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How to Remove a Stripped Screws [12 Easy-to-Follow Methods]

Broken nails, screw heads, or stripped screws are very common occurrences. Removing them is not that complex though. That is, only if you know the right method.

So, here I will include various methods on how to remove a stripped screws.

To remove stripped screws, broken screw heads, or nails, applying for the same methods works. Like for a broken screw head, pick an eight-inch vice grip. You need to clamp it very nicely. Then simply just turn it and the head is gonna come off easily. This is one of the methods that work well.

Not sure yet? Do not worry! That was just one method. Here I’ve assembled and experimented with 12 methods to see what works and what doesn’t. So, you will not be wasting time.

Read on!

12 Ways to Remove Stripped Screws, Nails And Broken Screw Heads

How to remove broken nails? Or Broken screw heads? Or perhaps extract a broken screw also?

These are the questions I come across very frequently. For that I decided to make a mock up of various kinds of scenarios. 

I nailed several sizes of nails on a 2 by 4 wood. I also stripped out some drywall screw heads. 

And I will try to remove them using different techniques.

Go through them and find out.

Method 1: Cutting the Rubber Band

My first method will be one of the most common ones. Don’t worry, the fix is not as complex as fixing a sunken electrical outlet.

To see if this truly works I decided to try it. 

I started off with cutting some pieces of a rubber band. Also, I am gonna be utilizing it on a one and a 1/2 drywall screw. However, it is extremely deep there. 

Well, I tried it but it does not look like it works. Also, it tore up my rubber band. You may have some luck on this. 

But it did not work on these extremely heavily buried screws.

As I said I used an inch and a half drywall screw and had no luck. However, you can try it for yourself to see if it works for you.

Method 2: Utilizing Drill

Now it is time to apply the second technique. To do this, I will be utilizing a drill bit. 

Hence, relying on the size of the screws, confirm that you pick the proper drill bit.

I will also be using a star bit in this case. With the impact wrench, I am gonna be drilling it out slowly. 

And it is not looking like it works. Nonetheless, I ain’t putting it out of the equation just yet. I am gonna try and raise one using the same method.

So, I will still use the star bit. But this time I will pound it using a hammer. 

So it should be locked in. 

Then if I utilize the impact wrench or the drill, it also works. You need to operate slowly. Then you should notice it is actually working.

So it went well and the method is certainly accurate.

Method 3: Using Extractor Tool

Now time for the third method of removing broken nails

I will use an extractor tool for this. 

It comes in 4 sizes. This includes both a burnishing side as well as an extractor size.

Now you need to put in and expend that burnishing side. That is before proceeding with anything else. Ensure to use the drill while you are at it.

Now you need to go on the reverse motion on the drill. Meaning you are drilling out on reverse really slowly. 

Thus you can go approx an inch and 16 deep as it claims. 

However, you may also go slightly deeper than that.

Next, just switch it out and tighten it up. This is for getting to the extractor side.

You need to still rotate it on a reverse. Keep tapping it gently so it goes in slow motion. After doing all these I noticed it didn’t work.

So I simply moved to the following step. I actually used the next size over the extractor side. Then it came out nicely. 

Hence, if your first size does not work, grab the next size over. It will work. 

Method 4: Using Vice Grips

This method that I am gonna show you now is a proven one. Works really well. 

To perform this, I used vice grips, and worked perfectly. 

If all the other methods do not seem to work, try this one.

I will use the Dremel tool, it comes with various accessories. I will be using a  Dremel thin-cut circular disk. 

It tends to be really thin and only works with Dremel mandrel.

The process is really quick. Very easy in and out insert. 

You can get the screws out perfectly with this method.

However, ensure to use it just for screw heads or race screw bits. Otherwise, you may end up wrecking the surrounding areas. 

Notch it out on both edges while at it. And slowly grind off each edge. What you will try to develop is one real pathway for one flat head screwdriver to sit on.

Make sure to be really careful because there will be all those sparks. You can also use fire retardant fabric here just to be safe. 

Then I suggest using the flat head screwdriver for the purpose of unscrewing that. 

Furthermore, when using the Dremel, it is definitely gonna create sparks. Hence, ensure that there are no flammables around.

Method 5: Using Vice Grips for Deep Screw Heads

This method is for the screw heads which stay very deep in there.

You will see a pointy drill bit tip. It is from the Dremel bit.

It works for screw heads that are very deep. But you do not want to slice the surrounding areas or the wood. 

Now you are going to apply the same process you did in the previous method. 

Just start chiseling or drilling off the sides. By doing this you will be able to make the channels for the flat head screwdriver to operate.

After doing that, you are gonna be able to take the screw off effortlessly. 

Method 6: Using Drywall Screw Head

Now I am gonna be working with the broken screw heads.

Let us take a drywall screw head that has broken.

It happens when you start drilling blindly on the drywall.

We will try method number one here. So, you will be using the drill.

Observe how the drill goes in and out. Now rather than putting the drill bit here, we will feed it through the broken head screw.

It should be nice and tight and standing up. So you gently just go on reverse counter-clockwise. Thus, it will be taking that screw up.

Method 7: Using 8-inch Vice Screw

Now, we will experiment with the previous method for a general purpose screw head that has broken. 

Well, it is way harder. The screw tends to be longer. 

Also, it won’t be as soft as a drywall screw. And there is a high possibility that the technique is not gonna work.

It only works on specific kinds of screws. However, you can consider trying anyways in case it works.

However, what’s for sure is that a vice grip is gonna be able to get it. 

You can pick an eight-inch vice grip which is what I’m using. You need to clamp it very nicely. Then simply just turn it and it is gonna come off easily. 

So in case, the other technique didn’t work, try this one. It will definitely work.

Method 8: Using Clamp

This process is for those who do not wanna do all that twisting. To try this out, clamp the screw using your clamp. 

Then simply whirl that back and forth. And it will break off or snap off very easily. 

Method 9: Using Drill and Screw

Now, this method is for those who have broken nails. You can try it for broken wooden nails also.  Here you need a similar method as you did with your drill bit.

Insert the screw through the drill first. Then go on a reverse counter-clockwise motion. And it will pull it out. 

So, I can safely say that this method actually works.

Method 10: Using Vice Grips with a Leverage

Now we are gonna try the broken nail head method 2. I usually prefer doing this with my vice grip. However, it may not work here as this one is slightly harder.

It might need a slight bit of force and thus may harm your wood. So, there is the extra hassle of fixing damaged wood.

Hence you need to use an additional wood piece for leverage. And also for protection. 

Perhaps if it is on drywall or maybe you are trying to save the wood surrounding it without any damage. 

So it is better to use a separate piece of wood so you can leverage the vice grip.

And this way you can pull it off.

Method 11: Using Vice Grips and Rocking Back

Now for the next method, you need to make use of the vice grips again.

So, you need to simply rock it back and forth. It applies especially to places where a bunch of nails are hanging out.

Rather than using the drummer, you can do it by just rocking back and forth. And just hammer back in. 

Method 12: Using Vice Grips with Wood Leverage and Hammer

Now it is time for the final method. For this one, I will pretend that the nail has no head. Then, I will simply hammer it in. After that, I am gonna repeat the same with the rest of the little nails. 

Similarly, I will use the vice grip method again. That is using a small piece of wood for leverage. 

Thus you will be able to take off all those very easily.

So, there you go! All 12 methods for you!

In this method you will need some tools, especially screws and screwdrivers. If you don’t have them 2 of them are suggested below:

Flathead ScrewdriverCheck Current Price
Wood ScrewsCheck Current Price


How to remove very deep screw heads?

If the screw head is very deep, you need to start chiseling. Or drilling off the sides works as well. By doing this you will be able to make the channels for the flat head screwdriver to operate. After that, it will come off easily.

How do you remove a broken screw head from metal?

To remove broken screw heads, apply a lubricant that is penetrating. Then let that soak in. Wait for about 30 minutes. Widen that hole using a bit larger drill bit. Then try again.

What is an EZ Out tool?

EZ out is basically a screw extractor. The tool is utilized to remove any broken screws. It tends to be of 2 types. One of them includes the spiral flute structure. And the trademarked name of it is EZ-Out. And the other type has one straight flute structure.

Wrapping Up

Hope I have cleared all your questions about how to remove a stripped screw.

Now you know the answer. Try out all these methods given for yourself. And see which one works for you. But before you start experimenting, take necessary safety measures just in case. 

There you go. Have a great day!