How to Remove Rusted Screw from Shower Handle

Screws can ultimately become quite tricky to replace because they get stuck with the assembly. Corrosion is commonly the culprit and oxidation is expedited by constant exposure to liquids. Other factors that hasten the onset of rust include thermal shock (rapid changes in temperature, i.e. hot and cold showers), and the steady accumulation of moisture. 

The screw in the shower handle is an example of an item that is always exposed to these adverse elements. The shower handle screw is very susceptible to rust because it always comes in contact with water at varying temperatures. In time, this repeated exposure to water and other liquids can weaken the protective coating of the screw and speed up the takeover of rust.

7 Ways To Remove Rusted Screws From Shower Handles

Before you begin, make sure that you have the proper protective gear for this task. They may vary depending on the removal process that you will apply in extracting the screw. A pair of gloves is necessary when doing home improvement tasks. 

You do not want to breathe or get stung in the eye with rust particles, so it would be smart to wear goggles and a face mask. And, make sure that your pets and children are away from the work area. When the room is ready and you have the right safety accessories, you can try these techniques and see which will help you remove rusted screws from your shower handles.

1.Cutting the entire handle shower handle assembly

It may be the only option if you see that the screw and the parts surrounding it are markedly rusted. The procedure will leave your shower handle unusable. However, if the corrosion has spread largely, rendering the state of the entire assembly beyond repair, the best and fastest solution would be to cut the shower handle altogether. You can use a clamp as a grip and twist the head hard to remove it from its position. 

2.Lube job

You can use the ever-dependable WD-40 to loosen the screw stuck in the shower handle. The lubricant penetrates deep into the assembly and will help loosen the bolt. However, if the corrosion has spread into the threads of the handle, you can use the more advanced WD-40 Specialist. This lube is specifically formulated to disengage the clasp between the screw and wherever it is stuck into. After you have applied the lubricant, tap the assembly using a small mallet or hammer. 

3.Torch it

If lubricating the rusted portion fails, it would be best to use a torch. Set it to medium or low heat. The heat will force the rusty screw to expand and when it does, it would be easier to force out. However, you need to be extra careful when torching the screw, especially after lubricating, since most lubricants are flammable. 

4.Get rid of the rust

Use chemicals that can dissolve rust. The most common oxidizing agent is hydrogen peroxide. It dissolves rust which, in turn, can loosen the screw. You can even apply it to the replacement screw as a protective coating from corrosion. 

5.Nothing like a good hammer can’t force out

Place your screwdriver dead on the screw’s head. When the screwdriver is already set, hit it with the hammer as many times as needed to push it deeper into the screw. When you feel you have ample grip on the screw, turn it vigorously until the screw is removed. 

6.Pliers and some elbow grease

This will work if there is a part of the screw protruding out of the assembly. Using a pair of pliers and a lot of hand strength, grip the head of the screw tight and turn it with all your might. If it gives way even for a little bit, continue twisting the screw until it comes out.  

7.Cobalt drill bit

Drill a hole in the screw’s head using a drill with a cobalt drill bit. Drilling should be done carefully. Once you reach the right depth, release the bit from the drill. Use a pair of pliers to wiggle the drill bit until the screw comes off the handle.  

Why Do Shower Handle Screws Corrode Fast?

When a material (particularly metals) regularly comes in contact with water and oxygen, a chemical reaction occurs. This will result in rust formation. The speed with which the process of oxidation happens depends on the metal composition and the amount of coating applied to the screw. 

Weather can also hasten the corrosion process. If you live in a humid environment, damp air would be prevalent. You can expect many of the metal items in your home to corrode rapidly. 

Tightening the screw very hard is also a contributing factor. It puts additional stress on the thread and scrubs off some coatings. With moisture, a tight screw can lead to capillary action, which will, eventually, boost corrosion.  

Rust creeps into other parts of the assembly, resulting in a stuck shower handle.  Removing the handle can undoubtedly be a challenge. So, what do you do to remove the rusted screws from your shower handle?


Removing the rusty screw on the shower handle can be very frustrating, especially if you are on a DIY project and you want to finish your bathroom repair before the weekend is over. With a few tools that are usually readily available at home, you can replace that rusty screw not only in your shower handle but also in every item in the house that has rusted screws. Hopefully, these techniques will help you remove that stubborn screw from your shower handle in no time at all. 

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