How to remove a stripped screw – 4 foolproof hacks you should try right now

Dick Strawbridge shares tips for planning a DIY project

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DIY has seen a surge in popularity over the past year. With many Brits stuck in a rut over the successive lockdowns, some have turned to home improvements to stave off boredom. Don’t worry if you have overestimated your DIY skills, however, as here is an easy guide to removing pesky stripped screws.

If you have tried and failed to remove a screw multiple times, you might have worn away the indents on the head of it.

When this happens the screw can be even more challenging to remove as your screwdriver or drill effectively has nothing left to grip onto.

If you don’t have a fancy, albeit inexpensive, screw extractor which is a tool specifically designed to extract screws, don’t panic – there are other options.

However, if you do have a screw extractor to hand it is best to try this tool first.

They come in a variety of sizes so you should be able to extract screws of all diameters using the right one.

If your toolbox is a little on the small side there are plenty of other hacks to get extract troublesome stripped screws.

Use pliers

If you have worn away the indents of your screw drills and screwdrivers are unlikely to work.

Simply use your pliers to firmly grab the head of the screw.

Then begin turning the screw out, even if you can only just grab the top rim of the head of the screw this method might work a treat.

Use steel wool

Stripped screws are so tricky to remove due to the lack of grip conventional tools can get a hold of.

One way to try and grip the head of your bored-out screw is to use steel wool.

Just pop some steel wool in between your screw’s head and your screwdriver and rotate as normal.

Use a hammer to create some indents

Another way to add some grip is to try and create some deeper indents, this should allow your screwdriver or drill to grip the head of the screw.

To create these indents pet a normal screwdriver on top of the screw and firmly hammer the bottom of this.

The force should create indents in the head of the screw to allow you to remove it with ease.

Watch your fingers as you tap the screw, as the hammer could easily slip and hurt your fingers.

Use wide rubber bands

This is a more unusual method but it can work a treat.

Rubber bands can provide the driver bit with enough traction on the stripped screw to remove it.

Simply cut a wide rubber band then place it across the screw head, then put the driver bit on top of the rubber band.

Press down hard while you turn the screw out counter-clockwise.

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