How to Remove a Stripped Screw – 9 Simple Methods

We’ve listed a few step-by-step easy techniques on how to remove a stripped screw. They may be available to you in your toolbox, home, or nearest hardware store!

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How to Remove a Stripped Screw – 9 Simple Methods
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How to Remove a Stripped Screw – 9 Simple Methods

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How to Remove a Stripped Screw – 9 Simple Methods


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While some screws are easy to work with, stripped screws are every handyman’s worst nightmare. Even if you’re working on your backyard project, stripped screws can be very frustrating to deal with.

A stripped screw has a damaged screw head and no proper grip. It makes removing them time-consuming and, frankly, an inconvenience. Several tools and techniques can simplify the process.

We’ve listed a few step-by-step easy techniques on how to remove a stripped screw, big or small. They may be available to you in your toolbox, home, or nearest hardware store!

Looking for more great ideas ☍ ? Check out all our articles on this topic.

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Which Technique Do I Choose?

 To figure out how to remove a screw with a stripped head, assessing the extent of the damage is essential.

Some stripped screws may be mildly damaged when compared to others. The process of removing them can be more straightforward and may require tools that are easily accessible.

Some screws, however, may require a laborious process. This may be more strenuous and may require more time and force too. But with the right tools and technique, nothing is impossible.

Here’s what you can do:

1.    Tap A Manual Screwdriver In

You’ll need the most basic garage tools for this technique – a hammer and a screw driver. The screwdriver must be appropriately sized for the stripped screw.

Some stripped screws may be smaller. You may find these in devices such as laptops as well! If you’re wondering how to remove a stripped screw, this technique may be the one.

Once you obtain a screwdriver that is suitably sized, tap the screwdriver into the indent. You must do this by gently tapping the grip of the screwdriver with a hammer.

Please be gentle as you do not want the screwdriver to go too far in or increase the damage.

The screwdriver can then be easily rotated and the screw removed!

2.    Use A Rubber Band

How to remove a stripped screw with a rubber band

That’s right. When combined with an appropriately sized screwdriver, rubber or elastic bands are an excellent solution to stripped screws.

The rubber bit of the band can be placed over the stripped screw head. You should then insert the screwdriver into the screw head. The friction created by the rubber band helps provide a better grip and can make unscrewing easier.

Depending on what is more accessible to you, steel wool can be used as an alternative to rubber bands.

3.    Pull It Out With Pliers

This technique can be used in some specific situations but is incredibly useful.

It is necessary to assess the position of the screw head.

If it is slightly above the surface or placed at an angle, you may use pliers to loosen the screw. These can be self-locking or needle-nose pliers.

By gently locking the screw head with your plier, you can pull the screw gently until it breaks free from the surface. This may require some force.

This can also be useful while navigating how to remove a stripped screw from a laptop.

This requires minimal downforce hence protecting delicate items such as a laptop.

4.    Use A Flathead Screwdriver

The usage of a flathead screwdriver is similar to that of pliers. It may be helpful in specific situations only! It is usually applicable for Philips screws.

To assess the angle and space between the screw and the surface, you should be able to see some light pass through.

A flathead screwdriver could then be inserted in this space with appropriate pressure and pulled upwards. This can quickly relieve the pressure between the surfaces and cause the screw to loosen up. It can then be unscrewed easily or extracted by a plier.

5.    Drill In Reverse

You can unscrew the stripped screw using a left handed drill bit or by simply setting the drill in reverse too!

Similar to how you’d equip a screwdriver in normal circumstances, you can gently drill the head of the screw counterclockwise. This would help create a small indent or hole in the stripped screw head and thus increase control.

You can then easily remove the stripped screw when it pops out!

While we recommend a wireless drill with appropriately sized drill bits that fit your screw, this technique is effective either way.

You should be careful, though, considering the stripped screw may be fragile.

6.    Indent The Screw Head

In some circumstances, altering the structure of the screw is necessary to unscrew it. This may be effective if the screw head does not have a hole in it or if the head is exposed.

If you have access to a Dremel, hacksaw, or any other welding or rotary tools, this technique may be handy to you. A slotted or flathead screwdriver is also required.

You can use the Dremel or other tools to create a slight cut or indent into the stripped screw head. This should not be too deep but deep enough to provide a better grip on the flathead screwdriver.

Once the screwdriver has a good grip on the screw head, it can be rotated to loosen the screw off.

7.    Glue A Nut And Use A Wrench

Another incredibly effective technique requires super glue or strong bonding adhesives, nuts, and a wrench. You may use any cyanoacrylate adhesive brand such as Infinity Bond, Permabond, or Loctite.

This technique requires the stripped screw head to be slightly elevated, which may be accomplished with the flathead screwdriver.

It is essential to make sure that the nut is clean and ready for bonding. With the help of earbuds or the fine tip of the glue bottle, apply some glue onto the nut.

The nut will need to be placed over the stripped screw head and held in place firmly with any tool such as a plier.

Once the bonding is complete, the nut and the screw can be rotated firmly yet gently using a wrench. This will effectively loosen the screw.

This technique is always successful and can be used in case the screw head is incredibly damaged too!

8.    Applying Liquid Friction

Some people may use abrasive powders, and some may use liquid friction, such as EZ Grip Friction Drops or DriveGrip. Liquid friction is a tool that is specifically made to alter the grip for stripped screws.

This increases the friction between the stripped screw and a screwdriver. The grip enables smooth control over the screw and quickly allows unscrewing.

This is usually used in mildly damaged stripped screws and not very effective in majorly damaged ones.

9.    Using A Screw Extractor

A screw extractor is the Holy Grail of removing stripped screws from any surface.

It is the physical form of the undo button for stripped screws and is designed specifically for them.

While the tool is available for purchase at any hardware store, it may not be a household commodity. But we highly recommend it should be!

It is available on Amazon or any online shopping platform too. Also, it is usually inexpensive and is a handy tool to keep around.

A screw extractor is a tool that fits into the indent, hole, or damaged bits of the stripped screw. It facilitates movement and is used in reverse mode to unscrew stripped screws.

It requires some downward force but a gentle hand.

By establishing the perfect grip, the screw extractor tool can unwind the screw in no time.

What Causes Stripped Heads, And How Can I Avoid Them?

Stripped screws are common consequences of garage or carpentry projects. If you find yourself in this position a lot, it may be due to many reasons.

This could be due to improper usage of the tools or not using the right tools at all!

The structure, size, and basic design of the screwdriver matter a lot.

It is also essential to consider the fragility of the screw and the pressure you must apply to them.

More specifically, Philips screws are much easier to become stripped or damaged.

Before using screws on any surface, you should also create appropriately sized pilot holes with a drill machine. These should be slightly thinner than the actual diameter of the screw.

This helps avoid stripping and makes the process much simpler.

You should also avoid angled screws. The pressure applied to them is much higher and causes wear and tear of the screw heads.

This can be done by aligning the axis of the screw with the surface appropriately.

Final Notes

It is important to consider your safety while assessing the right way to remove a stripped screw. While these techniques may be easy, they require skill, force, and patience. If the tools are not used properly, they may cause serious injury!

Still, while it may be incredibly nerve-racking to remove stripped screws, it isn’t impossible. Please make sure to use the right tools and techniques for all your projects to avoid wasting time with stripped screws. A good idea is to invest in a screw extractor.

While unwinding these screws may be easy, unwinding your mind after a day of struggling with them may not be! Don’t give up. Learn how to remove stripped screws today!

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