How to Tighten Inexpensive Cabinet Knobs

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.


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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  1. Vivian Castro says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have knobs that are hexagons and if they turn it look awful that they are all turned in different directions. Now with your magic trick they are staying put! I really, really appreciate it!

  2. Thank you so much for this post! I was about to lose my mind over some very beautiful knobs I found at Hobby Lobby and put on my bathroom vanity. I could not get them to tighten up and they just kept getting looser. The lock washers did the trick!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Steph – I am happy that the tip helped you to get your knobs to stay tight. They are a real bargain and too hard to pass up. I just added a whole collection of these knobs to my bath vanity and every knob got a lock washer. Thanks for reading my blog.

  3. I bought knobs from world market for my kitchen. Some worked and others I could not use because the screw was not long enough for the thick cabinet… I think I need to use the conventional nobs that screw into the knob?? Is there a way around this??

  4. Linda Manuel says:

    Love this tip! I have exactly the same doors and knobs! However my problem is that the pretty glass knob came off the screw – and these two knobs I paid $9 apiece for! This was before I knew you could get them online at Amazon and ebay for a bit of nothing . I’ve glued one back several times and guess I’ll be looking for the cheapies to just replace these two and have some extras to redo an old chest!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda – Sorry to hear that the glass part came off the knob. Grrrh!!! Did you try Gorilla Glue? That works great. It does foam up though, so you only need the tiniest drop, but after 24 hours it should hold the knob on for life.

  5. How do you cut off the screw length that sticks out too far into the drawer?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi LaDonna – This has to be done after the screw is in place. If you cut it before, you run the risk of messing up the threads and then they nuts won’t screw on at all. The easiest way to cut the screw length would be to use the cutting disk attachment on a rotary tool, like a Dremel. It would make it super easy. It is one very handy tool to have in your toolbox. If you don’t have the tool, a hack saw would work also. You would have to empty the contents of the draw to make room to move the saw back and forth across the screw.

  6. Wow they look really nice, like a piece of jewelry. I know I would enjoy them at my home. Thank you for this post, Diane!

  7. This is so awesome! I have MANY of these cute but annoying knobs in my house. What a simple solution!

    1. susan clary says:

      I just discovered your site and am excited to see what is in store for all your readers Susan

  8. Hey Diane. So I recently bought exactly this type of knob for my kitchen cabinet makeover. There hasn’t been any loosening so far, but I’ll certainly be pinning this post for future reference. You know… Just in case! Thank you so much. Sue x

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sue – That is good to know. Did yours have one washer, nut combo or two?

      1. You know, I actually couldn’t remember! So I’ve just quickly unscrewed one to check. They have 1 washer but I’ve also re-discovered the knob DOES come off. Duh! Honestly, I don’t know where my head is at. I assumed because they were cheapy, cheap, they must be the ones you described. That and one of them doesn’t screw in properly – the screw just keeps turning and doesn’t tighten. Any suggestions? Sx

        1. Diane Henkler says:

          Hi Sue – :-) For the knob with the screw that just keeps turning you may want to get thread tape. That should stop it and help secure the knobs.

          1. I’ll give that a go. Thank you :-)

  9. Kitty Forseth says:

    Thanks so much for the info, I work at TJ Maxx and have been buying the drawer pulls regularly! They have a 12 pack of the clear glass pulls now for $12.99. I went crazy today since it was employee’s 20% off weekend :).

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kitty – What a great place to work… getting to see all that comes in new before it gets picked over…and 20% off…great deal!

  10. Stacye Hixson says:

    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.

  11. 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. Diane Henkler says:

      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. amy abell says:

        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!)

  12. Very helpful, Diane! I would love to find some of these to try in my house.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      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.

  13. Nancy Rector says:

    So THAT’S why my knobs are loose all the time. Thanks so much Diane for the very helpful tip!