Removing a Stripped Screw Simple Techniques for Success

how to remove a stripped screw


Dealing with a stripped screw can be frustrating, but fear not! This article will provide you with easy and effective methods to remove a stripped screw. Armed with the right tools and techniques, you’ll be able to tackle this common problem with confidence and precision.

Assess the Situation

Before attempting to remove a stripped screw, it’s important to assess the situation. Determine the type of screw head involved. Common types include Phillips, slotted, Torx, or Allen. Also, evaluate the level of damage to the screw head. Is it partially stripped or completely smooth? Understanding these details will help you choose the most appropriate removal method.

Proper Tools 

To successfully remove a stripped screw, you’ll need the right tools. The following are some essential items to consider

  • Screwdriver Select a screwdriver that matches the screw head type and is appropriately sized.
  • Pliers: Choose a pair of pliers with a firm grip for added torque and leverage.
  • Screw extractor An extractor is designed specifically for removing stripped screws. It works by drilling a small hole into the screw head, allowing for removal with the reverse function.
  • Drill and bits If other methods fail, drilling a pilot hole in the center of the screw can provide an alternative solution.

Traditional Techniques 

For partially stripped screws, try these traditional techniques

  • Rubber band method Place a rubber band over the stripped screw head and press the screwdriver into the rubber, allowing for better grip and traction.
  • Hammer and screwdriver Gently tap the screwdriver into the screw head to create new grooves for better engagement.
  • Cutting a notch Use a small file or a rotary tool to create a notch on the screw head, allowing a flat-blade screwdriver to catch and turn it.

Advanced Solutions

If the traditional methods fail, advanced solutions may be required

  • Screw extractor Drill a small hole into the center of the stripped screw and insert the extractor. Turn it counterclockwise to remove the screw.
  • Drill and reverse thread Drill a pilot hole into the center of the screw, then switch to a reverse-threaded screw bit. As you drill, the reverse thread will catch and unscrew the stripped screw.
  • Use pliers Grip the screw head with a pair of pliers and slowly turn it counterclockwise. This method is best suited for larger screws with exposed heads.

Preventive Measures

To avoid stripped screws in the future, take the following preventive measures

  • Use the correct screwdriver size and type for the job.
  • Apply gentle pressure and ensure the screwdriver is properly seated in the screw head.
  • If resistance is encountered while driving the screw, stop and evaluate the situation.
  • Consider using lubricants like wax or soap to ease screw insertion.
  • Take care not to overtighten screws, especially in softer materials.


How do you unscrew a stripped screw hole?

Pliers will allow you to get a firm enough grip on the screw to pull it out. Locking pliers or vise grip pliers work best. Grip the screw on the sides. Twist the screw gently right and left until you’ve loosened it enough to pull it out.

Can you remove a stripped screw with glue?

The hot glue or duct tape method. Apply duct tape or hot glue to the top of the screw, then push in your screwdriver and see if it will turn. If using hot glue, stick the screwdriver in before the glue cools or hardens. These multipurpose tools will hopefully give you some traction to remove the screw.

What is the best glue for a stripped screw hole?

The small screws needed for hinges strip out pilot holes easily. Fortunately a little cyanoacrylate (CA) glue fixes them just as easily. Simply fill the stripped hole with CA glue, let it cure for a couple minutes, and re-install the screw. It works for any size screw and any type of wood.


Removing a stripped screw doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By assessing the situation, using the right tools, and applying appropriate techniques, you can successfully remove even the most stubborn screws. Remember, patience and persistence are key to achieving a successful outcome.

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