how to unscrew a screw without a screwdriver

Does this situation sound familiar? 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? Read: how to remove screws without screwdriver t alone in this! Many of us have experienced this situation and the frustration it brings. Even great plumbers, electricians, paint and decorators have experienced it. The good news is that we’ve put together a list of everyday objects you can use to get your job done without having to leave the house to borrow or buy a screwdriver.

Remove Phillips head screw


Phillips head screws have two grooves that form a cross on the head and are the most common type of screw used. Be careful when using the following methods, as it is easy to loosen or wear out the corners created by the slot and the screw head. Stripped screws become very difficult to remove.

Flat head screwdriver

If the only screwdriver you own is the flat-head type, you can use this to remove the Phillips-head screws. Insert the end of the screwdriver into the rest of the two grooves and turn it counterclockwise. Note that if the screwdriver is too small, you may lose the corners inside the screw head.


Place the edge of a small coin (coins work well for this) into the longest slot of the screw head and try turning the screw counterclockwise. This method usually only works on larger screws rather than smaller screws.

Butter knife

Similar to using a coin, place the flat edge of the butter knife into one of the screw’s slots and try turning it counterclockwise to remove the screw. If the screw is too tight or the butter knife is of low quality, the knife may bend when you try to remove the screw.

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Read more: Changing wire with an adjusting buckle If the screw head sticks out above the surface of the material it’s fastened to and you don’t have a pair of pliers (or they don’t work), look for hacksaws and vertical saws line of one of the grooves to extend it. You can now remove the screw with a flathead or coin screwdriver.


If you have an old toothbrush and a lighter, you can try this method as a last resort. Melt the end of the toothbrush with a lighter or another heat source. After the end is soft and melted, place it directly into the grooves of the screw head and let it cool. Once the plastic has hardened, you can try turning it counterclockwise to remove the screw. This method is best suited for loose screws. Tighter screws will cause the toothbrush to get stuck, 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 the plastic dripping everywhere.

Old CDs

If the screw is quite loose, you can use an old CD to remove it. Place the edge of the CD in one of the slots and gently rotate the CD counterclockwise. If the CD begins to warp, immediately stop spinning the disc. This means that the screw is too tight and the CD can break, resulting in injury.


If the screw doesn’t turn all the way, you can try using pliers to remove it. Grab the screw head pliers and slowly turn them counterclockwise to remove it.


This method will only work if the screw is quite loose. If it is fastened, do not attempt this method as this may result in injury! Place the edge of the nail in one of the grooves and rotate it counterclockwise until it is loose enough to remove the finger.Explore our other tool replacement guide and learn how to use it if you don’t have a wrench.

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Remove flat head screw

Read more: How to play Twinkle twinkle little star Flat head screws have a single groove running along the top of the screw head and are commonly found in older furniture. Several Phillips head screw removal methods can also be used for flat heads, these are:

  • Use a coin;
  • Use a kitchen knife to cut butter;
  • Use pliers;
  • Use your thumbnail.

Other ways to remove flat head screws are:

  • Use card. Any type of plastic card can be used, be it a credit or debit card, a library card, an ID card, or a National Insurance card. Do not use cards that are not easily replaceable – if the screw is too tight, your card may break. Place the edge of your chosen card in the slot and turn it counterclockwise until the screw can be removed.
  • Using tabs from a can of juice. Remove the tab from the can and place the flat edge into the slot of the screw, then turn counterclockwise to remove the screw.

Check out our list of 15 tools for every homeowner and get started on those DIY repair projects.

Remove a small screw

Even with a proper screwdriver, small screws are a nightmare to remove due to their small size, so the methods listed above won’t work. Use caution when trying the methods below as it is quite easy to slip the screw head or slide the tool.

  • Knife. Insert the tip of a sharp knife into the tip of the screw. If possible, tilt the knife slightly for more stability. Carefully turn the knife counterclockwise to remove the screw.
  • Metal nail file. Place the tip of the nail file on the screw head and turn it counterclockwise. Do not apply too much pressure when unscrewing the screw as you may loose the screw head.
  • Small scissors. If you have a small makeup pair of scissors, place the tip of one of the blades on the tip of the screw and turn it counterclockwise to remove the screw. Scissors should be sharp because blunt scissors will not work well when trying to remove a screw.
  • Tweezers. Place one of the sharp ends of the tweezers on the screw head and carefully turn them counterclockwise. If the tweezers don’t have a sharp tip, you won’t be able to insert them properly.
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So there we have it, now you can unscrew screws without a screwdriver. We always recommend that you use the right tool for the job to minimize the chance of injury. However, if you have no other choice or need to remove the screw in a hurry, using one of the above methods correctly should do no harm.

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Posts “how to unscrew a screw without a screwdriver” posted by on 2021-09-15 02:56:45. Thank you for reading the article at

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