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DIY Home Repair - Fix a Loose Kitchen Cabinet Door Screw With A Toothpick!

Updated on August 24, 2009


One of the easiest and most impressive home improvement tips I know is the toothpick trick.  Loose screws are an extremely common problem in older cabinet hinges, as well as the many other places you find screws in your home. The main problem in fixing a loose screw is that it can’t simply be retightened in most cases, especially when it is used in wood or plastic.  Since the screw has already become loose, it will no longer fit tightly inside its original hole. This problem is exacerbated when the screw is not fixed immediately as it will wiggle around and become progressively looser with time.  Usually, it would be easy to fix this problem by simply inserting a longer screw, however in many applications, such as cabinet doors, it is hard to find different sized screws that match the existing cabinet hardware. In this guide I’ll show you how to easily fix a loose screw with a toothpick.

All you need is a toothpick and a screwdriver!

All you need is a toothpick and a screwdriver!
All you need is a toothpick and a screwdriver!

Tools Needed

The only tools you will need to accomplish this task are a screwdriver and a toothpick. You may also want to use a very small amount of glue, though it is not necessary.

First Step

First step, take out the screws securing the door and remove it.  Take out the screws from the bottom hinge first, and carefully hold it while removing the last top screw. I recommend taking off the entire door, as the weight of the whole door on the remaining hinge might cause the other screws to also become loose or possibly even rip out. 

Insert the toothpick in the hole
Insert the toothpick in the hole
Snap off the end of the toothpick so it is flush with the screw hole.
Snap off the end of the toothpick so it is flush with the screw hole.

Next Step

Next, insert your toothpick into the hole left by the offending screw, and snap it off to make it flush with the hole.  If you are working with a larger screw, such as an entry door, you may want to use two or even three toothpicks.  If you wish you can add a little glue to the tip of the toothpick here before you stick it in the hole.

Final Step

Finally, reattach the door and all the other screws.  The extra “meat” of the toothpick in the hole should now be giving your loose screw a lot of traction, which will make it very solid.


With this trick, you should be fixing screws impressing your friends in no time at all. I hope toothpicks have now found a useful place in your toolbox!


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    • profile image

      KiraLove 6 years ago

      Great hub! I think it works on me, repairing things using toothpick..haha

    • profile image

      Michelle 7 years ago

      Choose the screwdriver carefully as I had some bad experiences with them.

    • profile image

      Steve 7 years ago

      Clever tip thanks

    • K Partin profile image

      K Partin 8 years ago from Garden City, Michigan

      Great tip! I have used this before myself. Look forward to more DIY tips. Welcome aboard. Hope you become a fan of mine, my topics change all the time....Thanks!