How to Remove a Hollow Wall Anchor

Updated: Jan. 25, 2019

How to get anchors out once they're in

how to remove a hollow wall anchorFamily Handyman
Remove unwanted hollow wall anchors without wrecking your wall. Punching them through does minimal damage and simplifies wall patching.

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How to remove a wall anchor in two steps

Step 1: Snap off the collar

Grab, bend and snap the collar of a T-nut head wall anchor with needle-nose pliers to remove it. To minimize wall damage, avoid digging the nose of the pliers too wide of the collar.

Step 2: Push the anchor through the wall

Push the anchor body into the wall cavity with a nail. Repair the wall with patching compound and then paint the spot.

Hollow Wall Anchors: What You Need to Know

The great thing about hollow wall anchors is that they provide a cheap, fast method for attaching heavy stuff to drywall. There are at least a half dozen wall anchor devices; each works on a slightly different principle. What happens when you want to change the location of a family photo or a mirror? Some plastic, cone-shaped, expanding anchors can be pulled out from the front of the wall. But the T-nut head wall anchor shown here can’t be pulled out intact, because its four expanded flanges lock up against the backside of the wall. What’s the trick to remove it?

First, remove the threaded bolt that attaches your accessory to the wall anchor. Now, grab the T-nut head firmly with needle-nose pliers (Step 1), then bend and pull the collar back and forth until the head snaps off. Finally, use a nail to push the anchor body into the wall cavity (Step 2), then patch the hole and apply some touch-up paint.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Needle-nose pliers

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Drywall/patching compound
  • Nail