How to remove wall plugs, anchor or Rawl plug from concrete, brick, wood and plasterboard (AVOID Doing This!)

Are you thinking of painting or decorating your home? Then a part of it is likely going to include removing old and unused wall plugs. You might know wall plugs as rawl plugs or anchor plugs. But some wall plugs can be stubborn, especially when they are well-fitted. When a wall plug is well-fitted, the brink looks like the plug has sunk into the wall’s hole. If you don’t know how to remove wall plugs, then that might be a speed breaker in your plan. But there are a couple of amazing DIY hacks which you can use to remove any wall plug easily. 


What is a wall plug, anchor or rawl plug?

Wall plugs (or anchor or rawl plug) are those plugs which are fixed on walls and help hang things like a mirror or shelf. These plugs are rightly called wall anchors too as they help to fix or attach things permanently. When wall plugs are inserted in holes, the plug expands and sits perfectly.

This makes the fitting secure enough for hanging big or heavy things like a mirror, or smaller and lighter things like a photo frame. Masons drill wall plugs into walls so that screws get the grip they need for fixing firmly. But you can remove wall plugs yourself in a short time using tools that are already present in your home.  

Why are some wall plugs so stubborn?

Some wall plugs like the metal plugs made of steel can be quite stubborn once they have been installed and are difficult to remove. This is because their metal collar latches on to the outside of a drywall, while the prongs of the wall anchor expand. As a result of this, from the inside it gets tightly pressed against the wall.

2 Easy DIY methods of removing wall plugs from brick, concrete, wood and drywall

So whether you want to decorate or simply remove an ill-fitted wall plug, these are the methods of doing it without damaging the wall:

1st Method: Using screws and pliers (& a block/wedge)

Using this method, you will be able to remove wall plugs without damaging the wall plaster, if you are careful. Pliers are best when it comes to removing larger wall plugs. This is a good way if you want to know how to remove plastic wall plugs.

  • First, remove the wallpaper if you have one. 
  • Second, insert a screw but be mindful of not letting it screw very far. Otherwise, the plug will open but latch on to the inner part of the wall. Turn the screw a few times so that it makes a firm grip.
  • Now to extract the wall plug, you need to clutch the screw using a pair of pliers.
  • Push the screw up and down lightly, much like a wiggle movement. This is to ease the plug to screw it out of the hole. 
  • Simultaneously force it against a wedge. You can use a wooden or granite block. Instead of pliers, you can use a claw hammer. (This step is optional, and you probably will be able to remove a wall plug successfully without using any block).
  • If you see the screw has managed to pull out the wall plug, then try to insert the screw more deeply.
  • When the plug becomes loose, hold the screw end on with your pliers and pull gently.

2nd Method: Using a corkscrew

Most of the time, a corkscrew is enough when you have to remove a wall plug. You can remove non-threaded wall anchors using this method, which are more difficult to remove than threaded wall plugs. If you own a wing corkscrew, even better. And with a corkscrew with handles, you will be able to remove a wall plug in half a minute. You can use a corkscrew to remove wooden wall plugs, nylon wall anchors, and also plastic wall plugs. 

  • You need to grip the wall plug’s center by threading the tip of a corkscrew deep enough into its hole. 
  • Stop applying pressure when the corkscrew is approximately an inch in the plug.
  • Next, check whether the corkscrew is gripping the plug strongly by giving one or two light tugs. 
  • Then you have to pull slowly so that the wall plug comes off the wall without much damage. 

But remember, a corkscrew will not work when you are trying to remove a threaded wall-plug. 

Removing a wall plug that is not properly installed:

You can tell whether a wall plug has been correctly installed by looking at it. An improperly fitted wall anchor looks pretty visible. It appears as if the anchor has not been screwed in but pushed inside the hole. Actually, it is fairly easy to remove wall plugs when they are not fitted correctly. This is because in that case, they stick outside the walls. 

If you want to remove an ill-fitted wall plug, grab a snout-nose pliers. Use it to grip the plug’s rim and wiggle it gently. This is enough to make the plug loose and detached from the wall to an extent. When it comes out enough for you to be able to grab it, do so. And while pinching the plug fitting using two fingers, twist it and steer out the plug.

What to do after removing wall plugs successfully?

After you are done removing wall plugs, you will need to fill in the holes so that the wall is restored to its original condition. But first, you need to clean the middle of the holes. A thin paintbrush can do this work for you. If you don’t have one, you can blow into the hole, but protect your eyes while doing it.

You can fill a small hole using a tube of filler (ready mixed). In case it is a bigger hole, or there is a crack, you have to buy a ready-mixed or powder filler. You can put a layer of mesh tape on a large hole and then apply joint compound to it. Once the filler hardens, take sandpaper to smoothen it out down. Use a cleaner like soap to clean the wall. This will remove any adhesive or dirt that is stuck on it. A fresh coat of paint will end the wall looking sleek again.