How to Remove Small Screws

Written by emma lee
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How to Remove Small Screws
Having a screw loose can be a good thing. (screws image by Federico Romano from

Small, delicate screws can make you feel as if you are all thumbs, but there are ways to conquer problem screws. Tiny screws are used to attach wall plates that cover electrical sockets, and even smaller screws attach to computers or electrical appliances. Assembly-line workers using automatic screwdrivers may have over-tightened the screws, making them difficult to loosen.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Magnet
  • Eyeglass screwdrivers
  • Watch repair screwdriver
  • Paint thinner
  • Rust remover

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  1. 1

    Select the proper width screwdriver and the correct screwdriver head to remove the screw. The screw will have either one slot (flat-head) or a cross (Phillips head). Using the correct width and head will prevent damage to the head of the screw.

  2. 2

    Use screwdrivers designed for eyeglasses or watch repair for small or delicate screws. Such screwdrivers can be purchased in a set of various sizes and stored in a case.

  3. 3

    Remove paint from wall plates or other painted surfaces with paint stripper, paint thinner or nail polish remover. Dab a small amount of remover onto a cloth and clean the paint from the screw. Use the appropriate-sized screwdriver to remove the screw.

  4. 4

    Dab penetrating rust remover onto a rusted screw. Allow the remover to work several minutes and remove the screw with the proper screwdriver.

  5. 5

    Magnetise a screwdriver to lift the screw out of the hole after it is unscrewed. Magnetise the screwdriver by placing a magnet at the base of the metal. Slide the screwdriver along the magnet until it reaches the tip of the screwdriver. The screw will attach to the screwdriver tip once it has been unscrewed and will easily lift from the hole.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep tape handy and attach the screws to the tape as each screw is removed.

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