A stripped screw is one in which the slot has been rounded or widened to the point where the screwdriver can't grip or catch it. Trying to force it only exacerbates the problem by ruining the already stripped head further. Before doing anything else, try one of the following methods:

  • Try using a larger screw driver. Sometimes this will give you enough of a grip on the screw to get it out.
  • Try using a Torx or Allen screw driver. These screw drivers, which have six-point heads, may help you have enough of a grip to get the screw out.
  • Try removing the screw with clamp-style needle-nose pliers. This is especially helpful if you managed to get the screw partially out, but can't get it totally out. Simply grab hold of the screw with the pliers and finish unscrewing the screw [source: Apartment Therapy].

If the first two methods listed above don't work, you might want to try this one. You'll need a flat blade screwdriver, one size larger than the original screw slot size, and a wide rubber band.

  1. Place the rubber band over the screw slot.
  2. Place the screwdriver blade onto the rubber band and press it into the slot.
  3. Turn the screw slowly while applying pressure. The rubber band should curve around the blade, filling in the gap and providing friction [source: lifehacker].