Tuesday, April 16, 2024
For men, women, and teens

How to get out a stripped screw

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Written by Vera C. Last updated on .

Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this page. This helps keep this site running

Man using a screwdriver

Whether you’re changing the battery on your child’s toy, or whether you’re embarking on a DIY project around the house, at some point you’ll run into a stripped screw. Don't worry, it's easy to remove a stripped screw with items you already have around the house.

Getting out a stripped screw using things you already have

Here's how to get a stripped screw out. It's so easy that anyone can do it, and no particular level of strength is needed, nor any special supplies.

  1. Just get a rubber band – the flat wide type – and cut off a piece about half an inch long.
  2. Place that small flat piece of rubber band on top of the screw head.
  3. Place your screwdriver on top of the rubber band (yes you won’t see where the screw lines are, that’s OK).
  4. Now unscrew as normal. I’ve tried this many times and it’s always worked.

Why does this stripped screw hack work? It’s because that flat bit of rubber placed in between the screw and the screwdriver gives somewhere for the screwdriver to grip strongly. I’ve always had success with this.

So, don’t throw away those wide flat rubber bands that come on your bunches of celery! Save them for when you have a stripped screw: you’ll be glad you did.

Done and done!

If you want specialty supplies to be prepared for future stripped screws

Besides saving wide flat rubber bands, you can also make your life easier in the future by using one of the many stripped screw extractors which you can get at a cheap price point on Amazon.com. Before you buy anything, please be aware that many of the options on Amazon are designed as a drill bit to get out stripped or damaged screws using an electric drill.

If you're instead looking for a hand-operated stripped screw remover, they'll be specialty pliers whose jaws are designed specifically to remove damaged or stripped screws, for example this pair of screw extractor pliers at Amazon:

The above product works for most medium sized screws. If you instead want to remove a small stripped screw - for example the screws you see in electronics, you'll instead want to get this anti-static engineer pair of pliers from Amazon for small screws:

Remember, your first step is to try the rubber band trick described in the first section. If that doesn't unscrew your stripped screw, then you can move on to trying an extractor tool. You've probably got a lot to do and not enough time to do it in if you're dealing with a stripped screw.

If this is part of a bigger project, you might like to be helped along with this instrumental playlist for concentration and productivity. If you're getting frustrated, check out what to do when you're angry or frustrated.

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