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How to Remove a Stripped Screw

Stripped screws can be a pain to remove, but with the right tools and tricks, you can make quick work of getting them out. We’ll show you some different ways to remove a stripped screw using things you probably already have on hand.

Skill Level: Beginner
  1. Method 1 Try a Different Screwdriver

    A person uses a screwdriver to remove a screw from a wall.

    If you’re stuck getting a screw out, sometimes all it takes is to switch the size of your screwdriver or to switch the type of screwdriver. For example, try using a larger or smaller head size and see if that helps. If you’re stuck getting a Philips-head screw out, try using a flat-head screwdriver to remove it. If it doesn’t loosen immediately, be sure to stop so you avoid stripping the screw.

  2. Method 2 Use a Rubber Band

    A person uses a rubber band to help them remove a stuck or stripped screw from a wall.

    Another trick is to grab a rubber band and place it flat-side down over top of the stripped screw. Place the head of your screwdriver into the rubber band, and then into the screw hole. This should provide some extra grip that can help loosen even the most stripped screws.

  3. Method 3 Use Pliers to Remove the Stuck Screw

    A person uses a pair of pliers to remove a stripped screw from a piece of lumber.

    If your screw is really stripped and none of the above methods have worked so far, consider avoiding a screwdriver entirely and use a pair of pliers to remove the screw. Simply pinch the head of the screw and try to turn it out manually. If the screw is deep into a wall or piece of lumber, you may not be able to get your pliers around it, in which case you can try one of the next methods.

  4. Method 4 Cut a Notch on the Screw Head with a Rotary Tool

    A person uses a rotary tool with a cutting disc to cut a notch into a screw in order to use a flat head to try and remove it.

    If you’ve got access to a rotary tool and a cutting disc, you can cut a flat notch into the screw head. This should give you enough of an area to fit a flat-head screwdriver into it and try and loosen it. If your flat-head screwdriver is still skipping, try and cut the notch a but deeper or a bit wider to ensure that you’ve got the right amount of space for it to fit in and grab tightly.

  5. Method 5 Use a Screw Extractor Bit

    A person uses a drill with a screw extractor bit to remove a stripped screw from a piece of lumber.

    There are different types of screw extractors, but the typical screw extractor kits feature hardened-steel bits with two different ends: a burnishing end and a threaded end. Load the screw extractor bit into your drill with the burnishing end facing outward and drill into the top of the screw, leaving a divot. Then, switch your bit to the threaded end and set it to reverse. Drill into the screw head and your screw should start to come out.

    With these helpful tips, you should be able to get any screw out!

What You Need for This Project

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