Home Decorating Do It Yourself Magazine 8 Ways To Remove A Stripped Screw, Recommended By A Professional Contractor

8 Ways To Remove A Stripped Screw, Recommended By A Professional Contractor


Stripped Screw

The common causes of stripped screws

Stripped screws are the bane of the screwdriver-wielding mechanic’s existence. They’re usually the result of improper installation or over-tightening, but there are other causes too.

Corrosion (from water damage), rust, and wear from everyday use (i.e., turning bolts) are the most common. If you’re ever faced with a stripped screw, the first step is determining the cause.

Next, try to repair it using the following steps: gently pry off the old screw with a pick or Allen key; apply clamps around the circumference of the head of the screw to hold while you unscrew using a ratchet or wrench; replace the Screw as needed.

If the stripped screw is beyond repair, consult an expert. In the meantime, you can easily use this guide to remove stripped screws!

These are the procedures recommended for removing a stripped screw.

1. The method recommended by experts: Invest in a screw extractor

If none of the do-it-yourself methods below work, professional contractors remove stripped screws using screw extractor sets. If your screw is stripped, you must purchase a screw extractor.

This is a tool that can be found at most hardware stores. To use the screw extractor, first drill a hole into the center of the stripped screw using a drill bit that is the same size as the extractor.

Next, insert the extractor into the hole-stripped screw and turn it counterclockwise. The extractor will grab onto the screw and allow you to remove it.

Be sure to purchase the correct size of screw extractor for your stripped screw. For any questions, please contact the sales staff at your local hardware store for assistance.

2. Make use of ScrewGrab

ScrewGrab is a gel that increases friction when applied to a stripped screw head. Professionals keep a bottle in their toolbox because it is frequently helpful.

Add a few drops to the screw opening to aid the screwdriver’s grip. This is also an excellent method for small, delicate screws, such as those found on a computer or phone.

3. Using a hammer, tap the screwdriver

One of the simplest ways to repair a stripped screw is to tap the screwdriver lightly into the screw with a hammer.

This will allow you to seat the tool deeply enough to remove the stripped screw. Pros recommend beginning with a very gentle tap on the screwdriver’s butt.

4. Make use of a rubber band

A rubber band may be used to remove a stripped screw. Place a rubber band the width of the screw head over it, then use a screwdriver or drill driver on top of it. The rubber may fill in voids and provide additional grip for the tool.

According to Professionals, a similar handyman trick involves using steel wool in the same manner. Due to the widespread availability of rubber bands and steel wool, this may be the simplest solution for a stripped screw.

5. Experiment with a larger driver bit

If you’re using a drill with a driver bit, try using one larger than the screw head you’re working on.

Occasionally, the larger bit distributes the force more evenly, providing you with additional leverage to remove the stripped screw.

6. Experiment with various screwdrivers

According to Pros, if the drill driver does not work, try using a manual screwdriver; drills occasionally have too much torque and can further strip the screw.

Using a variety of different-sized screwdrivers may provide you with the necessary grip.

Consider one with a different tip or blade size. Remove a stripped Phillips-head screw with a small flat-head screwdriver.

To be prepared, Pros recommends stocking your toolbox with various screwdrivers of varying sizes and types. Additionally, use a brand-new screwdriver, as the issue could be with a worn tip or blade.

7. Try using pliers with a locking mechanism

If any exposed portion of the screw or screw head is visible, you may be able to remove it with locking pliers.

Wrap the pliers tightly and securely around the stripped screw head, then twist them counterclockwise to remove them manually.

If the screw is too deep in the wood for pliers to grip, use a flat-head screwdriver to push the wood down around the screw to aid in gripping.

8. Create a brand-new slot

If you have a rotary cutter or a small hacksaw, you can cut a slot across the screw head to accommodate a flat-head screwdriver.

Though Professionals caution that this method is risky and can easily damage the surrounding material, they advise that it be used as a last resort.

Bonus Methods

Use a left-handed drill bit

Regular screws can be loosened by rotating to the left. The flutes on the less popular left-handed drill bit rotate counterclockwise.

To release a stripped screw, a left-handed drill bit may provide greater torque than a right-handed bit. But the drill has to be in reverse for it to work.

Try the hot glue gun

Instead of rushing out to get a new tool to remove stripped screws, use your glue gun, which you most likely already have at home. While the glue cools and dries, insert your screwdriver into the glue-filled screw head. The stripped screw can be removed simply by carefully turning it with a screwdriver.

Cut the screw head in with an oscillating tool.

Attach the metal-cutting disc and make a new, deeper slot in the stripped screw if you have an oscillating tool, such as a Dremel, in your workshop. Continue by inserting a flathead screwdriver firmly into the ding and slowly rotating it, of course, the flathead screwdriver should fit snugly.

The takeaway from an insider

Stripped screws are a common occurrence when performing home improvements. Several do-it-yourself solutions include hammering the screwdriver deeper into the stripped screw head, using a rubber band for added grip, or twisting the screw out with locking pliers.

Professionals recommend using a friction-increasing gel such as ScrewGrab or a screw extractor drill bit to remove stubborn screws.


Stripped screws can be a frustrating problem, but with the right tools and techniques, they can be removed easily. Whether you choose to invest in a screw extractor, use ScrewGrab, or try one of the other methods outlined in this article, you’ll be able to get the job done.

Always start by determining the cause of the stripped screw, and if all else fails, consult a professional contractor for assistance. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to tackle any stripped screw problem that comes your way.


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