How To Remove A Stripped Screw From A Shower Faucet

Removing your showerhead is usually a quick job that takes a matter of minutes. However, if you’re dealing with stripped screws, this can make the task seem impossible, especially if you’re only working with a standard drill.

With the right knowledge, this job can be relatively quick and painless to perform and luckily this article contains all you need to know when it comes to shower faucet removal and the tricky task of how to do it when the screws are stripped.

What Causes Stripped Screws?

You may start getting frustrated when you realize you’re dealing with a stripped screw and struggle to figure out how this could have possibly happened.

Stripped screws are a common problem and are usually caused by use of the incorrect tools or working too fast without paying full attention. Screws become stripped when the head is damaged so much so that you can no longer remove the screw with a screwdriver as planned.

Other reasons behind stripped screws include:

  • Over-tightening a screw
  • Using old drill bits
  • Using incorrect sized screwdrivers/ drills
  • Working too fast

What Screws Are Used In Shower Faucets?

Typically shower faucets come with 2 types of screws and knowing this information can make the job of removing a stripped screw much easier.

Allen Head: These screws have a small cylindrical head and threaded ends to receive an Allen wrench/ Hex for tightening or loosening.

Phillips Head: Phillips head screws have an “X” cross in the top and receive a Phillips screwdriver which is commonly found in a variety of sizes.

How To Remove Stuck Shower Handle Screws

There are several ways you can go about removing stripped screws from your shower. Some methods may work better than others depending on your screw. Some of these methods require some everyday DIY items most households tend to have and are always worth trying before you commit to drilling the stuck screw out.

Rubber Bands

Believe it or not, rubber bands can be an incredibly handy tool when it comes to removing stuck screws! They provide additional grip for your drill or screwdriver to help remove the stripped screw in your shower without the need to break a sweat.

  1. Place the rubber band out across the stripped screw
  2. Slowly start to unscrew and make sure your drill and rubber band are still positioned well enough to get a good grip.
  3. As your drill turns, you should notice the additional grip helps the screw to turn, leading to an easier removal.

If your stripped screw is a Phillips’s head then you can also use the rubber band trick with a flat head screwdriver to help wedge the stripped screw-free.

  1. Place the rubber band out across the stripped Phillip’s screw. You can even use a hammer to tap your screwdriver into the screw head further for extra grip, make sure to not break the rubber band.
  2. Turn the screw slowly until you feel movement and can release the stripped screw.


Using a hammer may seem like a bad idea as it is pushing the stripped screw further away, but you can use the hammer alongside a manual screwdriver to help break the screw for easier removal. Here’s how.

  1. Place your screwdriver onto the screw head, using your hammer provide a couple of taps to set the screwdriver into the screw.
  2. Once you can tell your screwdriver is set into the screw, strike it as many times as you need so it pushes deeper into the screws head to get a good grip.
  3. Once you have a good grip and your screwdriver is firmly set in the stripped screw, you can turn the screw to remove it from your shower faucet.


This method only works effectively if the stripped screw isn’t flush against your bathroom tiles. If you can see a part of the screw is sticking out, giving you a good area to grip, then this method may just work to help you get rid of your stripped shower faucet screw.

You’ll need some elbow grease for this process, but even if you can only get some movement from the screw using the pliers, it may be a good first step before trying another method to ultimately get your stripped screw out.

  1. Using your locking pliers try to position them so that you get a good grip of the screw. If you can’t get a good grip then you wont be able to get the best results possible and should probably try another method.
  2. Once you have a good grip, twist and pull on the stripped screw to try and gain some movement. If you feel the screw starting to give way then keep doing whatever movement works best for you.

Cobalt Drill Bit

This method is often the last resort for many, but it’s often the most effective and prevents the need to work up a sweat removing your faucet’s stripped screw. You’ll need a drill with a cobalt drill bit inserted.

The diameter should be big enough to just fit into the screws head slot, regardless of if it is an Allen-head or Phillips-head.

  1. Drill through the heads centre just enough until the bit passes through the head of the screw. Make sure to do this slowly and be cautious to prevent making this task more difficult for yourself.
  2. Once you reach the base of the screw head, swap your cobalt bit for one to match the screws head diameter.
  3. Using your new drill bit, drill out the head of your stripped screw by positioning your drill on the hole you created. This can take some time.
  4. Continue drilling your screw head until you reach the inside diameter and slowly pop out your drill bit from the handle.
  5. You should now be able to remove your faucet handle, this may take some wiggling. At this point you can also use your pliers to twist the faucet from the stripped screw.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can I Remove a Rusted Screw From a Shower Faucet?

The best way to remove a rusted screw is to drill through the screw’s head and turn it counterclockwise using a wrench to loosen and release the screw.

What Happens if a Screw Gets Stripped?

Stripped screws are often very old, meaning they’re damaged and you can no longer get a good grip using your screwdriver or drill to remove it.

How Do You Unscrew a Screw That Won’t Budge?

If your screw is stuck try to use WD-40 on the screw and use a hammer to knock it loose from any possible rust that may be holding it in place.

What Can I Use Instead of a Phillips Screwdriver?

If you find yourself without a trusty Phillips screwdriver you can use a flathead screwdriver, coin, or butter knife to remove the screw.

How Do You Unscrew a Stripped Screw Without a Screwdriver?

If you don’t have a screwdriver to remove your stripped screw, you can try using tweezers or a knife with an elastic band stretched across the screw head for better grip and easier removal.


Nothing can be more frustrating than a stripped screw, causing problems when you’re midway through any DIY project at home.

Hopefully, using the tips and tricks we have shared in this article, you have found a method that works well to remove your stripped screw from the shower faucet or any other utility that has been damaged over time, or just from a bad installation.