How to Remove Drywall Anchors Without Damaging Your Walls

Drywall anchors serve as a practical solution for supporting various loads, ranging from small to large, especially when locating a wall stud proves challenging. However, the process of removing them presents a different set of challenges compared to their installation. Wall anchors, molly bolts, and toggle bolts all firmly grasp onto the drywall, securely holding items in place and thereby making their removal without causing damage a tricky task. Fortunately, with the right techniques at your disposal, you can safely and effectively remove these anchors.

Different Methods for Removing Drywall Anchors

Depending on the type of anchor you’re dealing with, there are several methods you can employ for removal and subsequent repair. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of the best approaches for handling various wall fasteners:

1. Pull It Out with Needle-Nose Pliers

Plastic or steel drywall anchors, typically cone-shaped, can be addressed by first removing any screws attached to the anchor. Subsequently, utilize needle-nose pliers to grip the inside edge of the anchor. Gradually wiggle and gently tug the collar or head of the anchor until it gradually emerges from the drywall. Should the anchor prove stubborn, proceed with caution to avoid damaging the drywall.

2. Use a Screwdriver or Drill

Anchors embedded tightly necessitate the utilization of a screwdriver acting as a counter-screw bit. Choose a screwdriver that fits snugly into the anchor and tap it lightly with a hammer to ensure a firm grip. Counter-clockwise twisting of the screwdriver will effectively back the anchor out. For molly bolts, employ a drill to retract the bolt halfway, tap the head to loosen the barrel, and then extract it with pliers.

3. Remove Toggle Bolts

Toggle bolts can be removed by unscrewing the bolt from the toggle with a drill. Due to the spring-loaded nature of the toggle, it won’t fit back through the hole. However, you’ll hear it fall inside the wall when it’s free. The bolt can be reused with a new toggle.

4. Recess or Push the Anchor Through

If conventional removal methods prove ineffective, consider pushing the anchor further into the wall. Should the head of the wall anchor protrude from the wall, overlapping the paint, it becomes necessary to cut the head off. Utilize a utility blade to carefully cut away the top layer of drywall holding onto the anchor lip. Tap a small screwdriver into the hole to push the anchor deeper, where it may either drop into the space behind the drywall or remain recessed and concealed.

5. Patch the Hole

Following the removal or recessing of the anchor, patching the hole becomes imperative to restore the drywall’s integrity. Press any protruding drywall edges inward and apply a layer of drywall compound with a spackling knife. Smooth the compound and allow it to dry overnight. Subsequently, sand the surface with 220-grit sandpaper, wipe away dust, and touch up the paint.


By employing these methods, you can effectively remove wall anchors with minimal damage, ensuring a smooth and damage-free process. Whether you’re tackling drywall anchors, molly bolts, or toggle bolts, a comprehensive understanding of removal techniques is essential for successful wall repair and restoration.


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