DIY // How To Make Old Wood Drawers Slide Easier

(Post Updated: 1/19/18)

Old wood drawers. We have a lot of them in our old houses. They’re beautiful. They’re solid. They’re full of character and history and I sure do love them.  But they’re not always the easiest to open. They stick and grind and often take two hands to pull.

So what’s an old home lover to do?

The Grit and Polish - Bryant How to Make a Wood Drawer Slide Easier 1

Our Bryant House renovationkitchen (drawer pull / cabinet latch)

Well it turns out that there’s an easy fix. And it costs under $1 and takes only a couple of minutes. Read on for this easy DIY.

DIY // How to Make Old Wood Drawers Slide Easier

STEP ONE // Pull out the drawers and arrange them so you can access the underside.

The Grit and Polish - Bryant DIY How to Make Wood Drawers Slide Easier 4

STEP TWO // Rub a bar of soap (we used a basic Dove bar here) along the tracks on the bottom of the drawer and in the cabinet/dresser. Make sure to get anywhere wood rubs against wood and give it plenty of soap. This is one of those rare quantity over quality situations.

The Grit and Polish - Bryant DIY How to Make Wood Drawers Slide Easier soap on drawerThe Grit and Polish - Bryant DIY How to Make Wood Drawers Slide Easier 6

STEP THREE // After everything is soaped up, slide the drawer back in. That’s it! The drawer should slide easier. Of course they still won’t open like brand-new soft-close drawers, but for $1 and a couple minutes, I’d call it a win!

The Grit and Polish - Bryant DIY How to Make Wood Drawers Slide Easier 7

The pulls and latches are from the Martha Stewart line at Home Depot and super inexpensive. I’ve linked to them below.

I’ve heard about this DIY being completed with wax, which I think would work well too. Either way, if you try this DIY, please let us know how it went in the comment section below. And if you want to know more about this kitchen, the Bryant House renovation, or the Grit and Polish, scroll down to the “Related Posts” section.

The Grit and Polish - Bryant How to Make Old Wood Drawers Slide Easier 2

Sources for the Bryant Kitchen

drawer pull / cabinet latch / bar soapmy boots

Related posts

Bryant House kitchen renovation / Bryant House Airbnb makeover / wood butcher block countertops / our favorite cabinet hardware under $7 / about the Grit and Polish / Our Story: old houses and early retirement / We’re filming a pilot for HGTV /

post originally published: February 13, 2014
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  1. your idea worked. However, it would have been a more effective article had you gotten straight to the answer of the issue.

    • Aw…..I enjoyed her cute sense of humor!

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m with Craig, just get to the point.

    • Melissa says:

      If you don’t like blogs, don’t read them. Craig and “Anonymous” are cranky butt heads.

      • How about putting the masking tape stuff at the end, then? I thought I had clicked on the wrong link at first.

      • Seriously, people. It was short and sweet in general. Skim head until you get to the ‘grit’ if you don’t want the real life stuff. Sheesh.

        Thanks for the tip. We just moved and have a ridiculous amount of built ins with drawers ike this. Definitely buying a multipack of soap 🙂

    • Yes I totally agree especially when you’re on a schedule .. getting right to the point would be very useful and very helpful then if you want to create a story go ahead and those that have time or like to read a lot well enjoy it

    • How many people are complaining about not getting straight to the point stopped to comment or read the other comments and respond…

  2. Thanks!
    And i really liked the way you put it into words. Don’t let the partypoopers get to you 😉

  3. It’s a blog. That’s what blogging is about. Being cutesy with your wording. Get over it. People are so negative!

    Anyway, totally doing this with my new to me antique dresser! Thanks!

  4. Haha Craig.. Go to a different page that will tell you the same thing if you dont like it.. No need to try and beat on others blogs and pages. Just move on and shut your mouth.

    This was funny. Loved it. Good job. And thank you!

  5. I usually feel the same way as Craig but I actually enjoyed reading your explanation! It was fun, funny & made me feel like I’m not the only one who doesn’t always have my projects workout exactly when & how I think they should 🙂 Thanks for the drawer sliding tip…I’ll try it

  6. I enjoyed her story very much. Makes the project more fun to have a good memory while doing it. Sounds like a typical day in the life of a mom.

  7. SOAP for old drawers. I LOVE old fashioned remedies. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! 🙂

  8. Yes, Very VERY annoying reading all your stupid crap. WHo cares, get to the point or go start a friendship blog of annoying flabber gaspers! lol

  9. Hello love this ! My house circa1890 lol original every thing ! I used Irish spring soap got the cleanest smelling kitchen in the neighborhood ..thank you. Love the blog

  10. Very nice, I’ll use it on the old kitchen piece i just rescued. Thanks for the share

  11. Thanks to the internet I have been able in a very short time after an appropriately worded question, to find out how to make drawers slide more easily. I have read and viewed a lot of the contributions some of which confirmed a long held belief given to me years ago by a joiner that soap would do the trick. This consistently came up in the solutions plus a few logical others like wax, powder and a special tape. I opted for a combination of wax and a beeswax furniture polish. My wax came from a small candle and I am pleased to say I now have the finished product in a set of drawers recently renovated by the use of chalk paint, which being quite thick or viscous, can narrow the space between drawer and cabinet leading to increased resistance when opening and closing. Mine no longer do that and I thank the on-line contributors for all their advice given.

  12. Thanks. It really worked !!!!
    The least people like Craig’s and Anonymous can do is to spare us such uncharitable comments and unsolicited advice.

    • I have a 90 yr old chest of drawers. I CANNOT open the bottom one. I will try what you said as I don’t want to damage it.
      Sorry you had to endure negative people..

      • I haven’t read any negative comments yet… I don’t understand that when someone asked to get to a point that it is called negative ..we need to stop the sensitivity it’s never been like this before !

  13. I just made a cabinet and put in sliding wooden doors – I’m going to try this to encourage them to slide easier – thanks. And if it doesn’t work? Well, it’ll smell nicer anyway!

  14. Thanks for the tip! It worked! Oh and yes the smell from the soap was a bonus!

  15. Soap for drawers! Yes thanks it works! I knew there was a solution out there, thanks so much for posting.

  16. soap will work but bees wax works even better. Try your local bee keeper or if you don’t know one, Walmart can order Murray’s Bees Wax for you and you can pick it up from store with no shipping. If you order from them be sure you order the cake form.

  17. Larry Stewart says:

    Great fix, thank you! FYI..soap works on a squeaky fan belt too (until it can be changed or tightened)

  18. Dina LOZANO says:


  19. Marie (from Australia) says:

    Thanks for the tip. Am going to try it today.
    And even if it doesn’t work, it’s a great way to use up all those fragrant soaps I’ve accumulated over the years!


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