What to Do If You Don’t Have a Screwdriver or Stripped a Screw

When it comes to screwdrivers, people usually have one of two problems: Either they need to screw something in and don’t have a screwdriver at all, or they’ve stripped a screw and are trying to screw it in. Here are our answers to these two common screwdriving problems, and some more!

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin,
September 14, 2016

What to Do if You Don’t Have a Screwdriver or Stripped a Screw

What to Use if You Don’t Have a Screwdriver

You need a Phillips-head screwdriver but your search through your junk drawer was fruitless. A great replacement in a pinch is a potato peeler. The curved top edge will fit into the x-shaped groove of the screw. If you need a flathead, try a credit card or a coin.

What to Do if You Stripped a Screw

Help a stripped screw get some traction with a rubber band. Just place the rubber band over the top of the screw, and press it into the groove with your screwdriver (try using a size above the size you’d normally use for that screw). Its grippy, flexible surface will fill in where the screw’s been stripped and help the screwdriver turn it. Here are some ways to save a more seriously stripped screw.

Keep Screws from Falling off Your Screwdriver

If you’re having trouble with your screws falling off your screwdriver as you’re trying to get them into the wall, first poke the screw through a piece of plastic wrap. Hold on to the wrap while you’re screwing, then pull it away when you’re finished.

Fill a Stripped Hole in the Wall

We love second uses for household items—especially ones we’d usually throw away like packing supplies. The next time someone sends you a box full of packing peanuts, save a few and throw them in your toolbox. They’re great for getting screws into stripped holes. Just stuff the packing peanut into the hole, and then turn the screw into its dense Styrofoam. Cut away any pieces of the peanut that remain outside the hole. You can also use steel wool to fill a hole.

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Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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