How to Remove Toggle Bolts from a Wall

  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 45-75
What You'll Need
A screwdriver (normally flat faced)
A pair of cutting pliers
A hammer
Spackle paste
What You'll Need
A screwdriver (normally flat faced)
A pair of cutting pliers
A hammer
Spackle paste

Toggle bolts are la crème de la crème of anchor type bolts. A toggle bolt is made up of mainly, two mechanical metal parts. The first part resembles a pair of wings, made up of a spring metal mechanism and the second part is the machine screw. Toggle bolts are mainly found in two sizes.

The larger the diameter of the bolt the stronger the toggle bolt. Depending on their length and size, they can be driven into thick walls. They are normally used for supporting heavy items and for hanging robust shelving.

They are specifically created to withstand great pressure and wear that more often than not that when the bolt is stressed, the ceiling will pull away from the joists rather than the toggle bolt breaking.

These types of anchor bolts are very easy to remove; in fact they are the easiest anchor type bolts to remove. Once the toggle bolt is inserted into the wall the metal wings spring open and flush on the back of the wall.

There are two different techniques to remove or eliminate a toggle bolt, either by pushing it all the way through the wall without removing it or by unscrewing specific pieces.

Step 1 - Unscrew the Toggle Bolt

If the wall on which the toggle bolt is screwed on happens to be hollow or narrow, then you first have to unscrew the toggle bolt until the metal wings of the bolt fall on the opposite side of the wall, that is, behind the wall that you are working on. Don’t worry about the hole left in the wall after the bolt is removed as this is inevitable. You can deal with it after you remove all of the toggle bolts.

Step 2 - Pull It Out

Once the wings have fallen then your next step is to pull out the remaining screws from the wall, and the job is done. The toggle bolt is completely removed.

Step 3 - Cut the Head

If the toggle bolt doesn't unscrew, don't worry, just use the cutting pliers and cut off the head of the toggle bolt. Once its head is cut drive it through the wall so that it will then fall down the opposite side of the wall.

Step 4 - Hammer It In

In the eventuality that the wall is quite thick, the steps previously mentioned will not work. In this case, the best way to eliminate the toggle bolt is to insert a screwdriver in the toggle bolt's head and with a hammer push the entire toggle through the wall until it reaches just below the surface of the wall. It can then be covered with spackle paste.

Step 5 - Fill in Any Holes

The last thing to do now is to repair any holes in the wall. Ideally you fill these holes with spackle paste, sand it down and apply a fresh coat of paint. If you wish to take the easy way out, omit repainting your wall and fix a picture or mirror to hide the area.

Toggle Bolts FAQ

What is the trick for removing wall anchors?

Wall anchors are designed to create a very secure and strong connection to the wall, so they are quite difficult to remove. Make it a little easier on yourself with some common handheld tools.

There's a little trick you can do to loosen up wall anchors and make them easier to get out of the wall. Carefully insert the tip of a screwdriver under the lip of the anchor, then tap it gently with a hammer to really get it in there and get the screwdriver tip under that lip.

Twist the screwdriver counter-clockwise and this will help pry the anchor off the wall and loosen it up so that it can now be removed with more traditional methods.

How do you remove drywall anchors without damaging them?

To remove drywall anchors, you will need to unscrew them from the wall. It can be difficult to grip the anchor, so you will probably need to loosen it first or perhaps use a pair of pliers to get a firm hold on the anchor to unscrew it.

Do drywall anchors damage walls?

If toggle bolts are not installed properly into studs and put into drywall that has no support behind it, the bolts can absolutely damage the walls. This can cause drywall to crack ad it can cause damage.

Are drywall anchors permanent?

Some drywall anchors are designed to be permanent. This does not mean they cannot ever be removed, because you can always cut the drywall out around them, but they are incredibly difficult to remove.

What is an alternative to a toggle bolt?

If you need to put a bolt in the wall in a spot with no stud behind it, try a Molly bolt. This is a hollow wall anchor made for plaster and drywall.

Chemical anchor bolts are used in construction. These are adhesives, usually made with epoxy or acrylics, that are made to create a secure, firm bond without using any type of bolt or screw.