Wondering how to remove drywall anchors? While most people just push them through the wall, there’s another method that we think is better. Read on to learn what you should really be doing.
Disclaimer: The information included in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal, financial, or DIY advice. We highly suggest consulting a professional before attempting any DIY home improvements or repairs.
How to Remove Drywall Anchors
Drywall anchors are useful, but how do you remove them when they’re no longer needed? You can pry them out or push them back into the wall. These methods are easier than creating a large hole in your wall when removing multiple drywall anchors.
Gather Your Materials
Here are the tools you need to remove drywall anchors. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use all the tools listed below.
- Needle-nose pliers
- Putty knife
- Utility knife
- Sandpaper (medium-grit)
- Dry rag
- Protective goggles
- Drill and cutting wheel
- Spackling compound
- Putty spatula
- Detail paintbrush
Method 1: Pull Out the Anchor
The goal here is to learn how to remove drywall anchors safely – that is, without excessive damage to your wall. It is best to start with removal methods less likely to result in more problems.
Step 1: Lift the Edges of the Anchor
- Use a putty knife to lift the edge of the anchor’s collar
- Carefully apply pressure, using the knife as a lever to raise the collar’s edge
- You can add medium-grit sandpaper to the edge of the knife to prevent it from slipping off the anchor
- Use a utility knife if the edge of your putty knife is too thick to go between the collar and wall
Step 2: Pull Out the Anchor
- Using a set of needle-nose pliers, grab the edge of the anchor’s head or collar.
- Avoid touching the wall with the pliers as much as possible to avoid gouging it.
- Wiggle the anchor free using a gentle back-and-forth motion.
Proceed to Step 3 if this doesn’t work.
Step 3: Screw Out the Anchor
- Use a hammer to gently tap a screwdriver into the anchor. Make sure to use a screwdriver that fits snuggly into the drywall anchor.
- Back the drywall anchor out by turning the screwdriver counter-clockwise.
Try the next method if the anchor turns but doesn’t back out or won’t budge at all.
Method 2: Push the Anchor Through the Wall
It can be tricky to get anchors out of brittle walls because you may end up causing more damage. Instead, recess the anchors further into the wall rather than attempting to pull them out.
Follow these steps if you are dealing with multiple drywall anchors that won’t budge:
Step 1: Cut out the Collar
- Push a utility knife on top of the anchor’s collar, making sure it is flush with the wall.
- Cut the collar off the anchor using back and forth sawing motion.
- Discard the collar once it breaks off.
- Use a hammer to gently tap a screwdriver into the drywall anchor.
- Continue to tap the screwdriver until the anchor falls out on the other side of the wall.
This will only work for plastic sleeves. Use the next step if you have metal drywall anchors.
Step 2: Use a Cutting Wheel
- Put on your safety goggles and attach a cutting wheel to your drill.
- Cut off the head of the drywall anchor.
- Use the drill or a utility knife to score around the drywall.
- Tap a screwdriver with a wider head into the anchor’s mouth to push it into the wall.
Patching the Drywall
After your anchors are out of the wall, it’s time to fill in the holes. Here’s how:
- Using a hammer, lightly tap around the hole to flatten the edges.
- Use a dry rag to wipe off the dust.
- Use a putty spatula to fill the holes with drywall compound, ensuring it is flush with the wall.
- Allow it to dry, preferably overnight.
- Use medium-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the dried putty. Then, wipe off the dust using a dry rag.
- Use a detail paintbrush to paint over the covered holes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you reuse wall anchors?
Traditional wall anchors are not reusable, but it is possible to salvage and reuse a few of them, provided you have not driven a screwdriver deeply into the anchor. In most cases, removing used wall anchors will stretch and weaken the plastic, making it difficult to reuse them.
However, you can buy reusable anchors. Be sure they are not labeled “removable,” since that only means removing them is easy but not necessarily reusable.
Can you putty over wall anchors?
Yes, you can, especially if forcing the anchor out can damage the wall. But first, you need to tap the anchor further into the wall before covering it with putty or drywall compound and painting over it.
What is the best way to remove drywall anchors?
The best way to remove drywall anchors will depend on the type of wall anchor – traditional, removable, reusable, metal, or plastic. The first removal method to try is to grab the anchor head with needle-nose pliers.
Then, gently wiggle the anchor free with a back and forth rocking motion. If this doesn’t work, you can try the other methods in this guide.
So, How Do You Remove Drywall Anchors?
Knowing how to remove drywall anchors is a useful skill that can save you the hassle of damaged walls. Remember to apply just enough force when hammering, scoring, and prying out the anchors from your wall.