How to Remove a Plastic IKEA Screw: A Quick Guide

In the world of DIY furniture assembly, encountering a stubborn plastic IKEA screw can bring frustration and delays to any project. Whether it’s cross-threaded or stripped, removing a plastic screw can pose a challenge. However, fear not! In this quick guide, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions and handy tips on how to successfully remove a plastic IKEA screw without damaging the furniture or losing your sanity.

Understanding The Plastic Screws Used By IKEA

Plastic screws are commonly used by IKEA in their furniture assembly kits. These screws are made of sturdy plastic material, designed to hold the various components of IKEA furniture together. Understanding the structure and properties of these screws is essential for effectively removing them.

IKEA’s plastic screws come in different sizes and shapes, including flathead and Phillips head designs. They are typically threaded and can be easily inserted into pre-drilled holes. Unlike metal screws, plastic screws are lightweight, rust-resistant, and less likely to cause damage to the furniture pieces during assembly.

To remove a plastic screw, it is crucial to identify the type of screwdriver required. Most plastic screws can be loosened using a Phillips head screwdriver or an appropriate Allen wrench. Some larger screws may require the use of a pliers or adjustable wrench for added leverage.

Understanding the characteristics of IKEA’s plastic screws will enable you to approach the removal process with confidence and minimize the risk of damaging the furniture.

Tools needed for removing a plastic IKEA screw

Removing a plastic IKEA screw may require a specific set of tools to ensure a successful outcome. Here are the essential tools you will need for the task:

1. Flathead screwdriver: This tool is necessary for unscrewing the plastic cap or head of the screw. Choose a screwdriver with a wide and flat tip to provide a good grip on the screw.

2. Pliers: Pliers can come in handy when dealing with stubborn or stripped screws. Use them to grasp the screw head firmly and apply steady pressure while turning counterclockwise to remove the screw.

3. Power drill: If the screw is particularly difficult to remove, a power drill with a screwdriver bit attachment can provide additional torque. Ensure the drill is set to reverse mode to unscrew the plastic screw.

4. Heat source: Heat is often effective in loosening stuck screws. A heat gun or hairdryer can be used to warm the surrounding plastic or metal, expanding it slightly and making it easier to remove the screw.

By having these tools readily available, you will be well-equipped to tackle the task of removing a plastic IKEA screw efficiently and effectively. Remember to exercise caution and follow the necessary safety precautions to prevent any damage or injuries during the process.

Step-by-step Guide To Removing A Plastic IKEA Screw

Removing a plastic IKEA screw may seem like a daunting task, but with the right steps, it can be done easily and efficiently. Follow this step-by-step guide to successfully remove a plastic IKEA screw:

1. Identify the screw: Take a close look at the screw you want to remove. Determine the type of screwdriver needed to unscrew it. Most plastic screws used by IKEA can be removed using a Phillips or flathead screwdriver.

2. Gather the necessary tools: Before you begin, make sure you have the appropriate tools on hand. Generally, you’ll need a screwdriver, pliers, and a small container to hold any loose screws or parts.

3. Prepare the area: Clear the area around the screw, ensuring that there is ample space to work. This will help prevent any accidental damage to nearby furniture or surfaces.

4. Apply gentle pressure: Firmly grip the screwdriver and apply gentle pressure in a counterclockwise direction. Be careful not to use excessive force, as it may cause the screw to strip or break.

5. Use pliers if needed: If the screw is stuck or difficult to turn, you can use pliers for extra leverage. Place the jaws of the pliers around the screw head and carefully turn it counterclockwise.

6. Repeat if necessary: If the screw remains tight, apply more pressure with the screwdriver or pliers. It may take a few attempts before the screw starts to loosen.

7. Remove the screw: Once the screw has loosened, continue turning it counterclockwise until it can be easily removed from its place. Place the screw in a secure location to avoid misplacing it.

8. Clean and reassemble: After removing the plastic IKEA screw, clean the surrounding area and reassemble any furniture or objects as necessary.

By following these steps, you can successfully remove a plastic IKEA screw without causing any damage to your furniture or frustration during the process. Remember to be patient and exercise caution to ensure a smooth removal experience.

Using Heat To Loosen A Stubborn Plastic IKEA Screw

Using heat can be an effective method for loosening a stubborn plastic IKEA screw. Heat helps to expand the plastic, making it easier to unscrew. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use heat to remove a plastic IKEA screw:

1. Gather the necessary tools: You will need a hairdryer or a heat gun, a pair of pliers, and a cloth or towel to protect your hands.

2. Plug in the hairdryer or heat gun and set it to a medium or high heat setting. Make sure to hold it at a safe distance to avoid burning yourself or the surrounding surfaces.

3. Aim the heat at the plastic screw for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, ensuring the heat is evenly distributed. This will soften the plastic and make it more pliable.

4. Once the plastic feels warm to the touch, quickly grip the screw head with a pair of pliers. It’s important to act swiftly before the plastic cools down and hardens again.

5. Use the pliers to turn the screw counterclockwise, applying gentle but steady pressure. If the screw still doesn’t budge, repeat the heating process and try again.

Remember to handle the heated screw and tools with caution to avoid burns. Using heat can help you loosen a stubborn plastic IKEA screw and make the removal process much easier.

Alternative Methods For Removing A Stripped Plastic IKEA Screw

If you encounter a stripped plastic IKEA screw that is difficult to remove, there are several alternative methods you can try before giving up. Here are a few recommended techniques:

1. Rubber Band Method: Wrap a rubber band around the head of the stripped screw and press your screwdriver firmly against it. The rubber band will increase friction and provide a better grip, allowing you to turn the screw.

2. Pliers or Vise-Grips: Use a pair of pliers or vise-grips to grab onto the head of the screw and turn it counterclockwise. Make sure to apply steady pressure to prevent the screw from slipping.

3. Dremel or Rotary Tool: If the screw is completely stripped, you can carefully cut a new slot into the screw head using a Dremel or rotary tool. This new slot will provide enough grip to remove the screw with a flat-head screwdriver.

4. Drill and Screw Extractor: Use a drill to create a small hole in the center of the stripped screw. Then, insert a screw extractor into the hole and turn it counterclockwise to remove the screw.

Remember, it’s crucial to take your time and proceed with caution when attempting alternative methods. Apply steady pressure and use the proper tools to avoid any damage to the screw or surrounding materials.

Tips For Preventing Damage When Removing A Plastic IKEA Screw:

When removing a plastic IKEA screw, it is important to exercise caution to prevent any potential damage. Here are some useful tips to keep in mind:

1. Use the right tools: Ensure you have the correct tools for the job, such as a screwdriver with the right size and shape to fit the screw head. Using the wrong tools can lead to slip-ups and potential damage.

2. Apply gentle pressure: Avoid applying excessive force when attempting to remove the screw. This could cause the plastic to crack or break. Apply steady, gentle pressure while turning the screwdriver to avoid any damage.

3. Rotate counterclockwise: Plastic IKEA screws are usually tightened by rotating clockwise. When removing them, remember to rotate counterclockwise. Applying clockwise force to remove the screw can increase the risk of damage.

4. Use lubricants: If the screw is stubborn and difficult to remove, applying a lubricant can help loosen it. Use a small amount of WD-40 or silicone spray around the screw before attempting to remove it.

5. Avoid overheating: Be careful not to overheat the plastic while trying to remove the screw using heat. Excessive heat can cause the plastic to warp, melt, or become brittle, making the situation worse.

Following these tips will help you successfully remove a plastic IKEA screw without causing any unnecessary damage to the furniture or screw itself.

Troubleshooting Common Issues When Removing A Plastic IKEA Screw

When it comes to removing a plastic IKEA screw, you may encounter various issues that can make the process more challenging. Understanding common problems that may arise and the appropriate troubleshooting methods can help ensure a smooth removal process.

One common issue is encountering a stripped screw head. This can happen if the screwdriver slips or if excessive force is applied during the installation process. To address this problem, you can try using a rubber band or a piece of elastic between the screw head and the screwdriver. The extra grip provided by the rubber band can help you gain enough traction to twist the screw out.

Another issue that may arise is a tight or stuck screw. Sometimes, plastic screws can become jammed due to dirt, debris, or even the expansion of the material. In such cases, you can try using a pair of pliers with a rubber or cloth-covered grip to turn the screw counterclockwise. This added leverage can help loosen the screw and facilitate its removal.

If you find it difficult to turn the screw due to its location or angle, using an angled screwdriver or a miniature ratchet tool with a screwdriver attachment can make the task easier. These tools provide better access and allow you to apply force in tight or hard-to-reach spaces.

By being prepared for and addressing these common issues, you can successfully remove a plastic IKEA screw without causing damage to the surrounding furniture or fixtures.

Safety precautions to follow when removing a plastic IKEA screw

When removing a plastic IKEA screw, it is important to prioritize safety to prevent any accidents or injuries. Follow these precautions to ensure a safe and successful removal process:

1. Wear protective gear: Before you begin, put on protective gloves and safety glasses. These will protect your hands and eyes from any potential harm while removing the screw.

2. Disconnect power: If the furniture piece you are working on has any electrical components, such as lights or sockets, make sure to disconnect the power before starting the removal process. This will prevent any electrical accidents.

3. Use a stable surface: When attempting to remove the plastic screw, place the furniture on a stable surface. This will provide better stability and prevent any unnecessary movements that could cause accidents.

4. Do not force it: If the screw seems stuck or difficult to remove, avoid using excessive force. Forcing it can lead to the screw breaking or causing damage. Instead, try alternative methods or seek professional help if needed.

5. Follow IKEA instructions: Before attempting to remove the screw, refer to the IKEA instructions or online resources for specific guidelines. This will ensure that you are following the correct removal technique and not damaging the furniture in the process.

By following these safety precautions, you can remove plastic IKEA screws effectively while minimizing the risk of accidents or damage.


Q1: Can I remove a plastic IKEA screw without damaging the furniture?

A1: Yes, it is possible to remove a plastic IKEA screw without causing any damage to the furniture. With the right tools and technique, you can safely loosen and remove the screw.

Q2: What tools do I need to remove a plastic IKEA screw?

A2: To successfully remove a plastic IKEA screw, you will need a few basic tools such as pliers, a screwdriver, and a drill with a suitable bit. These tools will help you grip the screw properly and provide the necessary torque to remove it.

Q3: How can I prevent a plastic IKEA screw from becoming stripped?

A3: To prevent a plastic IKEA screw from getting stripped, it is important to use the correct size and type of screwdriver. Applying too much force or using a wrong tool can easily strip the screw head, making it difficult to remove. Additionally, exercising caution and taking your time while turning the screw can help prevent stripping.


In conclusion, removing a plastic IKEA screw is a simple task that can be easily accomplished with the right techniques. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, anyone can successfully remove a plastic screw without causing any damage. Remember to exercise patience and use the recommended tools to ensure a smooth removal process. With this knowledge, tackling any future situations involving plastic screws from IKEA furniture will no longer be a challenge.

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