How To Remove A Stripped Screw From Plastic

Dealing with a stripped screw stuck in plastic can be frustrating, but fear not! In this guide, we’ll walk you through proven methods on how to remove a stripped screw from plastic materials. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast, a homeowner, or just someone dealing with everyday household issues, this article is here to help you conquer this challenge with confidence.

What Is A Stripped Screw?

A stripped screw refers to a screw whose head has been damaged in such a way that it becomes difficult to turn or remove using a screwdriver or other tools. This usually happens when excessive force, improper tools, or worn-out screwdriver tips are used during the tightening or loosening process. As a result, the grooves or slots on the screw’s head become smooth or damaged, making it challenging to get a proper grip for turning the screw.

Dealing with a stripped screw can be frustrating because the usual methods of using a screwdriver might not work. In such cases, various techniques can be employed to remove the stripped screw, such as using a rubber band, pliers, a screw extractor, or even drilling a new groove to gain traction. It’s important to be careful when attempting these methods to avoid further damaging the screw or the material it’s embedded in.

How to Remove a Stripped Screw From Plastic

How To Remove A Stripped Screw From Plastic

Stripped screws are notorious for causing headaches, especially when they’re embedded in plastic. Here are some effective methods to safely and successfully remove them:

  1. Rubber Band Technique

How to Remove a Stripped Screw From Plastic Using the Rubber Band Technique

Place a rubber band over the stripped screw head, press down firmly with your screwdriver, and turn it counterclockwise. The rubber band’s grip and added friction can help the screwdriver gain traction and turn the screw out.

  1. Use Pliers for Grip

Using Pliers to Remove a Stripped Screw From Plastic

Gently grip the screw head with a pair of pliers, ensuring a secure hold. Turn the pliers counterclockwise to rotate the screw out. This method provides a solid grip, minimizing slipping and making the extraction process smoother.

  1. Apply Heat

Removing a Stripped Screw From Plastic by Applying Heat

Use a heat gun or hairdryer to apply heat to the plastic around the screw for a few minutes. Plastic expands when heated, which might help loosen the grip of the screw. Once heated, gently turn the screwdriver counterclockwise to remove the screw.

  1. Create a New Groove

Creating a New Groove to Remove a Stripped Screw From Plastic

With a rotary tool or a small hacksaw, carefully create a new groove across the screw’s head. This new groove provides a fresh surface for your screwdriver to grip, facilitating easier removal.

  1. Super Glue Method

How Super Glue Can Help Remove a Stripped Screw From Plastic

Apply a small amount of super glue to the tip of a screwdriver and insert it into the stripped screw head. Let the glue set for a few minutes, then gently turn the screwdriver counterclockwise. The glue can enhance grip and make unscrewing easier.

Useful Tips for Success

  • Choose the Right Screwdriver: Ensure the screwdriver tip fits snugly into the screw head to minimize further damage.
  • Be patient. Removing a stripped screw requires patience and precision. Rushing the process can worsen the situation.
  • Use Proper Technique: Apply steady pressure while turning the screwdriver counterclockwise to prevent slipping.
  • Protect the Surface: Place a cloth or masking tape around the screw to prevent scratches or damage to the plastic surface.

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Remove A Stripped Screw From Plastic

Can I use a drill to remove a stripped screw from the plastic?

Yes, a drill can be used with a specialized screw extraction bit. Drill a small hole into the stripped screw and insert the extraction bit to turn the screw out.

What if the screw is stuck too tight, even after applying heat?

If heat alone doesn’t work, try combining it with a lubricant such as WD-40. Apply the lubricant to the screw’s threads, and then apply heat before attempting to remove the screw.

Is it possible to reuse the plastic piece after removing the stripped screw?

In most cases, yes. Once the screw is removed, you can fill the hole with wood filler, epoxy, or a similar material. After it sets, you can re-drill and insert a new screw.


Stripped screws in plastic need not be a source of frustration anymore. With the right techniques and a bit of patience, you can confidently remove those troublesome screws and save your plastic items. Whether you choose the rubber band method, apply heat, or create a new groove, you’re now armed with the knowledge to tackle this challenge effectively.

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