How to unstick drawers in the kitchen

Kitchen drawers are essential for efficient organization and storage of utensils, tools, and various kitchen supplies. However, it can be frustrating when these drawers become stuck or difficult to open and close. Stuck drawers not only hinder your ability to access items easily but can also be a safety hazard if they suddenly come loose. In this article, we will guide you through the process of unstick drawers in the kitchen, allowing you to restore their functionality and convenience.

drawers in the kitchen

Stuck drawers are a common issue faced by many homeowners. Whether it’s due to the expansion caused by humidity and temperature changes or the accumulation of dirt and debris, addressing this problem promptly is crucial. By following the step-by-step guide provided below, you can unstick your kitchen drawers and ensure they operate smoothly.

Causes of Stuck Drawers

Before diving into the solution, it’s important to understand the possible causes behind stuck drawers. Here are a few common culprits:

Expansion due to Humidity and Temperature Changes

Wooden drawers can expand or contract in response to changes in humidity and temperature. This can cause the drawer to become misaligned or create friction against the slides.

Loose or Worn-out Drawer Slides or Tracks

Drawer slides or tracks may loosen over time, resulting in misalignment or sticking. Additionally, worn-out slides can hinder smooth movement.

Misaligned or Warped Drawer Fronts

If the front of the drawer is misaligned or warped, it can cause the drawer to stick. This can occur due to improper installation, damage, or wear and tear.

Accumulation of Dirt, Debris, or Food Particles

Regular kitchen use can lead to the accumulation of dirt, debris, or food particles in the drawer tracks. This build-up can obstruct smooth movement and cause sticking.

Tools and Materials Needed

To unstick your kitchen drawers, gather the following tools and materials:

  • Screwdriver
  • Wax or lubricant
  • Sandpaper
  • Hammer
  • Wood glue (if necessary)
  • Level

Having these items ready will make the process smoother and more efficient.

Step-by-Step Guide to Unstick Drawers

Follow these steps to unstick your kitchen drawers effectively:

1. Assess the Cause of the Sticking

Begin by inspecting the drawer to identify the cause of the sticking. Check for any visible obstructions or misalignment. Determine if the issue lies with the drawer slides or the drawer front.

2. Lubricate the Drawer Slides

Apply wax or a suitable lubricant to the drawer slides. This helps reduce friction and allows for smoother movement. Once applied, test the drawer’s movement to see if it has improved.

3. Sand and Smooth the Drawer Slides

If the drawer slides are rough or worn-out, use sandpaper to lightly sand them. This process will smoothen the surface and remove any splinters or rough spots that may be contributing to the sticking.

4. Adjust or Replace Drawer Slides

Check if any screws or bolts on the drawer slides are loose. If so, tighten them using a screwdriver or appropriate tool. If the slides are damaged beyond repair, it may be necessary to replace them with new ones.

5. Align and Secure the Drawer Front

Inspect the alignment of the drawer front. If it is misaligned, adjust it accordingly to ensure it lines up properly with the other drawers. Tighten any screws or bolts to secure it in place.

6. Clean the Drawer and Tracks

Remove the drawer completely from the cabinet. Clean the tracks thoroughly, removing any dirt, debris, or food particles that may be causing obstruction. Wipe down the drawer itself before reinserting it.

7. Test and Make Final Adjustments

Slide the drawer in and out multiple times to check if it moves smoothly. If there are still issues, make further adjustments as necessary. Use a level to ensure the drawer is properly aligned and adjust as needed.

Maintenance and Preventive Measures

To keep your kitchen drawers functioning smoothly, consider these maintenance and preventive measures:

  • Regularly clean the drawer slides and tracks.
  • Apply a thin layer of wax or lubricant periodically to reduce friction.
  • Avoid overloading drawers with excessive weight, as this can strain the slides and cause sticking.
  • Maintain a clean and dry kitchen environment to prevent warping or expansion of wooden drawers.

By implementing these measures, you can prolong the lifespan of your kitchen drawers and prevent them from sticking in the future.


Unsticking drawers in the kitchen may seem like a daunting task, but by following the step-by-step guide provided above, you can effectively address this issue. Remember to assess the cause of sticking, lubricate and smoothen the slides, adjust or replace them if necessary, align the drawer front, clean the tracks, and make any final adjustments. By taking care of your kitchen drawers, you can ensure their smooth functionality and enjoy a well-organized cooking space.


1. How often should I clean and lubricate the drawer slides? Regularly clean and lubricate the drawer slides every few months to maintain smooth operation.

2. Can I use any lubricant for the drawer slides? It is recommended to use wax or a lubricant specifically designed for drawer slides to ensure optimal performance.

3. My drawer fronts are damaged. Can I repair them? If the damage is minimal, you may be able to repair the drawer fronts using wood glue or other suitable adhesives. However, extensive damage may require replacement.

4. What can I do if the drawer still sticks after following the steps? If the drawer continues to stick, you may need to consult a professional carpenter or handyman for further assessment and repair.

5. How can I prevent drawers from sticking in the future? To prevent drawers from sticking, regularly clean and maintain them, avoid overloading with excessive weight, and keep the kitchen environment clean and dry.

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