Using a Screwdriver
1. Maximize the grip strength. If you can still grip the screw head with a screwdriver, try one last time to remove it by hand. Follow these instructions first to maximize your chances:
- If the screw is fastened to metal, spray on penetrating oil, such as WD40, and let sit at least fifteen minutes.
- Use the largest manual screwdriver that fits your screw.
- If possible, grip the screwdriver handle with a wrench to get more leverage.
2. Add material for extra grip. If the screwdriver keeps slipping out of the stripped hole, cover it with a small piece of material that gives extra grip. Press this into the hold with the screwdriver and try again. Here are some options:
- Wide rubber band, cut to form one band
- A piece of steel wool
- A piece of green abrasive from a kitchen sponge
- Duct tape, with the adhesive side against the screw head
3. Tap the screwdriver into place with a hammer. Tap the screwdriver in gently to avoid breaking the screw head. Skip this step if you are working with a fragile object.
- This is a good option when a Philips head screw is stripped.
- You can also take a square #1 drill bit and hammer it into the screw head. Do this until it penetrates into the stripped Philips head screw.
4. Push down hard as you rotate. Place your palm against the end of the screwdriver, with your arm directly behind it. Press directly down into the screw with your full forearm as you rotate the screwdriver.
- If the tool you are using is slipping, stop using it immediately. Further slippage will only continue to wear down the screw head and make it harder to remove. Definitely be sure you are going in the correct direction for removal, which is usually--but not always--counterclockwise ("lefty loosey, righty tighty"). Pressing down hard as you are unscrewing will help prevent slippage.
5. Heat the area. If you can heat the screw without damaging the object the screw is attached to, this will often loosen the threads. Apply a heat gun or propane torch to the screw, moving it constantly to avoid overheating. Once it is hot enough to sizzle a drop of water, let the screw cool, then try again.
- This works especially well if the screw has been set in place with a bonding agent.
6. Cut a flat-head notch with a dremel or hacksaw. If your screwdriver still can't get a good grip, cut a notch into the screw head. Insert a flat-head screwdriver and attempt to turn the screw. You can combine this with any of the approaches above.