Does this situation sound familiar? You need to remove some screws from a piece of furniture, remove screws from a wall, open your laptop or computer case, but don’t have a screwdriver?
Don’t worry – you aren’t alone in this! Many of us have expe
rienced this situation and the frustration it brings. The good news is that we have gathered a list of everyday objects, which you can use to complete your task without having to leave your home to borrow or buy a screwdriver.
Removing a Phillips head screw
Phillips head screws have two grooves that form a cross on the top and are the most common type of screws in use. Be careful when using the following methods as it is very easy to strip or wear down the corners formed by the grooves and the head of the screw. Stripped screws become very difficult to remove.
If you have an old toothbrush and a lighter, you can try this method as a last resort. Melt the end of your toothbrush with a lighter or another source of heat. Once the end is soft and melting, place it directly into the grooves of the screw head and allow it to cool down. Once the plastic has hardened, you may try turning it counter-clockwise to remove the screw.
This method is best suited for loose screws. Tighter screws will cause the toothbrush to snap, leaving some plastic inside the grooves of the screw head. When using a lighter, melt the plastic slowly and carefully to avoid any accidents and melted plastic dripping all over the place.
Removing a flathead screw
Flat head screws have a single groove running along the top of the screw head and are more commonly found in older furniture.
Some of the Phillips head screw removal methods can also be used for flat heads, these are:
- Using a coin;
- Using a kitchen butter knife;
- Using pliers;
- Using your thumbnail.
Other ways of removing flat head screws are:
- Using a card. Any type of plastic card can be used, be it credit or debit cards, library cards, ID cards, or National Insurance cards. Don’t use a card that cannot be easily replaced – if the screw is too tight, your card may snap. Place the edge of your chosen card into the groove and turn counter-clockwise until the screw can be removed.
- Using the tab from a can of juice. Remove the tab from the can and place the flat edge into the groove of the screw, then turn counter-clockwise to remove the screw.
Removing a small screw
Even with a proper screwdriver, small screws are a fiddly nightmare to remove due to their tininess, so the methods listed above will not work. Use caution when trying the methods below as it is quite easy to strip the screw head or cause the tool to slip.
So there we have it, you can now remove screws without needing a screwdriver. We always recommend that you use the right tool for the job to reduce the chance of injury.
However, if you have no other options or need to remove a screw in a hurry, there is no harm in properly using one of the methods above.