How to fix a stuck drawer

The best way to get that stuck drawer… unstuck.

We’ve all been there.

Red in the face, sweating profusely, growing in rage as that one blasted drawer just doesn’t budge.

Trying to yank it open isn’t working and there doesn’t seem to be a solution in sight, leaving you with nothing but a stress-induced headache.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Fixing a drawer that is stuck closed is a fairly simple task and can be easily done without expensive tools or materials.

But first, we have to understand why your drawer is stuck.

Reasons for stuck drawers

There are a few reasons that a drawer may be stuck.

But more often than not, it can be traced to one of two common culprits:

  1. Items keeping the drawer stuck
  2. Humidity

How items cause drawers to become stuck

The more self-explanatory cause is that items inside the drawer are causing the drawer to jam and make it unable to open.

This is usually what makes a stuck drawer so frustrating, as you can’t even get into the drawer to unstick the item – giving you an irritating cycle of bother.

How humidity causes drawers to become stuck

However, a stuck item is not always the cause.

If a stubborn drawer begins to cause problems around summertime, the cause is likely humidity.

This is because the wooden parts of the drawer swell as the humidity rises, causing the rails to shift and push against one another.

Because wood is a porous material, it absorbs moisture from the air.

This means they expand when it’s humid and get stuck in their casings!


Before you can fix the problem, you need to discern the cause of your stuck drawer.

Open the drawer as far as it will go. When it begins to stick, stop immediately.

It’s time to check for swelling or a rogue item.

Place a long, thin, and sturdy item, like a metal ruler or putty knife, between the frame and the side of the drawer.

NOTE: Remember to be safe when using metal tools. Thin metal is flexible but will break under too much pressure.

How to dislodge an item causing a stuck drawer

The route to fixing this type of drawer issue can depend on its nature.

For a dresser drawer, remove the drawer entirely.

Pull it out a few inches and lift it gently up at an angle until it slides free of its cabinet.

Then check the back of the drawer for the item that slipped into the gap and remove it.

For non-dresser drawers, your best port of call is to use your long, thin, metal item to dislodge the stuck article and slide the drawer open.

To prevent damage to the rails, lubricate the rails with paraffin or nylon drawer tape.

You could also use a soap bar to allow the drawer to slide over old metal or wooden rails.

How to fix a drawer lodged from humidity

Drawers stuck from humidity can similarly be freed by lubricating the rail mechanisms.

We recommend rubbing a bit of paraffin onto the rails.

Removing the excess moisture from the wood should help the drawer shrink enough to be coaxed open.

One of the easiest ways to dehumidify your drawer is to run a dehumidifier next to them for a while.

Usually, a few hours should do the trick, but if that fails, use a hair dryer on low heat for several minutes.

The key is to dry the wood without scorching it or causing further damage.

Repairing damaged furniture

When your furniture sustains damage, it can be frustrating and emotional.

At Furniture Medic, we understand the pain caused by furniture damage.

We came to be after our company’s founder was moving homes and found that several expensive pieces of furniture had been damaged in transit.

Rather than purchasing new items, he looked for alternative solutions but found that most refinishing companies had an extremely long turnaround time.

There was nobody who could fix the problem in a pinch.

Until now.

At Furniture Medic, we pride ourselves on our rapid, on-site furniture restoration services to both commercial and domestic customers.

Making us the best on-call response for immediate furniture damage solutions.

If your furniture sustains damage, contact the first responders today.

To learn more and receive a free, no-obligation quote on our services, call 0800 021 3071 or find your nearest Furniture Medic today.