How to remove a broken screw

Two easy answers for how to remove a screw with a broken head (whether it’s threaded or broken off entirely)

Updated 18 July 2019

How to remove a broken screw: Nails and screws in jars

Key Steps

  • Use a screw extractor to remove the screw.
  • Pliers also work, by gripping and turning.
  • For a threaded or stripped screw, use a rubber band for extra grip.
  • Superglue could hold a screwdriver in place.
  • Use tools safely if you decide to cut new groves in the screw head.

Trying to remove a broken screw? Don’t panic! We have all the knowledge you need to learn how to remove a threaded screw or a screw with no head in our simple step-by-step guide. Is your screw still intact, but stuck thanks to rust? Visit our article on how to remove a rusty screw.

 Removing a broken screw can be a bit messy, especially if the metal is compromised. Be sure to vacuum and clean the area thoroughly of any screw shards.

How to remove a broken screw: Two simple hacks to remove a broken screw

Not sure how to remove a screw with no head, a broken head or a threaded head (where a screwdriver can no longer turn it)? These tips will help you pick a method that works for you.

1. How to remove a screw with a broken head by pulling it out

A screw extractor is designed exactly for this purpose.

  • Drill a hole into the broken screw. Always use a drill bit that is smaller than the screw.
  • Tap a screw extractor into the hole with a hammer.
  • Turn the screw extractor counter-clockwise. This will remove the screw.
  • If the screw is stuck, apply a lubricant following the manufacturer’s instructions; then try again.

Want to know how to remove a screw with no head or a broken head without a screw extractor? A pair of pliers could work just as well if you can get some purchase on what’s left of the screw. Simply grasp the screw shank with your pliers and twist them to remove the screw.

2. How to remove a threaded screw (also known as a stripped screw)

If your screw is compromised not because it is broken but because its head is stripped, try these steps:

  • First, try using a different screwdriver. Sometimes a different size or shape might just do the trick.
  • If you are struggling for grip, lay the edge of a rubber band over the head of the screw, then twist the screwdriver over the rubber.
  • Alternatively, try using superglue. Simply superglue the screwdriver to the screw and remove it that way. Then, use an acetone or nail polish remover to remove the superglue and separate them again.
  • As a last resort, you could cut new groves in the screw head yourself. If you decide to try this, always shield your eyes and hands with protective gear and use metal cutting tools with caution.

With our guide for how to remove a screw with a broken head, you know have all the steps you need to replace that screw which has been bugging you for a while. Plus, now you know how to remove a broken screw, why not give yourself some fun DIY projects? Click here for some great ideas for furniture restoration you can do at the weekend!

Originally published 18 July 2019