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How to Tighten Inexpensive Cabinet Knobs

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I know you love a bargain as much as I do. I especially love it when it comes to finding inexpensive cabinet knobs since they can get very costly when you need more than one to makeover a dresser or an entire kitchen. I love when I find something for a whole lot less than I know it would be elsewhere.

I have learned though that sometimes a bargain is a bargain because there is something a little off about the item.

How-to-tighten-inexpensive cabinet-knobs

This is the case with the very pretty glass door knobs I added to the louvered doors I recently painted and posted about.

how to fix a loose inexpensive cabinet knob bought at discount stores

You can find these inexpensive furniture or cabinet knobs at retailers such as HomeGoods, World Market, Hobby Lobby, and Anthropologie.

inexpensive cabinet-knobs-from-HomeGoods

They are usually sold in packs at HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls, and singles at the other stores I mentioned above. Some come with backs or spanners, others only have a screw and nut to secure them.

Key tassel for furniture drawers

I used this style knob when I made over my bedroom dresser.

Cabinet knob installation tip

And the powder room cabinet in my previous house.

The knobs are pretty and well made, but what is slightly off about them is the way you attach them.

How to install a cabinet knob

Conventionally made knobs have a hole in the back of the knob like the one in the photo above. They come with a screw that goes from the back of a drawer/cabinet to the front of the cabinet and then into the hole in the back of the knob. You tighten it with a screwdriver.

How to tighten a cabinet knob

When you buy inexpensive cabinet knobs that are made in India or other foreign lands…the screw is usually attached to the knob, it is all in one piece, not two. When attaching it to a cabinet/drawer, you place the long screw through the front of a cabinet/drawer. A washer and nut are used to secure it. It works, the knobs will not fall off, but I have found they do loosen over time and need to be re-tightened… very often.

To stop this from happening, there is a simple fix.

Split and tooth washers needed when tightening cabinet knobs

The next time you are at the hardware store, pick up a few small lock washers in the same diameter as the flat washer(s) that came with the knob. They can be either “split washers” or “serrated tooth washers”. Both will work.

Where to buy and how to tighten loose cabinet knobs.

Simply replace the flat washers that comes with this style of cabinet knob with one of these washers.

  • When using a split washer, you can leave a flat washer in place first, then add the split washer, then the nut.
  • When using a serrated washer, there is no need for a flat washer.  Just the serrated washer and nut will help to keep the knob tight.
  • If the drawer or cabinet gets constant use, you can double up. Add a line up of lock washer, nut, lock washer, nut.

VARIATION:

You can also use a thread locking tape or glue found at the home improvement store. Loctite makes two that I know of that can be removed with a hand tool. Loctite 248 glue and Loctite Quicktape 249. Just make sure it says on the label that the glue can be removed by simply using a hand tool. You don’t want to use a heavy duty glue that will make the knob impossible to remove in the future.

Inexpensive glass door knob

You may not need inexpensive cabinet knobs right now, but someday if you ever purchase this style of cabinet knob, you will know how to install them so they will stay nice and tight for a long time.

Inexpensive glass doorknobs bought at HomeGoods

A bargain that needs a little tweak to make perfect!

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28 Comments

  1. Thank you so much Diane. This information is going to be so useful. I do get so tired of constantly re-tightening knobs on everything. You’re doing a great job on the new house.

  2. Thanks so much! I’m planning on painting all of my bedroom furniture and have already bought knobs similar to those on your bathroom vanity, so now I know how to install them properly.

    1. Hi Brigitte – I am so happy that the post will help you. I am never sure if I should post about little things like this, but I figure the knobs are everywhere and if I have had a problem, everyone else probably has too. I am not sure why they don’t just sell the knobs with locking washers. They are not expensive, pennies more maybe:-)

      1. I love getting great tips on “little things”, particularly since I’ll be replacing 19 knobs on the furniture. Thanks again!

      2. These types of little things are what separate you from the pack! You have so much experience with your background and your creativity comes through in every post. Tried & true. Thanks for sharing them. (Although I still can’t wait to see your foyer transformation either! Big stuff is good too!)

    1. Hi Jen – If you ever shop at any of the stores I listed in my post, you are sure to find them. Sometimes they are hit or miss at HomeGoods, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx, but they always have them at World Market, Hobby Lobby and Anthropologie.