How to Remove Rusted Stripped Screws

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Things You'll Need

  • Electric drill

  • Drill bits

  • Punch

  • Hammer

  • Phillips-head screwdriver

Screws exposed to moisture can easily rust.

Once metal screws become corroded, the rust can bind the screws to the holes they are set in. If the screw heads are covered with rust, it makes them impossible to remove with a screwdriver. Even if you can turn the screws with a screwdriver, their threads and head can become stripped. Rusted, stripped screws can be difficult to remove, but the process is made easier with a few simple tools.


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Step 1

Use a hammer and a punch to make a slight depression into the screw head to help keep the drill bits steady. Drill a small hole into the center of the screw, according to Al's Home Improvement Center.

Step 2

Place the end of a Phillips screwdriver on the hole. Gently tap it with a hammer to work it into the screw head. Turn the screwdriver and try to remove the rusted, stripped screw. If this works, you're done. If not, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3

Place a larger bit in the drill, suggests Al's Home Improvement Center. The bit should be a little smaller than the diameter of the rusted, stripped screw you're trying to remove. Slowly drill down into the screw until it becomes freed from the hole.


To avoid dealing with this problem in the future, replace the damaged screws with ones that will not rust. Choose Phillips and slotted head screws that are plated with zinc or are coated with stainless steel. These types of screws are perfect for fasteners that are exposed to the weather. They are also good for places that are exposed to water and other types of moisture.



Kayar Sprang

Kayar Sprang has been a professional freelance writer and researcher since 1999. She has had articles published by clients like Kraft Foods, "Woman's Day" magazine and Mom Junction. Sprang specializes in subjects she has expertise in, including gardening and home improvement. She lives on and maintains a multi-acre farm.