How to unscrew a rusty nut or bolt

Effective methods how to unscrew a rusty bolt or nut at home


Corrosion is the enemy of many metal products. Nuts and bolts are no exception. Because of rust, fasteners can turn into a monolith that cannot be disassembled.

A variety of mechanical and chemical methods are used to solve this problem. They help break down the strong oxide layer or dissolve it.

Let’s find out how you can unscrew a rusty bolt or nut that won’t unscrew at home.

Unscrewing Tools.

Plumbers and auto service technicians offer simple and effective methods for using to unscrew rusty bolts and nuts. They are tried-and-true and will help when a wrench fails to do the job.



Popular and simple method, which is resorted to first . First, the place of connection is cleaned with a metal brush.

Next, a tube is put on the wrench, which will act as a lever. For work, it is desirable to take a ring spanner, as the horn wrench can slip from the head of the bolt.

The part is turned by gently pressing on the lever . It is important to control the pressure and speed of movement.

To make the stuck nut easier to turn, it is recommended to lubricate the place of connection with turpentine or oleic acid.


This mechanical method is used in order to tear a rusted bolt out of its “socket” with one blow. The method is fast, but technically complicated. Therefore, only masters who know how to measure the force and direction of the blow can perform it.

The chisel is put at an angle to the nut. The tool must look in the direction opposite to the direction of the thread. Then, a hammer or small sledgehammer is struck on the butt of the chisel.

To prevent the impact tool from slipping, it is desirable to choose a chisel with a wide striking part. As a result of a sharp, strong blow, the bolt can be torn off.

Knocking on


This method is available due to its simplicity. It is often used as a preparation for the further processing of an oxidized connection.

Knocking allows you to break up the rust layer and makes it easier to unscrew. A hammer is struck with a nonferrous metal tapping block on the stuck item.

After tapping, you can use loosening. To do this, first try to tighten the part tighter and then loosen it. This correction of the threaded joint helps to achieve results.

Heating .

The thermal method is considered effective, especially if it is used in conjunction with other mechanical techniques. As a result of heating, the “stuck” oxides become more brittle and the part can be turned.

The fastener joints are heated using:

  • soldering iron,
  • a gas torch,
  • candle,
  • lighter.

The heat source is brought to the problem area and heated. Then, without waiting for it to cool down, try to unscrew the nut or bolt.

When using an open flame, safety rules should be observed and no flammable compositions should be used in parallel.

How to unscrew a rusty bolt or nut by heating, will prompt a video:

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Refined petroleum products, including gasoline and diesel fuel, help soften the oxide and dirt clogged joints. Moisten the joint liberally with the liquid and wait a quarter of an hour.

After the gasoline penetrates into the space between the threads, the part is tightened in a standard way with a wrench. This method helps if the corrosion process has recently begun and the rust layer is still slight.


A universal tool, often used in workshops, also helps to unscrew a rusty bolt or nut.

The complex of active substances WD-40, which includes white spirit, ensures the destruction of rusty plaque in the threads.

The method belongs to the popular and simple, if this liquid is available at hand. WD-40 is sprayed on the problematic fastener and wait 15-20 minutes. After that, the part is unscrewed in the usual way.


The action of this substance is similar to that of gasoline . Kerosene not only loosens the rust layer, but also dissolves the dirt trapped in the thread. The method is effective if the bolt or nut is blocked for a short time.

For severely rusted fasteners, a combination of methods should be used. For example, first treat with kerosene and then unscrew with a lever. The place of attachment is moistened with kerosene, covered with a rag that was previously soaked in the same liquid and incubated for 15-20 minutes.

Brake Fluid

This substance has a good penetrating property. It softens the rust and lubricates the threads. Thanks to these processes a stuck bolt or nut can be unscrewed more quickly. Both new and used brake fluid are suitable for work.

The agent is applied to the problem area, and a cloth is soaked in it. Make an “application” to the place of attachment and wait 2-3 hours. After the time has elapsed, unscrew the fastener with a wrench or lever.


This category of agents includes chemical solutions that react with iron oxides and convert them into harmless compounds. The latter form a sticky layer on the surface of the metal and thus protect it from repeated corrosion.

The composition of the converters includes:

  • organic and inorganic acids,
  • corrosion inhibitors,
  • metal passivators.


Liquid, gel and aerosol converters can be used and are used according to the instructions:

  1. Rust Treatment No-Rust.
  2. ASTROhim Antiruster.
  3. Lavr.
  4. RUNWAY.
  5. FENOM.


A mild concentration of vinegar can dissolve a metal oxide. The effect is based on the chemical reaction of acetic acid with iron oxides and hydroxides. Vinegar treatment is popular in cleaning metal surfaces from rust because of its effectiveness.

Non-unscrewable fasteners are poured over with vinegar and covered with a cloth soaked in it. Curing time depends on the degree of damage to the threads. On average, it ranges from 30 minutes to several hours. Periodically in the process of soaking with a wrench to check the pliability of the fastener.

On how to use vinegar to combat rust, this article will tell you.

Sodium bicarbonate is often used to remove rust from exposed surfaces. Applicable this method is also for stuck threaded fasteners, but its effectiveness is much lower compared to other methods.

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Dilute baking soda with water to form a pulp. Apply this mixture to the problematic fastener and hold for at least 30 minutes. Then scrub the fastener with a metal brush.



Carbonated beverages made with orthophosphoric acid are widely used in households and workshops.

Coke, Pepsi, Fanta can be used to dissolve rusty residue and thus make it easier to unscrew bolts and nuts.

The blocked fastener is poured over with Coca-Cola and covered with a rag that is abundantly soaked in the drink. After 20-30 minutes begin to check the result of the reaction. If the screw does not yield, the soaking continues.

On how to use Coca-Cola in the fight against rust, you can learn here.

Lemon Juice

Natural citrus juice contains citric acid, which interacts with oxides, turning them into salts. Lemon juice can be substituted for crystalline citric acid .

To prepare the reagent, a little water is added to the powder to make a concentrated solution. Then the liquid is applied to the rusty bolt and a rag. Cover the fixture with the soaked cloth and leave for 2-3 hours. If the product cannot be unscrewed, soaking continues.

On how to use citric acid against rust, you can learn here.

Sulfuric acid and zinc

This method is based on creating a galvanic cell . The method is effective, but requires the necessary reagents and careful handling.


A low plasticine or wax rim is made around the blocked connection.

In the improvised cup placed a small plate of zinc and pour sulfuric acid, which reacts with oxides and restores the oxidized metal.

Zinc as the more active element serves as the basis for the reaction, so that the nut itself is not destroyed. Depending on the thickness of the rust, the reaction takes 12 to 24 hours.

Sulfuric acid must be used carefully. It is important to observe safety precautions so that the liquid does not get on the skin.

Special compositions to remove corrosion

In addition to converters, you can find in stores special compositions designed to remove rust. They also help make it easier to unscrew corroded bolts and nuts.

The most popular universal remedies are:

  1. A liquid that has citric acid in its composition. Available as a spray.
  2. Rust Destroyer B-52 Vershina. Gel removes rust from the surface of iron, copper and alloys.
  3. Neomid Anti-Rust. A concentrated composition that not only destroys rust, but also creates a protective coating.
  4. Brulex Anti-Rust. Has excellent penetrating ability even in old rust layers.

Test the penetrating liquids in the video:

Prohibited methods

To unscrew a rusty screw, you should weigh the pros and cons. This will allow you to choose the best solution to the problem. Despite the fact that in some situations mechanical methods are applicable, it is not recommended to apply excessive force.

Do not pound on a stuck bolt with a hammer without using a bronze or other nonferrous metal pad. Hard hitting can tear the head off the bolt or distort the nut. This will make the problem even more difficult.

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Additional Tips

In order for the nut unscrewing procedure to have a positive result, it is useful to consider additional tips. They concern not only the destruction of the rust layer inside the fasteners, but also the screwing of the bolt itself. Often the problem is exacerbated by the fact that the screw was initially screwed with a violation of technology.

It is important to remember that:


  1. Do not use parts that are dirty or covered with rusty deposits, or apply excessive force when screwing.
  2. It is a good idea to coat the bolts with silicone, solidol or graphite grease before screwing them in.
  3. Before using any rust remedy, it is advisable to clean the outside of the fastener with a metal brush.
  4. If one method does not bring results, it is repeated or use an alternative method.


Threaded products covered with rust are amenable to unscrewing with the use of special means and methods. This can be a mechanical impact on the bolt or nut, folk remedy or a special chemical composition.

The method is chosen, guided by the degree of locking the connection, the availability of funds, as well as locksmith experience.

How to unscrew a rusted bolt

Metal fasteners have to be replaced due to corrosion

Car service workers and plumbers are well aware of the common problem associated with the unscrewing of rusted fasteners. Often it is extremely difficult, even impossible to do. You have to resort to various methods to achieve the result. As you can round a rusty bolt, nut or screw at home, let’s consider in more detail below.

Why a rusty bolt or nut is difficult to unscrew

Bolts and nuts covered with rust

Any metal fastener over time inevitably gets corroded, rusted. The process is accelerated if the bolts, nuts are often exposed to aggressive environments:

  • contact with water;
  • interaction with chemicals, including detergents;
  • Outdoor dirt, dust, caustic salts – they accelerate the corrosion process.

Despite the special protective coatings against rust, if the surface of the fastener was even slightly damaged, over time, the process of destruction is inevitable.

After some time, the rusted bolt must be removed and replaced, but often there is a problem – it does not unscrew. Due to metal oxidation processes, rust builds up on fasteners and parts and surfaces “stick” to each other. If this process develops at the location of the bolt threads, the situation becomes even more difficult.

The Best Ways to Unscrew Rusty Bolts and Nuts

How to unscrew a rusty bolt

Let’s look at the best ways to unscrew rusted parts in more detail.

The most well-known and common option is to unscrew with a lever. When the bolts are rusted and they do not cope with their function of fixing, for example, the toilet bowl, this problem is solved as follows. Brush with a stiff bristle brush to clean the fasteners of corrosion. A piece of metal pipe is put on the ring spanner or horn wrench and use it as a lever device. The action should be smooth. Then the fastener is removed with a socket wrench.

Dissolving rust


Car repair shops know how to unscrew a rusted bolt with the help of liquid WD – 40. The product is able to penetrate deep into the gaps and get to the threads of fasteners, completely dissolving the rust structure. It must be used as follows:

  • pre-shaking the liquid in the can, spray the problem area;
  • Wait a certain amount of time – from 20 to 40 minutes or more if the fasteners are large, and a lot of rust;
  • the spray liquid will quickly dissolve the rust and help break down the oxide deposits all over the threads of the fastener;
  • make vigorous movements to unscrew the bolt.
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Machining the connection

The problem is almost always solved by unscrewing the fasteners. If you do not have this spray at hand, there are many other effective methods.

Heating .

Metal expands when heated

An affordable and easy way to unscrew rusty fasteners is to heat them. Any heating device will do: construction hair dryer, soldering iron, gas torch or ordinary lighter. Metal when heated changes its structure, expands, becomes more pliable, and corrosion is destroyed by high temperatures:

  • the fastener is subjected to intense heat for several minutes, it is desirable to wait until the metal is red-hot;
  • without letting the fastener cool down, unscrew it, you can use methods of loosening and tapping;
  • use a socket wrench or a ring spanner.

If at the first attempt fastener did not yield, it is recommended to repeat the attempt 2-3 times. Practice shows that the bolt will unscrew.

Breakage of the nut.

Nut remover

In particularly difficult cases, when the bolt and nut do not yield in any way, experts recommend removing the nut by destroying it. Use a bolt cutter to cut off one of the edges of the nut, being careful not to damage other parts. After that, it is removed, and the bolt is taken out.

A nut puller is good to use. Under pressure, it tightens the part and it cracks. After that, the nut is easily removed with an ordinary wrench.

If the bolt is permanently stuck, then it is drilled out with a drill in the direction from the head to the bottom. The diameter of the drill should match the size of the bolt. A bolt that has been emptied from the inside will normally come out by itself.


Tapping a nut helps break it

Sometimes the situation can be handled by working backwards. If you can not unscrew a rusted fastener, for example, from the toilet bowl, it is necessary to make several vigorous efforts to tighten. Often this works, the bolt comes off and then unscrews easily afterwards.

Knocking on

Tapping with a hammer

There is another tip on how to unscrew a rusty bolt – it is also effective when the edges of the threads are torn off. Beforehand try to loosen the fastener, at least slightly, this contributes to microfractures in the clutches of rust. Next, the bolt is covered with an overlay of soft metal, hit hard several times in a row with a hammer. The oxidized connections should break down and crumble, and the stuck fastener will succumb to the effort.

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Tools for dealing with rusty fasteners

Vinegar dissolves rust

You may not always have WD-40 on hand, and not everyone will want to buy it to remove one or more bolts. There are many products available that can help remove rust and unscrew fasteners:

Brake fluid has increased penetrating power

  1. Coca-Cola. This beverage contains elements that are used in manufacturing for degreasing, for soldering, for cleaning metal from rust. The liquid is poured over the problem areas of the fastener, withstand for 20-30 minutes, then the bolt usually succumbs to the “miracle drink” and unscrewed.
  2. Vinegar 9%. You can safely use in this situation. Profusely wet the bolt with threads or even put a rag soaked in vinegar on it for 20 minutes to several hours, depending on the situation. It is better to go for a walk during this time, so as not to breathe the vinegar fumes. After such a soak, the bolts and nuts give up.
  3. Motorists often use brake fluid to corrode fasteners. The fluid penetrates into any cracks and threads and has lubricating properties. Fasteners unscrew with much less effort.
  4. Kerosene, gasoline or machine oil will work in this situation. These substances will penetrate the structure of the rust, destroy it, making it easier to unscrew. They are poured and left for some time, and then the fasteners are disassembled.
  5. Rust Converter – it contains a special acid that destroys iron oxides. The problem area is moistened with the converter, you can put a moistened rag for a few hours, after which the nut is easily unscrewed.

A rust inhibitor

Choosing the right tool

To achieve the desired result as quickly as possible, without damaging other parts, to unscrew rusty fasteners necessarily use the appropriate tool. It is better to prepare it beforehand, so that you can try several options at once:

  • Open-jaw and ring wrench;
  • socket wrench or socket head;
  • nut remover;
  • nails or awl of different diameters, stiff brushes for rust removal;
  • a hammer and chisel.

Tool kit

With the right tools, the problem will be solved quickly.

Preventing the Problem

If the bolts rust and bring a lot of inconvenience when unscrewing, it is worth to end the problem. Professionals advise:

  1. Be sure to cover all the attachment points of the parts with a special silicone grease before screwing them in. This protects metal fasteners from corrosion for a long time.
  2. It is desirable to carry out a preventive inspection of parts of the car or plumbing from time to time. It is not necessary to start the process if you notice a small rust on one of the fastener elements. It is always easier to replace fasteners and parts at the initial stage of corrosion, than to fight with rust when it has eaten the metal completely.
  3. Fasteners should be tightened in accordance with the degree of tightening of similar threaded connections.

Pretreating fasteners to prevent rust from forming too early

If, having previously selected the necessary tools, to use one or more of the methods listed at once, the rusted bolt is sure to give up. But it is better not to reach to the extremes and conduct periodic inspections.

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