How To Make Drawer Slides Smoother? (Different Fixes Included)

The drawers that don’t open smoothly can be annoying to use sometimes. However, there’s no reason to put up with them as you can make them smooth like a new one easily. But, how to smooth drawer slides? Which lubricant to use to make drawer slides smoother?

If you have a wooden drawer, you can use paraffin or nylon tape to keep the drawer from sticking. Also, some people apply soap, candles, and wax to keep drawer slides smooth.

On the other hand, if you have a drawer with metal slides, you have to remove the slides to clean them all. Then, use a water-based spray cleaner to get rid of grease and debris. 

In this article, we’ll see how to make drawer slides smoother step by step. So, stay with me to know if you’re irritated enough listening to the cracking sound while sliding the drawer in and out. 

How To Make Drawer Slides Smoother

How to Smooth Sticking Wooden Drawers?

Unlike metals, wooden drawers wrap and change their shapes over time. They expand during summer days and shrink is cold winter days.

Also, humidity and moisture affect wooden furniture. This is the reason why old wooden drawers are hard to slide in and out most of the time.

Here’re a few ways you can make sure the drawers work properly:

1. Paraffin Wax

Paraffin wax is mostly used as a lubricant for wooden drawers. You’ll find the wax readily available in your local grocery shops.

  • Pull the drawer not sliding smoothly out completely from the cabinet and rub paraffin wax on each of the sides, edges, and all surfaces that touch the chest.
  • If pulling out the drawer completely is quite difficult or impossible, you have to rub the surfaces step by step. At first, pull out the drawer as much as it comes. Rub the lubricant as much as you can which is visible.
  • Then, push the drawer back and pull it again. Now, more unexposed area comes out due to the sliding motion of the wax. Rub it again and repeat the process again until you pull out all of it.

The process is slow but, once you can wax all of the surfaces, it is definitely worth it.

1. Candle

Along with the paraffin wax, candle wax is also used to smoothen an IKEA drawer not sliding smoothly sometimes.

The key difference between those two resources is that the former one includes additives to last longer.

However, candles are more common and convenient to use.

While rubbing a candle wax, make sure its scent doesn’t attract any insect which would rather be more troublesome.

Also, it is recommended to use a white candle so that the stains it leaves on the surface aren’t visible.

2. Soap

If you can’t go to the grocery store for a paraffin wax or candle, you can use a soap bar from your bathroom.

Also, remember to use a fragment-free soap that doesn’t attract insects and ants.

Just like the paraffin wax and candle, rub the soap all over the surfaces and edges of the drawer that touches the chest.

3. Wax Paper

Wax paper lying behind your cupboard can also be utilized to make the drawer slide smoothly. Wax paper is coated with paraffin wax which will be transferred to the wood surface when you rub it on the wood.

These are some of the major and effective ways to make drawer slides move easily. However, none of them is a permanent solution. They tend to rub out over time so you need to reapply them after some months.

How to Make Metal and Ball-Bearing Slides Smoother?

Metal slides also lose their fineness after years of use. It may happen for several reasons.

For example, debris or other particles may gather or some screws may get loosen after frequent use.

However, before you replace the slides, you may follow the steps to make them like new again.

  • Remove the drawer from the cabinet at first and separate the drawer slides. You may need to lift the drawer at the back to detach it completely. If you empty the drawer before starting, it would be easy for you. Otherwise, you may not control the weight of the drawer.
  • Wipe the slide’s individual parts with a wet cloth to clean in case there’s any debris or other particles. Then, wipe them with a dry cloth again to prepare them to be lubricated. It is very important to clean and dry all parts before lubricating.
  • Use the best lubricant for metal drawer slides on the runners of the slide. Make sure that the entire area is covered with lubricant. If you use a spray lubricant, take the nozzle as close as possible. Again, if using lubricant in a squeeze bottle, carefully coat all over the runners, especially the areas that touch the drawer runners.
  • If you’re done with lubricating, clean up any excess lubricant.
  • Reunite the parts back on the runners. Then, place the drawer in the cabinet. Open and close it again to see if it’s working smoothly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can you use WD40 on drawer slides?

Yes, you can use WD40 multi-purpose lubricant spray on the drawer slides which is very easy to use. The single spray offers five functions. It is used on rubbers, metals, and woods to prevent rust and sticking. However, it should not be used on polycarbonate and clear polystyrene plastic.

2. How to open a stuck drawer?

There are different ways to open a stuck drawer. Firstly, you may put in extra power to pull out the drawer from the cabinet. If it doesn’t come out, apply lubricant on the edges whatever is visible where it touches the chest. Try pulling in and out several times by applying lubricant.

3. How do you make old wood drawers slide better?

You can rub paraffin wax, soap, or candle wax on the surfaces and edges of old drawers to slide better. However, none of them provide a permanent solution.


There are many ways to make slides run smoothly. However, if you measure the drawers properly for the cabinet, it will not bother you for a long time. How to measure drawers for slides will surely help you out.

I hope you find the article helpful. Don’t forget to share it with your friends and family in case they need it the most. Thank you.