How To Remove One Way Screws – Helpful Tips For you

One way screws, also known as security screws, actually have a simple design. You can get one with a round head or a flat head. Its sizes range from #6 to #14. Since one way screws are slotted screws, you can install them using a standard slotted screwdriver. The thing is - these screws are easy to install but difficult to remove.

Staying true to its name, security screws are used to prevent vandalism or theft. It’s often used in safes, public bathroom fixtures, and more. However, there are homeowners who choose such screws, too.

Removing one way screws is difficult, but it’s not impossible. If you look at how they are designed, you’ll notice that when you extract them, the slotted screwdriver tip will ride out of the slot. Still, there are tools and techniques you can use on how to remove one way screws.

remove one way screws

One way screw

Do you want to learn how to do it? Here’s a guide that might be able to help you.

In trying to remove one way screws, you can prepare or buy one of the following.

Extraction Tool Or One Way Screw Remover

remove one way screws - one way screws remover

An extraction tool looks like a screwdriver without a full-width slotted head. In its place are two steel pins. These pins don’t ride up on the security screw’s curved surface. However, they give you the grip you need in order to turn the screw out, which is really what your goal should be.

Locking Pliers

remove one way screws with locking pliers

Locking pliers, also known as mole wrench or vise-grips are tools that you can lock into a position using the tipping point. On one side of the handle, you can find a bolt that you can use to adjust the jaws’ spacing. On the other side is a lever that can push the handle apart and unlock the pliers.

Standard Screwdriver

remove one way screws with standard screwdriver

A flat-head screwdriver can also be used in removing one way screws. You only have to learn the right way to do it. This tool can fit in the slotted head of the security screw. You can use this to your advantage.

Screw Extractor

remove one way screws with screw extractor

A screw extractor is used in removing seized or broken screws. However, note that this should not be your first option. Only use this as a last resort and/or when you will no longer need to use the one way screw.

Center Punch

use center punch to remove security screw

A center punch has a conical point which you can use to make an indentation in the one way screw. It allows you to drill a hole in the screw’s head without slipping. This tool has been proven to be the most useful among all other tools.

5 Methods to Remove

When you’ve chosen the tool you want to use, you can follow one of the following steps.

Using The Extraction Tool Or One Way Screw Remover

Step 1: Look for an extraction tool. While in this step, you need to know that they are not easy to find nor are they cheap. Also, the hardware staff may or may not tell you that this tool does give 100% guarantee to work. It doesn’t work especially when the one way screw is driven into a solid wood with a power driver.

Step 2: Once you have bought one, place the two steel pins of the extraction tool into the slots which you can find on the head of the one way screw.

Step 3: Turn the extraction tool the way you would turn a regular screwdriver.

Step 4: Once the one way screw has come right out, put it aside to avoid creating any accidents.

Using Locking Pliers

Step 1: Buy a locking plier or get one from your toolbox. You have to know that this is one of the easiest alternatives in removing one way screws, but it does not completely guarantee success. Locking pliers don’t work if the screw has a rotating sleeve or a recessed flat head as the plier will not be able to have a good grip.

Step 2: Lock the pliers around the one way screw.

Step 3: Once you have a good grip around the screw, firmly grip the pliers and turn it around. This will remove the screw from its place.

Step 4: The screw will come right off. When it does, put it aside.

Using Standard Screwdriver

Step 1: You probably already have a screwdriver. Prepare it beforehand.

Step 2: Drill a slot in the head of the one way screw. Make sure that the result looks more or less like a flathead screw.

Step 3: Once a there’s a flathead slot in the screw, you can fit your standard screwdriver into it.

Step 4: Remove the screw using your screwdriver. Then, put the screw aside.

Using A Screw Extractor

Step 1: Use a drill to create a hole into the screw’s head. Make sure that you don’t make a hole that’s too big-- about ¼ the width of the screw head is enough.

Step 2: Fit a screw extractor on the hole you’ve created.​

Step 3: Turn the screw extractor to remove the screw.​

Step 4: Put the screw aside.​

Using A Center Punch

Step 1: Place the center punch on the one way screw’s sloped portion.

Step 2: Use a hammer to rap the center punch repeatedly in the screw head. Doing so will make the head rise above the surface.

Step 3: When you see a part of the screw away from the wall, grab it with your locking pliers and remove the screw.

Step 4: Set the screw aside.

Useful Tips

To make the job easier, here are some tips that you can use:

  • When you’re using locking pliers, but you can get enough grip, you can use a rotary grinder or a coarse file in flattening the screw’s two opposite edges.
  • It’s better if you use a rotary tool or a hacksaw instead of a drill in creating a new slot in the head of the one way screw.
  • After you hammer a center punch on the head of the one way screw, you can also use the standard screwdriver to remove the screw.
  • Also, remember not to make hard hammer blows on the center punch as it will probably lead you to slipping and missing your mark.
  • Be careful with your fingers when doing this job. It’s better if you wear hand gloves while trying to remove the screw. However, don’t choose gloves that are too thick. They can get in the way of your operation.
  • You can also try to use a penetrating lubricant on the one way screw. Let it soak for at least 30 minutes.


Which of the five tools given above- One Way Screw Remover, Locking Pliers, Standard Screwdriver, Screw extractor, and Center Punch, worked for you? Let us know in the comment section below.

Do you still think it is too difficult to remove one way screws? If you have met more problems when performing the task, we’d be happy to listen to it and try to craft a solution for it.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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