How To Remove Drywall Anchors?

Any new DIY project can seem daunting, especially if you’re a beginner.

How To Remove Drywall Anchors

Sometimes it can be hard to know exactly where to start, or where to find all the information to begin to renovate or redecorate your home independently.

When it comes to hanging up pictures on the wall, inserting drywall anchors may seem like a quick and easy solution – and it is.

But removing them when you come to redecorate can be slightly more challenging. 

Drywall anchors are great for when you have no stud available and want to be able to hang paintings, mirrors, shelves, and much more on hollow walls.

The anchors spread out behind the drywall once a screw has been inserted and provide extra support and stability.

They really are very handy additions to your toolbox and home; that is until it’s time to take down those paintings, mirrors, or shelves.  

Trying to remove drywall anchors can seem challenging, however, the following steps should make the whole process a lot simpler. 

Before You Begin

Before you begin removing drywall anchors you will want to check that you have the correct tools for the job.

It is likely that you will need the following:

Removing The Anchor

The first thing that you will need to do is remove the screw from inside the anchor.

Once it is just the anchor in the wall you can try to remove it using three different methods. 

Method One – Turn It

Turn the anchor counterclockwise and see if it begins to turn.

This will determine whether the anchor is a screw-in style; if it is, you can continue turning it until it comes free from the wall. 

Method Two – Pull It

Using pliers, grab the head or collar of the anchor.

For smaller anchors place one of the jaws of the pliers in the hole and the other side on the outer side of the anchor.

For larger ones place one jaw behind the anchor and the other on the front of the anchor. 

Once your pliers are secure, use a gentle back and forth motion and rock the anchor, pulling it towards you.

It is very important to note that if the anchor does not release you must stop. Do not use excessive force as this can damage the wall. 

Method Three – Hammer It Out

Mark the edges of the anchor with a screwdriver. Place the screwdriver in the opening of the anchor.

It is important to make sure that the screwdriver is bigger than the hole in the anchor but not bigger than the anchor itself. 

Then, using a hammer, continue to tap at the end of the screwdriver to push the anchor into the wall.

Continue to tap until the anchor falls down behind the drywall. 

Patching The Hole

Patching The Hole

Once you have got the anchor out of the wall, you will be left with a hole in the wall.

Here are the next steps in getting your wall back to the best condition. 

Step One

Tap the now-empty hole in the wall lightly with a hammer.

This will flatten any excess drywall that has resulted from the force of inserting and removing the anchors.

Using a knife then cut away any other uneven edges, splintering, or rough patches.

Doing this will ensure that you do not end up with a bumpy or uneven surface which will cause issues when it comes to repainting the wall. 

Step Two

You will then want to apply enough drywall compound to completely cover the hole. Use a putty spatula or knife to do this.

You want to drag the knife across the hole using an ‘X’ pattern as this will smooth the compound and get the putty flush with the wall.

You want the compound to be as smooth as possible, perfectly blended into the wall. 

Step Three

Using a cloth (microfiber is recommended) wipe away any of the excess compound.

Wipe in a circular motion as this will blend the excess in with the wall creating a smooth and even surface.

This must then be left to dry. Most can then be left to dry overnight but it is always best to check the manufacturer’s guidelines. 

Step Four

Check that the compound is completely dry and is even with the wall.

Using a medium-grit sandpaper, sand the putty until the wall is flat and smooth and all of the surplus compound is gone.

Then, using a dry rag, wipe away all dust.

Step Five

Paint over the hole to blend it in with the rest of the wall.

Using a smaller paintbrush and avoiding the surrounding wall will also help prevent dark patches in the wall. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Spackle Over Wall Anchors?

It is not recommended to spackle the wall until you have removed the anchors. If not, you will be left with a bumpy and uneven wall.

Can You Reuse Drywall Anchor Holes?

Yes. It is possible to reuse anchor holes; however, it may require a larger hole during reinstallation.

Can You Remove A Screw From The Drywall Anchor?

If the anchor is turning with the screw, you can usually loosen the screw by holding the anchor steady with a pair of needle-nose pliers.

You can do this as long as you can see the rim of the anchor.

Final Thoughts 

Removing drywall anchors is actually a lot simpler in practice than it may initially seem, and it could save you a lot of money and time in the long run.

As long as you are well equipped with the tools that you will need (See Before You Begin) and are patient and gentle throughout each step in this guide, you should have seamlessly smooth walls again in no time.

It is important to remember that excessive pressure will damage your walls and so you should always be careful when attempting to remove your anchor.

Make sure you apply the correct amount of pressure. 

Health and Safety – with any kind of DIY, it is important to ensure that you are safe while you are working.

Protective goggles for your eyes are advised.