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How to Remove Rusted Screws?

The ultimate guide to remove the irritating rusted screws.
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Once a screw starts to corrode, the rust builds up and eventually binds the hole and the screw. It is almost impossible to remove rusted screw by using a common screwdriver. In some cases, it is possible to turn the screw by using a lot of force, but this eventually leads to the screw head getting stripped.

There are a few different methods that you can utilize to remove rusted screws easily. In this article, we have listed all these methods and a step-by-step guide for each method.

Different Methods for Removing a Rusted Screw

When it comes to removing rusted screws, there are two methods for removing them with ease. Below is a step-by-step guide on these methods.

  1. Lubrication
  2. With Heat

Method 1: By Lubricating the Screw

Rusted a Screw with Lubricant

The most common and the most secure method for removing rusted screws is the lubrication method. This is a very simple method, and you can easily remove rusted screws by using this.

Things Required for This Method

  1. Ball peen hammer.
  2. Rust penetrant.
  3. Powdered cleanser.
  4. HEX bolster screwdriver.
  5. Impact driver.
  6. Leather gloves.

Step by Step Process

Here are the steps you need to follow for removing a rusted screwdriver. 

  • When working with any hardware tool, safety is very important. Make sure to wear thick leather gloves.
  • After that, strike a few blows on the screw head with the hammer; the impact from the stricks breaks the rust bonds.
  • After that use, a rust penetrant on the screw the blows from the hammer strikes makes sure that the liquid gets to every corner. 

NOTE: If you do not have rust penetrant at hand, you can easily buy it from any hardware store, or you can easily make it at home using a 50 to 50 ratio of acetone and nail polish remover.

  • Let the penetrant soak in for 10 to 15 minutes and strike the screw head a few more times. Now use the appropriate screwdriver and try opening it to remember not to use too much force.
  • If the rust is preventing you from getting a firm grip, then use a gripping paste to get a better grip. The gripping paste can easily be prepared at home using a powdered cleaner and water. 

Method 2: By Heating the Screw

Remove Rusted Screw with Heat

Removing rusted screws by heating is considered extreme and only advised if every other method fails. Simply put, the heat causes the metal screw to expand, resulting in the rust cracking and loosening up. 

By repeating this process several times, you can easily remove a rusted screw. Keep in mind that heating a screw, there is also a chance of igniting a flammable substance close to the screw. If you have already tried and failed, then you can use heat but take extreme care.

Things Required for This Method

Most of the things you will need for this method can be found in homes easily, but if you do not have something, then you can easily find them at a hardware store. 

  1. A water-based grease-cutting cleaner.
  2. Leather gloves.
  3. A Flat-head or Philip screwdriver.
  4. A lighter.
  5. Thick rag.
  6. Fire extinguisher. 

Step by Step Process

  • If you have followed our guide and used the first step but failed, then use the water-based grease remover to remove the rust penetrator. Once the penetrant has been removed, clean the screw head with a rag. 
  • Now it is time to bring out the heat, use a lighter to heat the screw head. Onc the head starts to smoke, remove the heat source and cool the screw immediately with a wet cloth. Only apply the heat until the screw head starts to smoke and never heat it to the point where the head becomes red hot. 
  • Repeat the heating and cooling process several times and try to open the screw with a screwdriver. If this does not work, try heating and cooling a few more times to break the rust. If the screw unwinds a bit but gets stuck again, apply a rust penetrator and turn the sacred a few times.

This makes sure that the rust penetrator gets to every part of the screw and breaks the rust.

How to Remove a Rusted Screw if the Screw Head is Stripped?

Stripped Rusted Screw

Most people do not know how to remove a rusted screw and end up using force. The rust binds the screw and, using force, causes the sacred head to get stripped.

Here is a simple method to recover a stripped screw.

Step by Step Process

  • Recovering a stripped screw is very easy and only requires a cutting wheel and a Flathead Screwdriver.
  • Make a grove in the screw head by using the rotary tool with a cutting wheel attachment.
  • Make sure that the grove is big enough to fit the flathead screwdriver.  
  • Now using the newly formed grove, you can easily rotate the screw.

NOTE: Make sure that the screw is loosened up properly before trying to force it open otherwise, you will face the same scenario again.

Frequently Asked Questions


Removing rusted screws is one of the easiest skills that every artist should know. Whether you are working on a home DIY and stumbled across a few old screws or you want to restore an antique. 

Rusted screws can easily be removed without using force or trying to break the screw loose. Follow the above guide for a simple step-by-step process for removing screws easily.

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