We Tested This Internet Hack for Removing Wall Anchors

Updated: Apr. 07, 2022

Can you remove wall anchors with a corkscrew? Whether your corkscrew sits unused for months or sees action daily, here's an unexpected use for it.

If you’ve spent any time patching and repainting drywall, you’ve probably struggled to remove wall anchors.

Also called drywall screw anchors, these tapered plastic plugs are extremely useful for hanging something heavy from drywall without relying on an underlying wooden stud. Trouble is, they’re often difficult to remove when you decide to move that framed picture, shelf or other heavy object.

That likely motivated the creator of this TikTok video to use a corkscrew to try and remove a wall anchor. But does this really work?

How It Works

The theory is, if you thread the corkscrew into the hole deeply enough to grip the center of the anchor, you can pull the anchor free of the drywall slowly and carefully to minimize drywall damage. So we gave it a try.

When and When Not To Use This Hack

insert cork screwRobert Maxwell for Family Handyman

Before you start driving a corkscrew into your wall, you need to understand this hack won’t work in every situation.

There are two types of wall anchors: threaded and non-threaded. Threaded anchors are wider and stronger, with course plastic threads that bite into drywall as you screw them in.

If you’re trying to remove this kind of anchor, don’t bother with a corkscrew. It won’t work. Corkscrews and threaded wall anchors are inserted clockwise, so the corkscrew will only drive the anchor deeper into the wall. Luckily, all threaded anchors have a head that takes a driver bit, so a screwdriver makes removal fast and easy.

Non-threaded anchors are a different story. They’re tapped rather than threaded into the wall, with no threads to hold them in place. This makes them much harder to remove than the threaded variety. That’s why a corkscrew is a great idea.

Before you begin, make sure the wall anchor you need to remove is non-threaded. If the visible end of the anchor has a round hole, it’s non-threaded. If the head can take a driver bit, it’s threaded.

The Process

cork screw pullRobert Maxwell for Family Handyman

Once you’ve determined the wall anchor is non-threaded, slowly insert the tip of the corkscrew into the center of the anchor with light pressure. Stop threading the corkscrew after you’ve embedded about one inch in the anchor.

Give the corkscrew a few light tugs to be sure it’s gripping the anchor strongly, then slowly and steadily pull it out of the wall. If your corkscrew has handles for leverage, this will be easier.

I found the hack successfully removed a large, non-threaded wall anchor. The whole process took less than 30 seconds.

A Better Solution for Small Wall Anchors

cork screwRobert Maxwell for Family Handyman

Wall anchors come in various sizes. This hack works best for larger ones. If you’re trying to remove an anchor with a diameter smaller than the spirals of your corkscrew, the hack probably won’t work. For small anchors, try pulling them free with needlenose pliers instead.