How to Remove Toggle Bolts without Damaging Sheet Rock

What You'll Need
Needle-nose pliers
Drywall compound
2-inch spreader
Paint and brush

Using toggle bolts to hang pictures, shelves, mirrors or other items on a wall that does not have any studs or firm backing is a great way to ensure that things do not come crashing down. Toggle bolts are constructed with small metal clips that spring out when they are inserted into a pilot hole. As a screw is tightened, the clips are pulled toward the back of the drywall, paneling or other material for a secure lock. When you use toggle bolts in drywall, you face the danger of the bolt embedding itself into the rear of the drywall sheet.You can remove the toggle bolt without putting large holes in your wall if you follow these steps.

Step 1 - Remove the Item on the Wall

Remove the item the toggle bolts are securing. Most people use toggle bolts, because of the strength of them, to secure shelves, mirrors or mantels to the wall. Remove these fixtures before you continue.

You may find you need to remove several toggle bolts. You can follow the same procedure for each one.

Step 2 - Inspect the Toggle Bolts

After removing the item from the wall, take some time to inspect each bolt. You may be able to easily remove the toggle bolts without any extra work. You may also find that the drywall underneath the item that was on the wall needs to be repaired or replaced. If you find this, removing the toggle bolt is easy because you cut out the damaged parts of the drywall.

Step 3 - Remove the Screw

If you find the drywall in good condition and you do not want to damage it, you will need to take careful steps to remove the embedded toggle bolt. Use your screwdriver to remove the screw that juts from the wall. This should come right out. All that will be left is the metal fastener that is in the hole and the clips on the end. 

Step 4 - Tap the Metal Fastener

As hard as you try, if the toggle clips are embedded in the rear of the drywall, there will be some slight damage to the drywall surface. To release the clips from the drywall, you should take the head of your screwdriver and tap the metal portion of the toggle until it goes backward. If you do this carefully enough, you will only have some surface damage that needs to be fixed.

Step 5 - Remove the Toggle Bolt

Once the toggle clips are released from the rear of the drywall, insert the needle-nose pliers into the hole and pull the metal piece out. 

Step 6 - Repair Surface Damage

There should only be some small dents in the surface of the drywall. Spread out a small amount of drywall compound over the hole for the toggle bolt and the dents. Spread it out so it will integrate seamlessly into the surface of the drywall. Sand it down until smooth and then paint the desired color.