How to Remove Rusted Screws | 9 Simple Steps By Expert

Have you ever had trouble removing rusted screws? It is normal for rust to spread over the metal surface of a screw or nut over time. This is due to humidity. Older screws also become ground and worn. So when you want to remove them, you have a lot of difficulties. It is not pleasant to try to get a screw stuck and not succeed. But don’t worry. We will teach you how to remove rusted screws, as highlighted below.

We want to share a vital tip: do not try to remove the ground or rusty screw with force. By forcing the screw out, it may break, and all work will be in vain. If the screw does not loosen when turning carefully with a screwdriver, do not force it. Follow our tips on how to remove a screw with a worn or rusted head.

  • Using a suitable lubricant
  • Using a blowtorch
  • Use pressure or impact screwdriver
  • Heat the rusted screws with a heat gun
  • Using cola
  • Using a rubber band or inflatable balloon
  • Welding a nut to the screw head
  • Using a knock-out screw extractor
  • Using a mechanic’s screwdriver

Why does Screw Rust?

When a screw spends a long time in contact with water and humidity, it ends up rusting. But that’s not the only reason; the passage of time is also why this ends up happening.

Therefore, it is normal that we frequently find ourselves in front of a rusty screw, and we have to remove it.

how to remove rusted screws from wood

How to Remove Rusted Screws

Over time and under the influence of inclement weather, screws and bolts begin to rust. However, you may desire to make repairs, but unfortunately, the screws are stuck. How do you remove rusted screws? You will have to unclog them to proceed to the next step of your repairs. This can be done through the following ways:

Using a suitable lubricant

To remove rusted screws, you will need a suitable lubricant and a screwdriver or a wrench for the screw. As for the choice of product, it is advisable to choose penetrating oil according to the extent of the damage. We can find in particular: 

Molybdenum disulfide based penetrating oil: it penetrates and acts by capillary action, eliminating rust and grease. It is a product based on mineral oil, without additives of resins, silicones, or acids.

The graphite penetrating oil is a product made from mineral oil and graphite. It can be used with work in electrical contacts.

The refrigerant penetrating oil or coolant penetrating oil is based on mineral oil and rust dissolving additives. It produces frost at -39 ° C and thus causes a thermal shock, which causes the rust to crack.

Food penetrating oil is used in the food industry. The NSF H1 standard allows the product to be tolerated even in contact with food. 

To remove rusted screws using a suitable lubricant, follow these steps:
  • Spray the product to loosen the rusty nut or screw.
  • Leave to act for the duration specified on the packaging
  • Try to gently loosen the screw or bolt by hand without forcing too much to avoid damaging the screw thread.
  • Turn the screw one way more to the other to chip away any traces of rust. 
  • If the nut or screw still resists, spray again with the penetrating product, leave to act, and start unscrewing again.
  • Your screw should now loosen without any difficulty. 

Using a blowtorch

You’ve probably heard that a blowtorch can help you remove a rusty screw. This is true. Though it is not our first option, there are times when it is necessary to resort to it.

Its use is because the heat given off by the torch expands the material and easily removes the oxide. Thanks to the fact that the heat will cause the area to grow. If also, you apply ice later, you will get it to contract with the cold so that the material will come loose easily. You must bear in mind that it is crucial to be careful not to burn and damage other areas that you are interested in conserving. To do this, you can cover the areas you want to protect with a damp cloth. Still, you have to be especially careful.

Use pressure or impact screwdriver

This is a screwdriver that, when hitting on it, multiplies the blow and translates it into a turning force that loosens the most difficult screws. For this tool’s use, the quality of the screw heads is essential, as it must be hard not to deform.

Heat the rusted screws with a heat gun

This causes the film created in the oxidation of the metal (cold welding) when heating the screws to break when it expands. Thus, as the screws cool, they contract and are easier to remove. On the other hand, the nuts loosen when they are hot since they are dilated.

Heat the screw for 10 minutes and then apply lots of ice to the area. The expansion due to heat and the subsequent compression of the materials will cause a change the structure by loosening the screw. A homebrew concoction of 50 percent Acetone and 50 percent ATF may work well in some cases too, but be mindful of the fumes. (popularmechanics.com)

Using cola

This home remedy works very well, and you may have more on hand. Pour a can of this drink over the rusted screw, let it sit for at least twelve hours, and then try to loosen it. Colas contain phosphoric acid, which reacts with iron oxide, causing cavities to open, weakening the bond, making it easier to separate the screw.

Using a rubber band or inflatable balloon

When you come across a screw with a rusted, chipped, or worn head, try removing it using a rubber band. You will get the screwdriver to grip much better, preventing it from sliding due to the rust. You will also prevent the screw from wearing even more.

Welding a nut to the screw head

If you have a welder, use a nut with a diameter similar to the head of the rusted screw and welded over it. Next, use the wrench on the nut and proceed to loosen. Here, it would help if you employed protective measures. Wear gloves, goggles and a mask. Also, please don’t do it with children around or flammable liquids.

Using a knock-out screw extractor

This can be used when the head of a screw is rusted. To do this, you need to drill with a metal bit in the center of the screw. The size of the drill should be smaller than the diameter of the screw.

Then, once the hole is made, insert the extractor into it with a hammer’s help and begin to unscrew. 

Using a mechanic’s screwdriver

This screwdriver is very useful both for tightening and loosening screws. Their great advantage is that its rod incorporates a hexagonal profile in which you can attach a fixed or star wrench to exert more pressure on the star head screws, tightening them more force, or in the case that leads us today to loosen rusty screws.

Rusted Screws: How to reuse them After Removal

If you usually throw away rusted screws, you must have always thought you were doing the right thing; after all, they are a great danger and worthless, correct? Wrong. Most rusted screws can still be used if you remove the rust, of course. This can be done using an environmentally friendly cleaning agent that you should probably have in your kitchen pantry.

How to Remove Rusted Screws

Step 1: Check the label on your vinegar as it should not be diluted. Many kinds of vinegar are mixed with water to reduce its acidity, but you need them to be very strong to remove rust.

Step 2: Fill 2/3 of a waterproof container with vinegar. However, leave at least 3 cm at the top to not overflow when you place the screws.

Step 3: Soak the screws in the vinegar for 24 hours. After you submerge them, cover the container tightly. You can shake the screws every 2 – 3 hours to repel the rust.

Step 4: Rub the screws with a toothbrush under warm, running water. Inside the vinegar, all, or almost all, the rust will come off. However, you can remove the stains that remain while removing the vinegar by rubbing the top of the screw.

Step 5: Dry the screws completely. Do not let them air dry, but dry them entirely with a cloth. If the cloth starts to get damp, replace it with another one; otherwise, new rust will appear on your screw in a short time.

How to Remove Rusted Screws: FAQ Section

How do you unscrew a screw that won’t budge?

If you are faced with a screw that won’t budge, you can use a pressure or impact screwdriver and hammer, as earlier highlighted.

What takes rust off of screws?

Substances such as vinegar and suitable lubricants usually take rust off of screws.

How do I remove a screw that is stuck?

To remove a screw that is stuck, you can use a heat gun or knock-out screw extractor.

Conclusion

Surely more than once, you have tried to remove a screw, and you cannot remove it because it is stuck. It may be due to poorly screwed or corrosion of the metal. The oxidation itself creates a layer between the screw threads that produce an absolute lock, making it practically impossible to loosen it. But with the steps on how to remove rusted screws highlighted above, this can be done easily.

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