Editor Update: Since writing this tutorial, IKEA has recalled its KULLEN and MALM chests and dressers, among other products. I returned the set shown here for nearly $300 – and they even came to pick them up because I live several hours from the nearest store. If you believe your IKEA drawer is eligible for a recall, here’s a direct link to the info you need on IKEA.com.
We IKEA-lovers encounter problems like this from time-to-time. An IKEA drawer can be wonderfully designed (and affordable) but its materials just aren’t intended to outlast us. But, with a little regular TLC, we can damn well try.
My biggest issue has always been with IKEA drawers, particularly with the dresser units they sell. Put too much of something (socks), or anything too heavy in them (dense wool sweaters), and over time the bottom board warps under the weight. This shift is just enough to force the bottom of the drawer to slip out of its groove. And if you’re like me, that sag ends up pinching on the clothing in the drawer beneath it, damaging fibers and ruining garments.
How to Fix an IKEA Drawer
The quick fix (that I’ve done many times over the years [decades])? Glue it. Spend $5 and invest in some strong adhesive. Gorilla glue is a polyurethane glue, and it’s great (if you can keep the expansion qualities under control). Basic wood glue works in some cases, but it doesn’t hold well universally when you consider that many IKEA pieces are particleboard or plastic.
I prefer E-6000. I’ve used it all around the house; a quick fix for everything from fabric to damaged shoes, to IKEA drawers. When it comes to repairing IKEA drawers, glue application is a cinch because the affected drawers already have the perfect glue-holding groove in them. It’s a great stocking stuffer, too, hint-hint-nudge-hint.
Step 1: Bend the drawer panel out of the way just enough to expose the groove.
Step 2: Apply a thick bead of glue to the exposed groove.
Step 3: Once applied, fit the shelf back into the groove, and then add weight (like a mountain of books). The weight will force the connection until the glue dries (12-24 hours).
I’ve never had to do it twice to the same drawer, despite how many socks I try and cram into that once-broken drawer.
(P.S. This particular IKEA drawer is part of the much-loved set that’s in my master bedroom. I unveiled that room here if you want to peek around. Take off your shoes, I don’t want dirt in my Pebble Rug.)
IKEA Recall Reminder
This dresser is from the MALM collection at IKEA, but many units are discontinued and on recall. Remember that you may be able to return your IKEA dresser to the store for a credit… even if broken… or repaired with glue. I owned two sets; one with 4 drawers, and one with 5 (where the top level is actually two smaller drawers). Based on their age (~10+ years), I received a reimbursement of $275.