A stripped screw can seem like a dead end in any DIY project. This is an issue that you are likely to run into. If too much torque is applied with a power tool, a screw can become stripped—it loses its grip. This can be especially frustrating, as you are no longer able to easily loosen the screw as you please.
An extractor dedicated to dealing with stripped screws is the most obvious solution, but few people have such a device in their toolbox or lying around in their workshop. In case you do not have one at hand, this article will show you how to unscrew a stripped screw using simple methods and household items you can easily find at home. All you will need is a rubber band and a multi-head manual screwdriver.
Table of Contents
Using Different Head Sizes
The first method to try involves using different size screw heads. Make sure to switch from a power tool to a manual tool. This will ensure that you do not accidentally make the situation worse by applying too much torque again, as adjusting the amount of pressure is much easier with a hand-tool than with a power tool.
Begin by trying a screw head that’s one size bigger than the one previously used. It may be able to get enough grip to loosen the screw. If it does not, try other sizes—a Torx (6 points) or an Allen (hexagonal) may do the trick.
Remember to follow the mantra “righty tighty, lefty loosy,” to ensure that you do not accidentally screw in the wrong direction with the hand-tool, as doing so will only make matters worse.
How to Remove a Stripped Screw Using A Rubber Band
Having tried different head sizes, the screw may still be hopelessly stuck. In that case, the best way to remove the stripped screw is to introduce a rubber band wide enough to cover it. Sometimes the screws are stripped just enough that no alternative head sizes will do the job, and when that happens, the rubber band will provide the extra grip needed to loosen the screw.
Place the rubber band flat on top of the stripped screw, and prepare your hand tool with a head one size up from the one that caused the strip in the first place. Apply pressure down into the rubber band, and loosen the screw. Once again, make sure that you screw in the right direction.
Using this method should loosen any stripped screw, even if it is badly damaged. It will allow you to get on with your work quickly and efficiently.
Stripped screws do not have to be a source of frustration and hassle anymore. With a few simple methods and household items, it is possible to deal with them swiftly, even if you have no access to a dedicated extractor. Different sizes of screw heads may solve the problem—and if they do not, placing a wide rubber band between the screw and the screwdriver is the best way to go, and will likely solve the problem.
Also Read: Twelve Ways to Remove a Stripped Screw