Do you remember when your toolbox was brand-new? The drawers slid in and out with such ease that you had to be careful to avoid sending tools flying across the room. Now the slides are so dirty you have to actually work to pull a drawer out.
It is normal for toolbox drawer slides to accumulate dirt. After all, you use your tools in dirty environments. The longer the slides go without being cleaned, the more dirt accumulates. Not cleaning them may eventually put you in a place of not being able to open the drawers.
You’ll be happy to know that cleaning toolbox drawer slides is incredibly easy, and it can be done in mere minutes. All you need are a few hand tools, a degreaser, and a foaming window cleaner. This post will describe everything in detail.
Remove the Tools and Drawers
You are going to want to remove the drawers in order to gain complete access to the slides. Do yourself a favor and empty the drawers before removing them. Most toolbox drawers are secured to the rails with either screws, tabs, or clips. If yours are secured by screws, an easy way to keep track of said screws is to screw them back into the drawers after removal.
What you do next depends on the type of slides you are looking at. You may have a single piece slide held in place by a rail mounted to the inside of the toolbox. Or you might have a telescoping slide with multiple parts. Single-piece slides should be easy enough to remove. If you are working with a multi-piece slide, do your best to clean it without taking it apart. Just remove it from the toolbox and clean it as-is.
Decrease and Clean
Next, use a rag to apply some degreaser to each of the slides. This will loosen any grease and embedded grime. A toothbrush or cotton swab will let you work the degreaser into tight spaces. Then use a rag to wipe it all off. Follow with a foaming window cleaner to remove any residue.
A foaming window cleaner is recommended because it will not leave a film behind. You can spray it directly onto the slides if you want. Let it foam for a few seconds and then wipe it off with a rag.
Put It Back Together
The final step for cleaning toolbox drawer slides is to put everything back together and apply a little bit of oil. Grease is often recommended for cabinetry, but I recommend not using it on toolboxes as it just attracts dirt and grime. Use a 3-in-1 oil or lubricating spray. Whatever you do, don’t apply too much oil or you’ll find that the slides attract dirt more quickly.
Also note that WD-40 is not a lubricant. It is a degreaser and water displacer. It might help the slides move back and forth initially but, within a couple of days, its lubricating effects will be all but gone.
As you reattach each drawer, move it in and out a few times to work in the oil. Make sure everything fits and works correctly. You may find that one or more slides needs a bit more oil after reattaching the drawer.
You should be able to clean each slide in a minute or two. In under an hour your toolbox should feel just like it did when you first brought it home. Drawers should slide out with very little effort, so be careful. Pull too hard and your tools could go flying.