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How to remove a rivet from clothing

Updated April 17, 2017

Rivets can be decorative and functional on clothing. What happens, though, if the rivet is damaged and needs to be replaced? When was the last time you threw out a jacket or pair of jeans because of a broken rivet or snap? Stop throwing away your clothes and learn to remove the rivet yourself so that you can replace it. Special tools are commercially available to remove rivets, but you can accomplish this task with some simple household items.

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  1. Slide the flathead screwdriver between the rivet and the material.

  2. Tap the end of the screwdriver lightly to loosen the rivet.

  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 on the other side of the material between the back of the rivet and the backside of the material.

  4. Using the pliers, pry the rivet top away from the rivet bottom.

  5. Tip

    If the rivet is warped, use the pliers to straighten it. Needlenose pliers can also be used in place of a flathead screwdriver to separate the rivet from the material.


    Proceed slowly and carefully, as forcing the tools can create a bigger hole in the material. Once a rivet is removed, the hole remaining in the fabric should be repaired so that it does not fray. This can be accomplished by replacing the rivet that was removed, patching the material, or simply sewing around the hole to create an eyelet or buttonhole effect.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pliers
  • Flathead screwdriver

About the Author

Cindy Wynn is a former attorney who became a freelance writer after teaching a speech class at a local community college. Wynn holds a bachelor's degree in English and a Juris Doctor. She is currently working toward her master's in English.

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