One-minute fix for loose knobs and pulls | The Old Farmer's Almanac

One-Minute Fix for Loose Cabinet Knobs and Pulls

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With a Phillips screwdriver and some inexpensive hardware-store washers that cost a dime or so, you’ll fix those annoying loose knobs and pulls on your kitchen cabinets in no time!

Ten-cent Fix for a Loose Knob

Most knobs and pulls are attached on the backside of your cupboard doors and drawers with a standard-length, threaded screw. When the door or drawer is not thick enough for the screw to tighten the knob flush against it, grasping that perpetually wobbly knob each day can be an enduring pain. 

But, this is not one of those things you must live with, and here’s how to get a grip. While you can buy shorter screws, it’s really handy to keep some washers on hand to adjust knobs that loosen over time. Choose washers with holes that can accommodate the width of the screw thread—as in the photo, the washer for a standard-sized knob screw is about half an inch wide.  

Usually one or two washers per knob will take up the slack, but for pennies more it doesn’t hurt to have a few extras on hand. Visually, the washers blend in behind a screw of the same color so even a short stack won’t look obtrusive. 


How to Safely Remove the Knob

Back home, use one hand to hold the knob and the other to hold the screwdriver securely in the grooves of the screw head. Particularly if your knob is glass or ceramic, carefully turn the knob counterclockwise by hand to loosen it against the screwdriver’s resistance. Keep a tight hold on the knob so that it doesn’t drop to the floor when it disengages. 

If the screwdriver can’t remove the now-exposed screw from the backside, try gently tapping the threaded end of the screw to help get it unstuck.  

Once the screw is free, thread a washer or two onto it to rest against the screw head. Insert the screw back through the inside of the door or drawer. Then, hand-turn the knob back onto the threaded end until it’s just barely snug. 

Tightening the Knob or Pull

To finish off, while holding the knob stationary, gently tighten the assembly using the screwdriver from the other side. But, do not overtighten! This is critical with glass and delicate knobs because the stress may break the knob or stem. 

If the knob is still a little wobbly, repeat the process and add another washer. Once you have this down, you can fix any door or drawer in a minute, rapidly ending a daily annoyance forevermore! 


About The Author

Tom Dvorak

Tom Dvorak, a civil engineer, also writes for Family Handyman about DIY home improvement. Read More from Tom Dvorak

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