How to Get a Rusted Screw Out

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Rusted screws can be very tricky to remove.
Rusted screws can be very tricky to remove. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Removing a rusted screw can sometimes be frustrating. Even if a screw is not completely stripped, just sitting too long in an outdoor environment with lack of lubrication creates what can seem to be an insurmountable situation. But it isn't. There are a few tricks that can help you persuade that stubborn, rusted little piece of fastening hardware to loosen its grip and cooperate.

Things You'll Need

  • Penetrating oil
  • Clean cloth
  • Toothpick
  • Screwdriver
  • Household cleaner

Squirt a small dab of penetrating oil on a clean cloth and rub it over all visible parts of the screw. Put a dab on a smaller object such as a toothpick and slide the toothpick into the places that are more difficult to reach so the non-visible part of the screw can be coated.

Match up the head of the rusted screw with the proper screwdriver. If it is a Phillips head, make sure the screwdriver size equals the size on the screw or it might slip out. Dip the screwdriver into an abrasive household cleaner. This will give it a better bite on the screw.

Press the screwdriver firmly into the screw and push the screw in with one hand while twisting with the other hand. Try to turn the screw by hand before attempting to turn it out. Continue gripping the screw and turning it until it begins to loosen from its spot.

Add more lubrication to the screw if it still does not come out and dip the screwdriver in household cleaner. Continue this same process until the screw is removed from its location and repeat the process for all other rusted screws that you need to remove.

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