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How to remove metal wall anchors

Updated February 21, 2017

Metal wall anchors are used in drywall installations to hang heavy objects, like flat screen TVs or mirrors. The two main types of metal wall anchors are toggle bolts and Molly bolts. These bolts are inserted into the drywall, and then anchor themselves on the other sides with legs or toggles when the bolt is inserted into them. Removing metal wall anchors is tricky, but not difficult. The toggle bolts are the easiest, but sometimes you get lucky when trying to remove a Molly bolt as well. Even if you can't remove a Molly bolt on the first shot, there are still ways to cover it up.

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  1. Unscrew the toggle bolt from the wall. Since the bolt threads through the wall and is held in place by the toggle on the inside of the wall, you want the toggle to remain in contact with the wall. Otherwise it will simply spin around when you are unscrewing. Insert the edge of a flat bladed screwdriver behind the bolt head as you unscrew it. This will apply pressure on the toggle and keep it in place.

  2. Remove the bolt from the hole. You should hear the toggle drop to the floor inside the wall cavity.

  3. Spackle over the hole. Scrape the spackle flat with a putty knife. Sand down when dry.

  4. Paint over the spackle to match the rest of the wall.

  5. Unscrew the bolt half way from the anchor.

  6. Use a flat head screwdriver to pry the head of the anchor away from the wall. With a pair of pliers, gently pull on the anchor. Sometimes unscrewing the bolt will retract the legs on the other side of the bolt. If the anchor doesn't come out of the wall, don't force it.

  7. Use a punch and hammer to tap on the anchor until is beneath the surface of the wall.

  8. Spackle over the head of the anchor. Scrape the spackle flat with a putty knife. Sand down when dry.

  9. Paint over the spackle to match the rest of the wall.

  10. Tip

    You can also use drywall "mud" in place of spackle.

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Things You'll Need

  • Flat bladed screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Spackle
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint
  • Brushes

About the Author

Nathan McGinty started writing in 1995. He has a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in international journalism from City University, London. He has worked in the technology industry for more than 20 years, in positions ranging from tech support to marketing.

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