Stiff drawers? Need smooth sliding drawers? Learn what works and what doesn't

A common problem when you purchase an antique piece of furniture is that the drawers don’t slide smoothly. Sometimes the drawer is in such bad shape you practically have to rebuild the drawer to fix it.

Truly antique furniture has this issue because the pieces don’t have the kind of drawer guides that are used today.  Most of the time it’s wood on wood. However, some older drawers are metal on wood. This was the case for mine.

I tried 5 different products to test which one was best. Here are my results.

1: Wax Paper

Wax Paper applies the idea of using wax on the drawers, without the mess. Many swear by this trick. Wax paper helped, but didn’t make it smooth enough. Paper was a hassle to tape it down, and over time can rip and tear, creating paper jams if you will. For this reason, I wouldn’t recommend this as a solution.

2: Vinyl Tape

Vinyl tape, take the idea of placing a wax lined product on your drawer, like wax paper, but with a sticky side to keep it firmly in place. I bought a roll off Amazon, after reading raving reviews. This thin tape was easy to apply and very sticky. There was no mess and over time it will last. The vinyl tape works well for wood on wood drawers, but not wood on metal. So depending on your drawer this could be a great option.

stuck drawers

3: Bar of Soap

This idea was created as an easy to do hack- but it doesn’t work!

I rubbed soap on the wood slider, and felt the smooth surface it created. I was excited, as I replaced it into its slider, but sadly disappointed. The drawers were not smooth, and really didn’t benefit at all.

4: Baby Powder

baby powder

Baby powder is great for so many things! I didn’t really use it for its intended use with my kids, but found dozen of great uses throughout the years.

I lightly sprinkled some on my drawers, and slide them in…. use #73 for baby powder: making drawers slide easier. It really did help! Baby powder was second to the vinyl tape.

5: Sand it

Obviously, this one will work for any wood on wood drawers, but you want to be careful not to sand too much in one place or generally over all. Be especially careful with inset drawers so that they still fit in their box.

Start with a high grit, such as 200 and use smooth long strokes. Work up to a 300 grit paper. Dust off the drawer thoroughly and slide it in.

This did help my metal to wood drawer, as it gave more space for the sliders.

6: Plumbers Grease

plumbers grease

This is my #1 solution! It was a little messy to apply, but had the greatest effect on my drawer. This grease works well in high temperatures and humid or wet conditions, which is exactly what wood needs in a bathroom.

This tube cost about $2, and worked just as well as many furniture grease products being sold for $15.

As a review, the best options for how to get smooth sliding drawers are:

#1: Plumbers Grease

#2: Baby Powder and Sanding tied

#3 Vinyl tape

Don’t waste your time on: wax paper or soap. Good luck with your stuck drawers. I hope these reviews helped!

bathroom drawers