man trying to fix sticky wooden drawers with carnauba waxVintage furniture finds are full of charm, but all that tradition and workmanship comes at a cost. A pre-plastic-era piece of furniture uses wood-on-wood glider systems that can easily fall prey to the perils of age. Normal wear and tear can cause those drawer glides to get off-kilter, rendering the drawer nearly useless and quite possibly trapping your prized possessions inside. Some popular household items that help fix sticky wooden drawers are paraffin wax, wax paper, bar soap and candle wax, however, we at Real Milk Paint have something more effective.

The fix: Real Milk Paint Clear Carnauba Wax.

Why You Need to Treat Your Wooden Drawer Slides

Wood doesn’t have a lot of natural lubrication, which is why it can be hard to open some stuck drawers. This is especially true in the summer. Warm, humid summer air can cause wood to swell slightly, which is why you might notice more friction and have a harder time opening your wooden drawers. These simple DIY tips will ensure your wooden drawer slides move smoothly year-round.

The Benefits of Carnauba Waxdipping cloth into carnauba wax ready to apply on wooden drawer slides

Our Carnauba Wax is actually a mix of two waxes: carnauba and beeswax. Carnauba wax is one of the hardest dry lubricant waxes on the market. Using it on your drawer tracks helps the gliding action without creating a sticky mess or affecting the wood itself. Beeswax is much softer and can be sticky when applied on its own, but it supplies much-needed lubrication. Combined in the right proportions, the two waxes make magic and offer a quick fix on this simple home repair project.

Carnauba Wax works so well you can actually hear the difference — an untreated old dresser drawer rattles and shakes as you pull it out, while a drawer treated with carnauba wax is quiet as a whisper. You’ll also reap the benefit of added protection. Apply the furniture wax for wood and it will dry hard, safeguarding your piece against dings, scrapes, and scratches, improving durability and longevity.

How to Apply Carnauba Wax to Your Sticky Drawerrubbing carnauba wax in drawer tracks

The process is simple:

  • Pull the sticking drawer all the way out. Lightly sand the sticky drawers if needed.
  • Using a clean cloth, apply a thin layer of wax to the glide tracks on the drawer itself as well as inside the wooden dresser.
  • Allow the wax to dry.
  • Lightly buffing the drawer glides with a cloth or stiff brush to remove excess and ensure even, thorough application and absorption*.

*This is a surprisingly crucial step. Too much wax on the drawer glides will leave a tacky residue. Once dry, that residue will make your stuck drawer even more immobile than it was before you applied the wax.

When in doubt, go for light layers of wax and reapply as needed — it’s always easier to add more wax than it is to remove accidental buildup.

Fix Sticky Drawers Through Proper Maintenance

adding carnauba wax to a stubborn drawer

With sticky drawers, there’s no such thing as a permanent fix. Maintenance is needed to ensure your wooden drawer slides are at their best. Depending on how often you use your drawer, you may need to treat the wood — reducing friction and facilitating easier movement — every 6-12 months.

Over time, the wax slowly wears away and gets absorbed by older wooden dressers or drawers, though regular reapplications can help create a more permanent solution. That means you will need to reapply the wax after a period of time.

Rarely touched nightstands that only attract dust in your guest room may require infrequent attention, while the drawers in your kitchen island need some TLC often. Listen for the scritch-scratch of wax-less wood and be on the lookout for drawers that resist your efforts to open them and you’ll know it’s time to get out your Real Milk Paint Carnauba Wax and get to work.