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How to Remove Desk Drawers – A Complete Guide 2022

How to remove desk drawers? It sounds like an easy question, but the answer is actually pretty complicated. There are different types of drawers and some require special tools.

You might think that you can just use a hammer or screwdriver, but these can damage your desk and it’s not what we recommend! Read on for how to remove all sorts of drawer types from your desk with ease.

In this guide, we are pointing out some of the most frequent drawer mechanisms and appropriate methods you can use for removing drawers as simply and smoothly as possible. All you need to do is identify the type of drawer slide to remove them correctly.

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Remove Desk Drawer Methods

How to Remove Desk Drawers

Metal Glides with Levers

Metal-glide drawer slide with levers is most popular. This means that your furniture may have this type of hardware. These steps will help you remove drawers from a steel glide.

Start with the top drawer and work your way down. This rule is applicable if you are removing more than one drawer. Your desk won’t be too heavy or unbalanced. This can lead to a potentially dangerous situation. It’s safe and easy to start at the top, then work your way down. The most weight is at its bottom.

Stand in front of your desk and open the drawer as far out as you can. One hand should be used on each side of the drawer to open the drawer. You should leave some distance between yourself and the drawer to allow it to open to its natural stopping point.

Find the track levers. These should be located in the middle of each drawer’s track. The track levers may be straight, or curvy, depending on the desk. Straight levers are standard for drawer slides that have full extension. Three-quarter slides have a curved track lever.

Use both your hands to simultaneously press the levers. If the lever is straight, this is simple. Just press down as hard as you can. For a curved lever, you will need to press down until the area is flat.

Hold the levers and push the drawer out. It should be easy to lift the drawer out. The tracks will be visible at the front of the drawer after you have removed them. You can push the tracks back by using a parallel and straight motion.

Anti-Tip Mechanisms (Relatively Common, Usually on Cheaper Furniture)

Anti-tip furniture drawers have cables that stop multiple drawers from being opened simultaneously. This prevents furniture from tipping over and causing it to become unstable. Anti-tip cables can help with this, but they also add another step to the drawer-removal procedure. These steps will make it easy to remove anti-tip drawers.

If you are going to be removing multiple drawers, start with the top drawer. This keeps the furniture’s weight down. It is safer and easier to remove the top drawer before you start working on furniture.

Place your feet in front of the furniture to ensure that the drawer can fully remove. Reach for the front handle of your drawer and extend it outward. Pull the drawer outward until it feels firm. If you find it easier to pull the drawer out this way, you can hold on to the drawer’s front bottom. However, be careful not to touch the tracks.

You can see the anti-tip cables attached to the drawer’s rear exterior by removing the entire drawer. To unscrew the cable, use a screwdriver. The cable is usually accompanied to the drawer using a Phillips head screw.

Find and press the disconnect tabs. They’ll be found on the right and left sides of the metal tracks. Both tabs should be pressed down simultaneously. Continue to press down on both tabs simultaneously and press inwardly as you pull out the drawer.

With the tabs down pull the drawer out. Pull the drawer towards you and tilt it upward. The drawer should come free of the furniture. The drawer is likely to be heavy, so be careful. The drawer’s side will likely be marked with a number.

It is essential to note the number as it indicates the slot where the drawer will fit in. The drawers are usually numbered from top to bottom, with smaller numbers being more significant. The drawer marked one will be the top drawer. This will make it easier to reassemble your furniture.

You will see the tracks protruding slightly from your furniture. Before you start working on the piece, push the metal tracks into the furniture.

Tip: In some cases, it may be necessary to push down or pull up on the disconnect tabs (or perform both actions simultaneously) in order to disengage them.

Stabilizer Screws

Stabilizer screws are sometimes used on heavy desks. These screws can be removed easily, even though they require an additional step. Follow these steps:

Start by working on each drawer one at a time, moving down from the top. Most drawers that hold heavy items are often fitted with stabilizer screws. This is why the top-to-bottom approach is so important. This prevents the desk from being too heavy and unbalanced. An unstable desk can topple over.

Stand in front of the desk, leave enough space for the drawer to extend fully. Grab the drawer handle with both hands. To hold the drawer on either side, you can use both your hands. Keep your fingers safe from the metal tracks.

As far as possible, pull out the drawer. The drawer should touch the stopper.

You will find two stabilizer screws in the drawer.

Find the catch tabs at the drawer’s sides. To pinch the catch tabs, use your index and thumb. This will free the drawer from the side tracks.

Once the drawer is out, take it out completely. Even though the drawer is empty, it may still be quite heavy, so be careful. You can remove the drawer by checking the side for a number, usually on a sticker. This number indicates which desk opening the drawer is located in. This number is essential when you are putting the drawers back.

Finally, push the tracks in. Push the center stabilizer track in parallel and straight.

Read also our guide about methods to Organize Your Desk, Click here.

Soft Close

How to Remove Desk Drawers

These soft-close drawers can be found on high-end furniture and custom cabinets. Unlike traditional rollers or rails, this type of drawer guide helps prevent drawers from being closed too tightly. It can also help to prevent damage from occurring. The drawer guide will gently close the last few inches even if it was not pushed very hard. These are the steps to take to get rid of soft-close drawers.

First, empty the drawer. This will make the process of removing it more accessible.

The guides can be extended by pulling the drawer open so that it is as far as possible out of the way.

To check if there are any locking levers or clips in the drawer guides, Remove any clips found on the drawer guides. Push the lever on the drawer guides while pulling the drawer out.

Continue pulling the drawer outward until it is completely off of the rails. To fully take it out, you might have to tilt the drawer downward.

Remove Roll Top From Desk Method

The flexible cover for a roll-top desk is a cover that can be folded down to cover the top. This allows you to create a hidden compartment at your desk. This design is almost obsolete, but here’s how to remove a roll-top from your desk.

Close all drawers, particularly those under the roll top.

To expose the screws connecting the roll-top and the desk, open the roll-top. To locate the screws, take out any drawers that are under the roll top.

Use a Philips screwdriver to remove the screws.

Take the roll-top of the desk off and take out the tambour, sliding slatted doors.

Check for damage to the various parts of your desk. After fixing your desk, you can install the roll-top by simply screwing it back into place.

Remove Wood Drawer Slides Method

How to Remove Desk Drawers

Wood-drawer slides are most commonly found on old desks. It will take some effort to pull these drawers out.

Start with the top drawer and work your way down.

Pull the drawer out as far as you can. The drawer will stop at the built-in stopping point.

Use your hands and force to pull the drawer towards you. The process should be simple if your desk has two sidetracks. If your desk has only one wooden track at its center, it will be easier to get it out.

Remove Drawers with Screws Method

Empty the drawer and begin from the top.

Screws will be placed on the bottom side of the drawer track. The catch tab holds the drawer in its place by attaching the screw to it.

Use a screwdriver or a wrench to remove the screw.

Use the catch tab to separate the two tracks and pull the drawer out. Then you can remove a drawer easily.

Remove File Cabinet Drawers Method

The file cabinet drawer is typically attached using European-style hinges and slides. Once you know the type of slides that was used to attach the file cabinet, it is simple to take it out. This is how to take out this type of drawers that have side slides.

Identify the slide that was used to mount the drawers.

You can use friction slides to disconnect the drawer by applying gentle pressure.

If the lever/button slide is located on the drawer, open it all the way and lift the drawer slightly to find the button or lever. To disengage the drawer, push the lever/button.

Push latch slides can be disengaged by pressing the button on their latch.

To remove rail disconnect slides (Rail disconnect slides commonly feature over-travel for full access to the drawer’s contents), first, remove all slide members.

Remove Drawers With Full Extension Slide

Full-extension drawer slides are mostly used with longer and wider drawers. These slides are most commonly found on 12-inch drawers. These can be attached to either the bottom or side of the drawer.

Take the drawer apart to reveal its full length.

To release the full extension slide, locate the button/lever/latch and press it. To remove the bottom slide, lift the drawer and gently feel the slide with your finger until you locate the latch. Side slides can be found by simply looking at the slides.

To remove any safety tabs, tilt the drawer at an angle to clear it from the top of the dresser or cabinet.

Pulling this drawer gently until you hear a soft click. To unjam a drawer that is stuck, you can also try to wiggle the drawer free.

Read also: https://www.creativebloq.com/buying-guides/best-office-storage-drawers


How to Remove Desk Drawers

How do I put the drawers back?

The drawers will have levers if you have ball-bearing gliders. Line the drawers up carefully by pressing the levers on the sides of the drawer. You will feel the drawers clicking in place once you begin to slide them back in. You should feel the drawers glide easily for you.

How do I remove a drawer that has a bottom track and a block on it?

To pry it out, use a putty knife. Take it out as far you can and then slide the putty knife underneath.

Can I buy the plastic gliders that attach to the drawer?

Yes, you can buy them online or look for them in your local hardware or furniture stores.

What do I do if my draws only go 3/4 of the way and stop?

The ball bearing gliders should glide all the time if properly installed, including ensuring that they are the correct size. You can squeeze the levers on either side, and they will open; unless they become worn out.

They opened about an inch, and I was able to pry them open with a flathead screwdriver. The most important thing to remember when replacing them is that they should be lined up correctly and level.


When it comes to removing drawers from the desk, you want to know the correct process in order for everything to go smoothly. For example, if you are using a type of drawer that needs a keyhole wrench then make sure you have one handy before beginning the removal process.

And don’t forget about safety! Make sure there is nothing on your feet and take care not to catch any part of yourself on anything during this task. After all of these precautions have been taken into account, you can remove the drawer carefully following our instructions above for whichever type of drawer you may be working with today.

Remembering just these few things will help ensure an easy and safe time when you need to remove the drawers from one of your desks, cabinets, dressers, or similar pieces of furniture.

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