, 2020 at 10:43 am

    Never ever thought of dry lubricants. Have always rubbed a household candle along the runners before so many thanks from your newest subscriber.

  13. Dewey Segler on October 18, 2020 at 10:44 am

    I use Johnson’s Paste Wax on my sticky drawers. But I have used soap and it will work, for a time.

  14. Alex Harris on October 18, 2020 at 10:46 am

    I have some graphite dry lubricant but it’s black due to the graphite and doesn’t seem to be a good option to me.

  15. Paul Calabrese on October 18, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Only word of caution with the spray on lube……make sure all the drawers are out because you wouldn’t want that stuff getting on your clothing. Small chance it could seep through any small voids in the wood before it dries.

  16. skogenburzum on October 18, 2020 at 10:58 am

    My dad and grandfather had a few of these style old dressers. They really hold up well

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