How to make painted drawers slide smoothly?

Recently moved and the kitchen drawers are freshly painted. However, this is old cabinetry so the wooden drawers are meant to slide along the wooden “rails” they rest on. Problem is that the new paint is somewhat tacky even after several weeks, so the drawers are very difficult to open and close.

Anyone got a solution? I thought of graphite powder but I’m not sure it would work for this.

Graphite works best on metal (and could be a bit messy?)
Rub the rails with some dry-ish bath soap, it’s done the trick for me.

The rails shouldn’t have been painted, especially not with latex paint. The stuff never really gets hard. If you can scrape off the paint from the surfaces that are supposed to slide,do so. Then rub candle wax on those surfaces to act as a clean dry lubricant. The wax may help even if you can’t remove the paint.

My first thought was beeswax.

Pain in the butt , sorry, but nothing is going to beat a careful use of sandpaper on the sliding surfaces.

Try sanding off the paint on the parts of the drawers that actually come in contact with each other and then rub a candle along the slides. The wax should lube up the wood.

I’ll second the candle wax. First thing I’d try is rubbing down contact areas with a candle. That alone might do the trick.

Slick Strips.

Teflon adhesive tap you apply to the rail that’s attached to the cabinet. Easy to install, works fantastic.

Beeswax is too soft for long term sliding smoothness. I learned that the hard way :smack:

I prefer paraffin wax over candle wax. After scraping/sanding the paint on the rails away I would put down a coat of shellac before the wax. It dries hard, without any odor and makes a nice seal coat so the wax stays on the shellac instead of absorbing into the wood.

Candles often have dyes and other stuff mixed in that might not make them ideal. I’d use paraffin after removing the paint from the mating surfaces. Nylon tape might be easier.

Paint will naturally wear off the rails. Friction is a powerful force. :wink:

You can speed up the process by scraping it off. Fresh latex paint will come off easily.

Bar Soap or paraffin will make the drawer slide as intended.

you can use rubbing alcohol or other mineral spirits to remove paint.


I had a similar situation with a yard sae find old re-painted dresser.

I tried sanding and then wax, that worked, but was a pain in the butt.

In the end I used this "slippery tape. It worked great.,110,43466,32182

Yup, if the sanding and wax doesn’t work, go with UHMWP tape.