How to Fix a Squeak in a Wooden Drawer

Wooden drawers often have wheels and a track, making them easy to open and close.

Squeaks in wooden drawers can be fixed with talcum powder, wax, sandpaper or a plane.Squeaks in wooden drawers can be fixed with talcum powder, wax, sandpaper or a plane.
Other wooden drawers, especially in older furniture, simply slide in and out of a wooden frame. Wood expands and contracts in response to changes in humidity and temperature. Humidity in the air causes expansion, which means the drawer may fit tighter in the frame and squeak when opened. The squeak is an irritating sound, but the wood can become worn if the squeak is not fixed.

Pull out the drawer slowly, observing it on all sides to determine the area that sticks and squeaks. Take note of how loud it squeaks and how difficult it is to open. The more difficult it is to open, the greater the measures to fix the squeak.

Mark the squeaking area of the drawer with a pencil as you pull it out. Mark the section of the desk or dresser frame that rubs the drawer as well.

Rub the area of the drawer and the frame with talcum powder, if it's only a minor squeak. Talcum powder as well as baby powder are great for reducing squeaks in wood floors and will also help with a squeaking wooden drawer.

Slide the drawer back in and pull it out again to determine if the problem is fixed or if further measures are needed.

Rub the areas of the drawer and frame with paraffin wax or a paste wax product to lubricate the drawer and remove squeaks.

Slide the drawer in and out of the frame to determine if the problem is fixed. If the squeak continues, continue reading.

Sand the edges of the drawer and frame with medium-grit sandpaper to widen the area so the drawer can slide freely. Rub the edges with wax after sanding, then test the drawer to determine if the squeak is fixed.

Plane the edges of the drawer and frame to remove larger sections of wood if the squeak is severe and other measures didn't work. Remove only small bits of wood at a time, test the drawer and adjust the plane to remove more wood, if necessary.

Rub the entire drawer and the edges of the drawer frame with talcum powder or wax to prevent future squeaks and sticks.

Things You Will Need

  • Pencil
  • Talcum powder
  • Paste wax or paraffin wax
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Plane


  • Regular wood conditioning with wood oil can help to keep the wood moist and prevent squeaks.
  • If sanding or planing was required, you'll need to apply a new coat of varnish or stain before replacing the drawer.

About the Author

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.