9 Ways to Remove a Stripped Screw

9 Ways to Remove a Stripped Screw

As a homeowner, running into the problem of stripped screws can seem so insignificant and yet so frustrating. These pesky screws seem impossible and infuriating to be removed. So what’s the best way to remove them, you say? Read on to find out.

In the world of handyman experts, there are many ways and techniques used to deal with stripped screws. However, if you’re looking to remove these screws, there are a lot of valuable tricks out there.

Stripped screws are every homeowner’s worst nightmare; no matter how hard you try to remove them, they don’t seem to budge. Before you know it, madness takes over your mind, and you find yourself cursing the screw. These stubborn screws are genuinely one of the most annoying things you can see in the world, but thankfully they’re pretty easy to remove through the help of a few simple tips and tricks. Some of them do require specialized tools, but it’s a simple one at best. Of course, since you’re researching how to remove these stripped screws yourself probably means you already have a variety of tools at your disposal. So before considering just destroying these screws(we hope not), try these simple solutions first.

Rubber bands

One of the simplest but easiest tricks you can execute is by using rubber bands. It’s a pretty standard tool for most households and will almost be readily available to anyone. The theory is that the extra grip you get from wrapping the rubber band around the tip of a screwdriver gives enough surface friction to help force the screw out.

  • Get a single rubber band and tighten it around the tip of your screwdriver.
  • Next, firmly insert the tip of the screwdriver wrapped with a rubber band into the stripped screw. Make sure to ease up on the pressure to avoid eating up the rubber band. Slowly and carefully apply force to remove the stripped screw.

If you can’t find any rubber band around your house for any reason, you can use steel wool instead, and it is also an excellent substitute for this trick. Another material is the rough greenside from a dishwashing sponge.

Drill Into The Screw

At first, it might sound a bit weird, but trust us, this has been a proven technique by most professional handypersons. The concept involves getting a power driller and drilling a hole in the middle of the stripped screw. Even though this technique has a high success rate, it’s a bit more complex and requires skill and finesse on your part. The deeper reach of this drilling tool will provide a more outstanding grip for you to force out the screw. You should do it carefully and slowly as too much downward force can break the head of the screw by accident and would even make your problem harder.

If you’re going to use this technique, make sure that you check the drill bit installed on your power tool. Most drill bits are designed for wood and not metal, and you can find yourself in an accident if you use the wrong one.


The first thing that comes to mind when we need to pull something out forcefully is pliers. You’re not wrong; they are one of the most common tools every household has and can be used to deal with these pesky screws as well. Though this technique is relatively easy to do, it’ll work if a little bit of the screw is peaking out. If the screw is fully buried, it won’t work as you need a bit of surface area for the pliers to get a good grip.

If you’ve managed to get a bit of surface area on the stripped screw, then all you need to do is tightly squeeze the plier and twist it pretty much how a screwdriver works. The pliers you’ll need should have a solid vice grip as not to break the screw.

Impact Driver

The impact driver is another excellent tool to take care of stripped screws. Make sure that you get a high-quality one as this involves using force, and using a cheap impact driver may cause an accident when it breaks. First, check the correct drill bit for the screw in question, most likely a Philips or a flathead. Next, insert the impact driver in the screw head. Make sure that the area around the screw is clear of any debris or sharp objects as they might get thrown around when you hit the end of the impact driver with a hammer.

Another thing to remember is that when you’re using an impact driver, always wear safety glasses. Accidents can happen no matter how safe or routine your project is. Once you made sure that the drill bit of the impact driver is snuggly fitted into the stripped screw and the other end of the tool with a hammer several times. When an impact driver is stroked with a hammer, the force translates into power that turns the drill bit around. This powerful unscrewing motion is what will force the stripped screw to rotate and loosen. You should be able to remove the screw if you did it correctly usually.

Hammer Tapping

The concept of hammer impacting involves the use of a hammer and a screwdriver. The trick is to position the screwdriver on top of the stripped screw and strike it with a hammer. You don’t need to use a forceful strike, gently tap the screwdriver with the hammer as you would see when sculptors use a chisel. Wat, this technique aims to reseat the screwdriver on the screw to retrieve a sufficient amount of grip to remove it manually. This works well in tandem with our rubber band method.

Oscillating Tool

An oscillating tool is one of the few staples that you’ll find in any dedicated DIYers toolbox. Luckily, it is also an excellent way to get a stripped screw removed. First, put the metal disc from the oscillating tool to create a deeper and broader cut on the screw head. Then, follow the pattern of the original screw if it’s a Philips or a flathead. Once you see a more profound amount, try removing it with a matching screwdriver and see if the grip is enough to rotate and pull out the screw.

Abrasive Powder

A stripped screw is most likely due to a lack of grip and friction on the surface area. That’s where an abrasive powder becomes useful. Abrasive powders are excellent in providing friction between metals. Sprinkle some on top of the screw to prevent your screwdriver head from slipping. Next, rotate the screw using the screwdriver and see if it’s sufficient to turn and pull it out.

Left Handed Drill Bits

It might seem like this is a joke, but reversed drill bits do exist and are perfect for force-removing annoying screws. When you plan on using this method, make sure that you get a left-handed drill bit that is one size smaller than the screw you’re going to remove. Then, put the drill bit on top of the screw head and start tightening it as you usually do when inserting screws. Make sure that the drill is in reverse when you create and maintain a firm pressure during the drilling process. You’ll feel a bite when it works, and you can easily remove the screws by then.

Welding A Nut

While this is undoubtedly one of the best if not the best ways to remove a stripped screw, it is pretty complex and requires you to have basic knowledge of welding and the needed tools. Therefore, we’d say that reserve this for the most complicated and most pesky stripped screw out there. The idea is to weld the nut on top of the screw head to make it a permanent part of the screw. This would be a sort of “hail mary pass” if none of the previous methods worked.

Carefully spot weld a nut on top of the screw. Then, wait a bit of time to let the welding settle. We then used a wrench to remove the screw by removing the nut.  If you have any further questions reach out to our handymen for any questions

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin