How to Safely Remove Pull-out Shelves

Screwing the hardware on a pull out shelf
  • 1-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-50
What You'll Need
Pry bar
Safe place to set your screws and cabinet doors

A pull-out shelf can be a fantastic asset to your kitchen, but if it begins to sag or buckle, or if you are remodeling and need to remove the shelves to use the space for other purposes, the process can be a bit frustrating and lead to unnecessary damage to your cabinets. With a little patience and knowledge, however, this damage can be avoided, and the task of removing your pull-out shelf can be completed in very little time with relatively few tools.

Step 1 - Remove the Cabinet Door

While it is not always necessary to remove the cabinet door in order to remove the pull-out shelf, it's a good idea to follow this step, just to be on the safe side. By removing the cabinet door, you remove the possibility of damaging it while removing the pull-out shelves. Gently unscrew the cabinet door and place it on a soft surface to avoid any bumps, dents, or scratches. Put the screws in a safe place (an empty margarine tub works well!) until you are ready to put the door back on.

Step 2 - Remove the Drawer

drawers and rolling shelves rolled out

Now that the cabinet doors are out of the way, it should be an easy task to slide the metal sliders out as far as they will go without damaging your existing cabinets. Most slide-out shelves look like shallow drawers, and are attached by sliding metal brackets. Some prefabricated pull-out shelves are made of wire-meshed metal, but the hardware is usually the same with very little variation.

Much like removing the pull-out shelf from your oven or refrigerator, often all that is required is that you gently pull the shelf out as far as the metal slider will allow it to travel, and then tilt the shelf up and down, wiggling it this way while pulling firmly (be careful not to tumble backwards when the shelf comes out) on the pull-out shelf. Depending on the age and composition of the metal brackets and the shelf, it may take more or less work to accomplish this step.

Step 3 - Remove the Hardware

Once you have removed the drawer portion of your slide-out shelf, you should be left with the external portion of your metal sliders and the cleats they're attached to. Take your screwdriver and unscrew the slider, and then the cleats. While this process sounds simple, it is unfortunately possible your slide-out shelves were improperly installed, or that nails were used to attach the cleats to the inside of your cabinet.

If you cannot use a screwdriver to remove the rails and cleats, try using a pry bar. Gently wedge the flat-end of the pry bar into the space between the cleat and the side of the cabinet. Applying gentle pressure, edge the pry bar along the depth of the cabinet/length of the cleat to loosen the cleat. Continue this process until you have loosened the cleat and the attached hardware sufficiently enough to remove it. Reattach your cabinet door, and your task is done!