Cleaning Dusty Drawer Slides

How to clean out and re-lubricate a batch of dusty old door slides from the back of the shop. June 22, 2010

I've got a couple of boxes of kv8400 that sat in the corner of the shop for a couple of years and are full of sawdust. Is it even possible to get the dust out? How would you do it? I did learn from this mistake. I store and install my slides in a clean room.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor C:
Run them through a parts washer at your local auto repair and re-lube.

From contributor M:
With what (and how) do you re-lube them?

From contributor P:
The combination of dust and grease produces some amazing guck! I'd recycle them and move on, or clean them out the best I could and use them for shop cabinets. Seems to me you'd burn a lot of time washing and trying to re-lube, and one field callback will burn whatever money you saved.

About 30 pairs of stored Accurides bit the dust during my last major shop cleaning - just not worth the trouble. Sealed boxes for me from now on.

From contributor C:
I re-lube all my slides as I finish with them in place. Before masking off the slides, I have to remove the lubricant on the top and bottom slides for the tape to stick. So after finishing I have to re-lube and I do so with white lithium grease.

I've never used a parts washer, but I have had to clean slides of dust and use thinner and a brush. It seemed to me that with two boxes, a parts washer might be an idea.

You might ask why I finish with the slides in place. It's because the majority of my drawers have an installed face using inserts and I go for a 2mm space between drawers. I don't like installing pre-finished faces so as to prevent shop rash.

From the original questioner:
My brother has a parts washer. I will wash one set and use in my own kitchen, then if all goes well, next year I will clean the other 25 sets. Thanks.

From contributor B:
I found about 20 pair of slides in my shop covered in dust. Opened them up, lined them all up, and sprayed them with compressed air with a blower with a small (like 3/32") tip while brushing lightly with a brush. The little tip blasts out the dust. Then misted on some WD40 and wiped them all down. Took a half hour or so, and they looked good as new. Could hardly tell a difference in slide action from new ones. It would be a shame to toss them out.