One night my guy was working on a small radio. He scrunched his eyebrows together as he concentrated on the teeny parts. He used an equally-small screwdriver to remove several screws and assorted parts. As it seems to always happen when you’re working with small screws, Guy dropped one on the carpet. Finding a gold-colored screw on a gold-colored carpet is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. Guy began to panic, but I assured him there are ways of finding small screws and other fasteners. It doesn’t matter if they’re made of plastic or metal. With a little ingenuity, you can find them.
Note: No matter what method you use, be sure to fan your search out beyond where the fastener was dropped. They can really bounce and end up being several feet away.
1. Pat the Area Carefully With Your Hand
Whether the area where you dropped the fastener is carpet, tile, or hardwood floor, et cetera, it’s important to remember not to sweep your hand quickly across it. This action can send the small object flying farther away. Instead, gently pat the area to feel for the dropped screw or other fastener.
If you’re looking for a small, shiny object on the floor, use a bright flashlight to help you look. The light will reflect off the screw or other fastener and make it easier to see.
2. Push a Magnet Slowly Around the Floor
Still no luck? Then try using a magnet if the object is metal and it will stick. Fasteners like screws are often made from iron and steel. They can, however, be aluminum, brass, chrome-plated, or a variety of other metals. I have a stack of round, thick magnets about the size of a half dollar. I have no clue where they came from, but rolling them across the floor helps find small screws and other fasteners.
3. Pick-Up Screws and Other Fasteners With Duct Tape and a Soup Can
If you have a sticky-paper roller that picks up pet hair, you can use that to locate dropped objects. Simply run the roller over the area where you’re searching for the small, dropped screws and other fasteners.
To use a soup can, wrap duct tape backwards around the body of the can so the stickiness is facing you. Roll the can slowly back and forth across the floor to pick-up the lost object.
4. Use a Vacuum Sweeper Hose and Pantyhose
This is the method that finally worked for us to find the small, dropped screw. Probably because we hadn’t looked far enough previously. I stuck the end of the attachment hose on my sweeper into the leg of a pair of pantyhose. Pull the hose up securely over the hose so they don’t slide off. Then, turn the vacuum on and slowly sweep over the floor to find dropped screws and other fasteners. Within a few minutes, after I pushed the hose under a cabinet, I heard the small screw get sucked up.