Periodic tuneups keep kitchen doors and drawers working smoothly.

How to Fix Broken Kitchen Drawers

by Chris Deziel

Kitchen drawers get their share of rough usage, whether from small hands searching for a cereal spoon to larger ones in the thick of kitchen creativity. A sticking or angled kitchen drawer can be frustrating, and one that falls apart when you're using it even more irksome, but neither situation is a job for the cavalry. You can solve some common problems with simple tools and supplies and just a few minutes in repair mode. Others may take a bit more time, and the drawer may be out of service for a day or two.

Sticking Drawer

Remove a sticking drawer to give yourself access to the tracks. To take a drawer out, you usually need to pull it as far as it will go, then lift the front to disengage the catches on the back from the tracks.

Tighten the tracks with a Phillips screwdriver if they feel loose. When the tracks are loose, the drawer sinks slightly and get stuck in the opening. In some cases, one end of one of the tracks may have fallen off altogether. If so, reattach it with a 1-inch screw.

Spray both tracks with spray lubricant, then spray some lubricant on the drawer glides and replace the drawer. Slide it back and forth a few times to work the lubricant into the moving parts.

Replace the glides on the drawer if they are bent. Take them off the drawer by unscrewing the screws holding them, then take the glides to the hardware store to buy identical replacements. If the replacements aren't identical, you may need to replace the tracks as well as the glides.

Drawer Falling Apart

Empty a drawer that is falling apart so you can reassemble it. Take it out of the cabinet and remove the front of the drawer from the box by unscrewing the screws holding it. The screw heads are on the inside of the drawer.

Pull the sides of the box off and remove all the staples or nails that were holding them with pliers. Spread carpenter's glue on the edges of the boards that form the front and back of the box. Reassemble the box and hold it together with two bar clamps. The bottom should fit into the grooves on the side pieces.

Drive two 1-inch screws into the sides of the box at both ends to hold the sides to the front and back pieces, using a drill and a No. 2 Phillips bit. Wipe up any glue that oozes out of a joint with a damp rag, then let the glue dry overnight.

Screw the drawer front back to the box and replace the drawer.

Items you will need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • 1-inch screws
  • Spray lubricant
  • Replacement glides
  • Pliers
  • Carpenter's glue
  • Bar clamps
  • Drill
  • No. 2 Phillips bit
  • Damp rag


  • You can usually fix stickiness on old cabinets with wooden tracks by rubbing soap on the tracks and glides.

About the Author

Chris Deziel has a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in humanities. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. As a landscape builder, he helped establish two gardening companies.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images