The Easy Fix For Sticking Windows

Stuck window got you, well, stuck? We've all been there. Even if the ones in your home are brand new, there's something about double-hung windows, especially, that makes you really work to open them. Some may not even budge at all — and for seemingly no good reason. Perhaps they've been installed in recent years or they're decent-grade vinyl — maybe even a well-constructed wood — and yet you still can't seem to crack them open for a bit of fresh air.

Your first instinct might be to grab a trusty can of WD-40, but The Spruce warns against that. Adding any sort of oil, especially on a vinyl window, is a classic band-aid fix. You might be lucky enough to get the window open temporarily, but, once it gets chilly and the window is shut again, you'll be back to square one since oil dries tacky and attracts more dust and debris, sealing it closed once more. 

Instead, here's the easiest fix for opening sticking windows.

A poor paint job might cause a stuck window

The sticky window dilemma dates back decades because, time and time again, people — whether it's DIY homeowners or hasty painting professionals — tend to paint over window joints. The paint then drips between the sash of the window (the part that slides) and the window jambs, effectively sealing it shut once dried (via

Ironically enough, the best fix is the same as it was all the way back in 1989 when the Los Angeles Times published an "open-and-shut cure" for tricky windows. All you need is a putty knife or sharp blade. Simply run it between the edges separating the sash and the rest of the window, breaking through some of that aged paint. You should be able to lift the window with a little bit of effort once you've worked on all three sides. If you're still struggling, add a bit of professional window lubricant (and, we repeat, not WD-40) to get things moving again.

Moisture makes wooden windows stick

Depending on the kind of window you're trying to open, you may want to consider the other common culprit for this sticky situation: humidity. Since wood can expand under certain conditions, like damp air or moisture, it's a regular occurrence for a traditional double-hung wood frame to get stuck in the summertime or in moist environments.

Start by placing a humidifier in the room to help dry the air. This will slowly allow the wood to contract, making it easier to shake and shimmy the window open until you can let in some air. If you don't have a humidifier, WCMA Net recommends using a hairdryer instead. In fact, this might get the job done faster since you can directly aim it at the trim of the stubborn window and help loosen things up.

It might be tempting to splurge on a portable air conditioner or fancy fan instead of fixing your sticking windows, but nothing beats fresh air flowing through a window on a cool spring morning — and it may prevent your electric bill from going through the roof.