How to Remove a Stripped Allen Screw

Removing Allen Screw

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Project Overview
  • Total Time: 5 - 20 mins
  • Yield: Remove one stripped Allen screw
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0 to $20

Allen screws are common on many household goods like furniture and ready-to-assemble kitchen and bathroom cabinets. The beauty of these hex screws is that they lay low and remain out of the way.

But Allen screws are easy to strip because they are so small. When Allen screws get stripped, their recessed nature becomes a disadvantage because there is so little material to grab onto. With this sequence of methods, you can remove most Allen screws in about five minutes, with more difficult removals taking 15 to 20 minutes.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 set Allen wrenches
  • 1 set T-handle hex wrenches
  • 1 set Torx wrenches
  • 1 Phillips head screwdriver
  • 1 small propane torch
  • 1 pair needle-nose pliers
  • 1 set left-hand drill bits
  • 1 rotary tool, with metal wheel
  • 1 screw extractor kit


  • 1 rubber band or sheet of paper
  • 1 bottle screw-grab friction liquid
  • 1 two-part epoxy


Follow this sequence for how to remove an Allen screw in order since the methods increase in intensity. If a method isn't working, don't force it. Instead, move to the next method. Allen screws always open counter-clockwise.

  1. Lay a Rubber Band or Paper on Top

    Lay a wide rubber band or sheet of paper over the Allen screw. Insert the correctly sized Allen wrench over the paper or rubber band and turn.

  2. Switch to T-Handle Hex Wrench

    The usual L-shaped Allen wrenches are thin and difficult to handle. Use a set of T-handle Allen hex wrenches for better hand grip and improved downward pressure.

  3. Add Screw-Grab Friction Liquid

    Screw-grab friction liquid creates a positive grip on screws to increase torque with less slipping. Add one drop of screw-grab friction liquid to the top of the Allen screw. Insert the correctly sized Allen wrench and turn.

  4. Turn With a Larger Allen Wrench

    Stripping an Allen screw widens its internal hex shape. Move up to the next-sized Allen wrench and turn with that.

  5. Turn With a Torx Wrench

    Torx is a trademarked screw and wrench with a six-point star-shaped pattern. A similarly sized Torx wrench might provide a firmer grip on a stripped Allen screw. Or you might even discover that you actually have a Torx screw, not an Allen screw.

  6. Turn With a Phillips Head Screwdriver

    Insert the tip of a Phillips head screwdriver and turn the Allen screw.


    Take your time and go easy to avoid stripping out the Allen screw even more.

  7. Apply Heat

    If the surrounding material is not flammable, apply heat from a small propane torch for just a few seconds, then turn the screw.

  8. Grab With Needle-Nose Pliers

    If any part of the Allen screw head is exposed, grab it with needle-nose pliers and turn. If the Allen screw is embedded in wood and you don't mind gouging the wood, press into the wood so you can grip more of the screw head.

  9. Use a Left-Hand Drill Bit

    Left-hand drill bits are the same length and diameter as conventional drill bits except that the spiral turns leftward.

    From the set, choose a left-hand drill bit that's narrower than the assumed diameter of the Allen screw (the shank will usually be smaller than the head). Insert a left-hand drill bit into an electric drill. Keeping the drill vertical, drill into the Allen screw until it turns out.


    Remember to switch the drill rotation to REVERSE.

  10. Create a Groove to Turn With a Screwdriver

    Place a metal cutting wheel into a rotary cutting tool. Cut a shallow groove into the Allen screw head. Switch to a flat-head screwdriver and turn out the Allen screw.

  11. Use a Screw Extractor Kit

    A screw extractor kit is much like a set of left-hand drill bits except heavier and larger in diameter. Screw extractor bits start at 3/16-inch. Add the screw extractor bit to the drill or the manual T-shaped handle. Turn the bit counter-clockwise into the Allen screw until the screw emerges.

  12. Use a Two-Part Epoxy

    Choose an Allen wrench or T-shaped hex wrench that fits the Allen screw as tightly as possible. Mix two-part epoxy composed of a resin and a hardener. Often, this is done by squeezing a double-barreled applicator to form a single compound. Other two-part epoxies are mixed from separate containers on a piece of cardboard or another disposable material.

    Glue the wrench firmly to the Allen screw. You may need to wait up to 12 hours for the epoxy to fully cure. Then, turn the screw out.

  • How do you get an Allen screw out that's stripped?

    Most Allen screws that are stripped can be removed by turning an Allen wrench through a rubber band or piece or paper, pressing harder on the screw with a T-handle Allen hex wrench, or adding a drop of screw-grab friction fluid.

  • How do I remove a stripped 3mm Allen screw?

    To remove a stripped 3mm Allen screw, first try lay a wide rubber band on top. Next, use a 3mm Allen wrench to turn the screw through the rubber band. If that does not work, switch to a 4mm Allen wrench without the intervening rubber band.

  • How do you remove a stripped Allen bolt with a rubber band?

    You can often remove a stripped Allen screw by placing a wide rubber band over the top of the screw, then using a correctly sized Allen wrench over the top. The rubber band helps to widen the Allen wrench's grip and give it more friction.