How to Unscrew a Screw Without a Screwdriver?

how to unscrew a small screw without a screwdriver

“It often happens that you want to remove a screw from a piece of furniture, laptop, refrigerator, or any other device, but you don’t have a screwdriver. In situations like these, you wonder how to unscrew a small screw without a screwdriver.”

Well, there is nothing to worry about sometimes even professionals experience the same frustrating problem. In this article, you will learn how to loosen a screw and ultimately remove it by using everyday objects. Although using a screwdriver is the easiest way still there are various methods by which you can easily remove the screw.

We will be exploring multiple techniques to unscrew small screws, Phillip head screws, flathead screws, and torx screws.

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Unscrewing a Small Screw

It is challenging to remove small size screws from the electronics. The problem arises when you don’t have a small screwdriver, and you speculate how to remove small screws from electronics. However, if you do not have access to the small screwdrivers, you can use some unique methods.

None of those mentioned above methods will help you with these small screws. It would be best if you had some unique techniques, which are as follow:

Use a Metal Nail file:

Put the tip of the nail filer on the top of the small screw and rotate it counter-clockwise. Do not insert to pressure while turning as you may strip the screw head.

star bit screwdriver

Use Tweezers:

You can also use tweezers to remove the small screws. Place one of the tweezers’ pointed tips into the screw head and turn it in a clockwise direction. Moreover, make sure tweezers have pointed tips otherwise, it will not turn the screw.

Use Tip of a Knife:

Take the most pointed knife you have and put its tip inside the screw head. Now slightly tilt the knife to achieve stability. Carefully start rotating the knife in a counter-clockwise direction, and soon you will extract your screw.

Use Small Scissors:

Lastly, if you have a pair of vanity scissors, use it to unscrew the screw. Put one of the sharp-pointed blades on the head of the screw and rotate counter-clockwise. In addition, always use a sharp scissor for unscrewing the small screws.

By using the methods mentioned above, now you know how to unscrew a small screw without a screwdriver. All these techniques will help you with the extraction of small screws

Moreover, check how to remove stripped screws with easy tips and tricks.

Unscrewing a Phillips Head Screw

Phillips head screws have two groves on the top, which looks like a cross in shape. Out of these two grooves, one is slightly longer than the other; remove the screw using the extended groove. Moreover, Phillip’s screws are the most common type of screws.

While using the following methods, be careful. As the strips of these screws can quickly wear down, making it difficult to remove.

Butter Knife:

makeshift screwdriver

It’s an ancient technique as old as the screws, so their chances you have encountered it before. Take the butter knife and place its flat head in one of the groves, preferably the groove with a longer length. Now start turning the knife in a clockwise direction to unscrew it.

To avoid any potential damages, make sure you are using a good quality knife. Otherwise, the knife will bend if the screw is exceptionally tight.

Coin or Credit Card:

You always have a coin in your pocket; try using it to unscrew the screw. This trick is not helpful with tiny screws as coins are thick, but it works perfectly fine with larger screws.Simultaneously, if you are working with camera tripod screws, toy screws, and battery covers, the coin method works effectively.

Try inserting the edge of the coin into the more elongate groove of the screw and rotate it counter-clockwise. Pennies and Dimes are useful for this method. Furthermore, you can also use the same process by using a credit card that works precisely like coins.

Rubber Band:

Sometimes when the knife doesn’t work to unscrew a screw, a combination of a rubber band and a butter knife works the best.

Choose a rubber band wide in size and place it around the screw, it will create friction. After placing the rubber, you can easily turn the screw with your figures. Moreover, this method works best with the ones of the two above.

Flathead Screwdriver:

makeshift screwdriver

If you do not have a small Phillip head screwdriver, you can use the flat head screwdriver to remove Phillips screws. Place the flat head screwdriver on the more extended groove of the screw and rotate it counter-clockwise. Furthermore, this screwdriver will not work on the smaller size and star head screws but works efficiently with regular size screws.

star shape screwdriver


If the head of the screw is slightly raised above the surface, you can use a hacksaw to extend one of the grooves’ lengths. Now use a flat-headed screwdriver or coin to rotate it anticlockwise to unscrew the screw. Lastly, while using the hacksaw, ensure that you don’t cut the surface in which the screw is fastened.

Old CD:

If you want to remove a loose screw, try extracting it with an Old CD. Place the edge of the CD on one of the grooves and slowly rotate it in a clockwise direction. Furthermore, if you feel like the CD is twisting, immediately stop.


This method works best with loose screws. It would be great if you have an old toothbrush and a lighter. Moreover, be careful when using this technique as it involves fire.

Start by melting the end of the toothbrush using a lighter or any other heating source. Once the plastic toothbrush starts getting softer, place it on the groove of the screw head and let it cool down. Lastly, if you feel like plastic is hardened, start rotating it in a counter-clockwise direction.


torx head screwdriver

Although chances are less, you will have a plier if you don’t have a screwdriver, still if by any chance you have it, screw removal is possible.

Pliers will only work if the head of the screw is slightly raised above the surface. If the screw is all the way screwed deep inside the surface, you cannot extract it using a plier. Lastly, use the pliers or vice grips to have a firm grip on the screw head and then slowly rotate it in a counter-clockwise direction.

Thumb’s nail:

Suppose you are in a situation where you do not have any items mentioned above, and you ponder how to unscrew a small screw without a screwdriver. Use the tip of your thumb’s nail and put it inside the screw groove. Now, slowly rotate the nail in a clockwise direction until it is loose enough to extract out.

Always keep in mind that this method will work only with loose screws. Lastly, if the screws are tight, do not use this trick as it may lead to severe damages like injuring your thumbnail badly.

As it means the screw is too tight, and there is a chance that the CD will break.

There will be times when you have to fix a screw and for that, you can learn the methods of fixing stepped holes particularly in metal here.

Unscrewing a Flathead Screw

Flathead screws are the ones having on groove present at the head of the screw. They are mostly present in older furniture. If you are wondering how to unscrew a small screw without a screwdriver, the following are some methods for extracting a flathead screw.

We can also apply some of the Phillips head screw driver’s methods like using a kitchen butter knife, coin, pliers, and thumb’s nail.

Following are some other ways to unscrew a flathead screw:

starhead screw

Use a Tab of Juice/Soda Can:

Separate the tab from the can of the juice or any other drink. Place that tab on the groove of the flathead screw and then rotate it in a clockwise direction.

Use a Plastic Card:

If you have any plastic card like an identity (ID)card, debit card, credit card, or library card, you can use it to unscrew the screw. Insert the edge of your card inside the groove and turn it. Furthermore, keep in mind that your card can snap if the screw is tight so try using the replaceable card.

Unscrewing a Torx Screw

It is a star-shaped screw, which is very popular and typically requires a star head screwdriver for the extraction. However, if you do not have one and are pondering how to unscrew a Torx screw, don’t panic, there are ways to do that.

By using the following tools and methods, you can remove a star headed screw:

Use a Small Flat Head Screwdriver:                                                                                          

star shaped screwdriver

Place the head of the screwdriver between two opposite edges of the screw head and slowly turn it in counter-clockwise. For a security Torx screw, insert the flat head against one of the outer grooves and the head’s center nub. Moreover, the security Torx screw usually turns in the opposite direction so rotate them clockwise to unscrew.

Try Breaking the Pin on the Security Torx Screw:

You use this method when you have a regular Torx screwdriver but not a secure version. Simply remove the center pin out of the screwdriver. For that, you will require a hammer and a chisel; place the chisel on the top of the screw. After that, gently tap on the top of the chisel to remove the center pin.

Also, if you don’t have a hammer drill you can learn how to screw into concrete without a hammer drill here.

Now you know how to remove Torx screws following the methods mentioned above.

Get the best screwdriver bit sets, that are well researched and high rated.


Unscrewing a screw might seem a lot to do with tools. However, to make it easy, the above tricks will benefit you. Although you have to remember that full concentration is needed to avoid any damages while unscrewing, be it the screw, material, or yourself.
Therefore, carefully read the ways above to make it a success. In addition to that, choose the trick that is most convenient for you. You do not have to purchase Hacksaw if the work can be done using an Old Cd.


Now you have learned how to unscrew a screw without a screwdriver and know how to tackle your problem. However, still, there are some commonly asked questions which are mentioned below: 

What is the best substitute for a hex and a Torx screwdriver?

Nothing can replace these two, but a small flathead screwdriver might help you. Moreover, if you are dealing with a security Torx screw, punch out its pin first and then use a flathead screw.

What can I use instead of an eyeglass screwdriver?

Eyeglass screwdriver is a very special screwdriver, and to substitute it is not easy. However, if you do not have time to get one try using tweezers and razor blades in an emergency.

What is the substitute for Phillips screwdriver?

In case you don’t have the proper screwdriver, use a flathead screwdriver. But if you don’t have any screwdriver try a coin or a table knife to unscrew.

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