George to the rescue

Tackling a home project? Here's how to remove those stubborn stripped screws

Screwdrivers may not be the best way to remove stripped screws

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Whether you're doing a quick project around the house or a full renovation, it's likely you'll run into several problems along the way.

In this episode of "George to the Rescue," George Oliphant revisits a handful of amazing people he's met and helped renovate their spaces, including the wonderful folks at the Boys & Girls Club of Newark, New Jersey back in season 13.

George and his team turned one of the larger spaces in their community center into a multi-functional teen lounge.

One of the problems you'll likely see when remodeling older spaces like this one is stripped screws.

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A stripped screw is when the small slots in the head of a screw have worn out, making it difficult for a screwdriver to grip the screw and turn it. Most stripped screws are usually old ones that have been in place for a long time. However, you can also strip a screw by overtightening it, even if it's a new screw.

Screwdrivers are a great tool, but they may not work to remove stripped screws.

Here are some other ways to remove a stripped screw when a screwdriver doesn't do the trick.

Step 1: Use a drill

A hand holding a drill against a white background.
Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Grab a drill bit that's used for metal and at a low speed, drill a hole into the head of the screw. (The low speed should prevent the screw from breaking or splitting.) Drill until you feel the bit catch, then put the drill in reverse to remove the screw.

Step 2: Use pliers

Close up view of person hand removing old plastic dowel, nylon wall plug from drywall with pliers at home. Home renovations concept.
Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

If the stripped screw is above the surface, use either locking or vice grip pliers to get a strong hold on both sides of the screw. Gently twist left to right until the screw is loose enough to pull it out.

Step 3: Try a rubber band

A screwdriver trying to unscrew a stripped screw with the help of a rubber hand for traction, against a wood background.
Nina Lin
Credit: Nina Lin

Surprised? A rubber band can add traction to help do the trick. Place part of the rubber band over the head of the screw. Then take a screwdriver and insert it into the rubber band and turn it counterclockwise to remove the stripped screw.

Step 4: Grab a hammer

A hand holding a hammer against a steel background.
Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Take a flathead screwdriver and insert it into the slot of the screw. Then use the hammer to carefully drive the screwdriver down deep enough to catch it. Then you should be able to twist the screwdriver to remove the screw.

Be sure to check out the full "George the Rescue" episode for more renovation inspiration.

Some of the tips mentioned above were sourced from The Home Depot.

And watch more full episodes of "George to the Rescue" here:

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