Remove Wall Plugs Fast With A Custom Tool

The best thing about buying your own home is that you can hang things on the walls. It’s a human right all too often denied to renters the world over. Regardless, five years later, when you’re doing the mandatory minimalist remodel, you’ll be ruing the day you put in all those wall anchors. At that point, consider removing them with this nifty tool from [XDIY with Itzik].

The design aims to remove wall anchors as cleanly as possible. It’s easiest to watch the video to get the idea of how it works.

The tool features a block which holds a bearing. That bearing acts as a rotating stop for a wood screw. The idea is that you place the block against the wall, and use a power drill to drive a wood screw into the anchor at high speed. The screw can’t move forward, so the threads basically yank the plug out of the wall, and relatively neatly at that. Once removed, there’s a little push stopper you can use to hold the old plug in place as you remove the wood screw from the device, ready to go again.

[Itzik] demonstrates the device by removing ten wall plugs in just 40 seconds. If you’ve got a lot to do, or it’s a job you do regularly, you might like to have this tool in your kit.

Oftentimes, having the right tool can make a job ten times faster, and this seems like one of those cases. Video after the break.

40 thoughts on “Remove Wall Plugs Fast With A Custom Tool

    1. “ virtually no rental where you can’t hang a picture on the wall”

      If you’ve ever lived in an old city, you would not claim that. Most walls will be made of plaster over slats.

      Landlords don’t want to deal downtime between rentals, and repairs. That’s why you can’t make any holes in any wall for any reason.

      1. Or in a college town, where any building that might see students will expect you to agree not to own a toaster, to have your belongings searched at random for weed, and to only touch the walls with name brand command strips that were blessed by the pope or they’ll revoke your security deposit.

        1. Toothpaste does a good job covering up the holes in a pinch. Won’t cover up a wall anchor hole but you can at least cover up picture hanging nails and thumbtack holes. All the places I lived in college were textured white walls so an rough dot of spackle was invisible.

          1. That’s kind of an ass thing to do.

            You could at least spring for a tiny container of drywall paste.

            As a landlord I wouldn’t ever charge for reasonable holes. I would definitely charge if I went to paint and it was all bubbling up because some fool put toothpaste on the wall!

          2. It’s a completely reasonable and expected thing to do if the landlord is known for counting nail holes and multiplying by some ‘nail hole cost’ ($250/hole).

            Landlords sometimes get the behavior they incentivize.

            I knew a true asshole that was renting from another one. He left the rental at the start of dry season…Went on the roof with a drill and wrote ‘f— you’ in 1/4” holes. Mirrored, so the landlord could read it from the attic access. Don’t know what he thought the next tenant had done to him.

        2. I’ve never lived in (or even visited) a school dorm or apartment where the residents have to agree to allow their room/space be searched, much less their belongings. Were you at one of those ultra strict bible thumper schools?

          Closest I’ve seen is the dorm room 2 doors down from mine at the Univ of Delaware (mid-late 90s)… Two deadheads there were too stoned one afternoon to open the window, so their pot smoke vented out under the door into the hallway. Campus Police arrived, went in the room, but couldn’t see anything out in the open. So they handcuffed the two idiots together and then handcuffed their free wrists to their beds (across the room from each other.)… Until a search warrant could quickly get delivered.

          Obviously, my experiences have all been in the US and privacy/search rights are not gonna be the same anywhere else.

          1. No? What you saw is approximately what sort of thing I’m referring to, except your guys were both breaking the law and being obvious about it. To me, the important part is the inability to control access to at least one room in my living space, especially the one I sleep in. Whether they can “only” look at those things that are out in the open without a warrant is important too, but not as much. Also, those were, at least technically, cops, right? It’d be worse if it was apartment staff that, whether because of a grudge or a true quirk of ventilation, decided to come throw their weight around. I’m very willing to believe that random innocent possessions could be misconstrued as drug paraphernalia – for instance a small syringe works better than an eyedropper to put ink in a fountain pen.

    2. … Every apartment and house I’ve rented had a lease that either outright banned anything going into the walls, or had tight restrictions on the diameter of holes (smaller than thumbtacks or tack nails let alone a drywall anchor).

  1. Those plastic things? I use an oversize sheet metal screw. Screw it into the plastic a couple of turns and give it a sharp pull. The plastic bit will come right out.

    Molly anchors are a bit more of a challenge, but I usually back the screw out and then pound it in to straighten the anchor, then use it to pull the straightened anchor out.

    1. I just use a sharp spackle knife to chop the flared end off and (optionally) poke it through to the other side of the drywall. Pulling it out makes more of a mess since these things expand at the ends so you’ll end up with a bigger hole than what was already there. I really like the anchors that are threaded on the outside. They don’t leave the cleanest hole if you remove one but usually you can just screw it in further and spackle over it.

      The plastic molly anchors are more of a pain since their base is too thick and flared so they have to come out. I just use stainless steel molly anchors rather than the plastic ones so I can just drop the molly anchor behind the wall if it needs to come out. More expensive than plastic but I only use these if the threaded anchors won’t work or I expect a lot of yanking on them (like a bathroom towel rack).

      1. I think this device might actually help because it will act as a backup plate to support the drywall or plaster so the expanded end is the weak point and fails before the drywall.

  2. Large needlenose pliers. One tip goes in the plug, the other tip goes into the wallboard (or concrete brick, for that matter. Squeeze, yank. A lot faster than even this overcomplicated contraption. No battery to die, either.

  3. Once Dad was struggling with one such plugs and I came up with a corkscrew which was shaped more like a… screw instead of the more current sprint-like form and presto, i took it out in five seconds flat.

  4. It might work on flimsy US walls, but I’ve often had to remove wallplugs from UK brick walls and it won’t work that easily.

    I pick a suitable size screw (often a bit oversided) and depth to screw in before manually pulling the plug out with a claw hammer or pliers. There’s a real art to this as the plug plastic often tears before it will come out of brick. This technique will almost certainly tear the plug rather than remove it 90% of the time.

  5. I Suddenly saw views through this site, so I found the article…
    Thank you very much for sharing my idea! :)

    Some points:
    I know… It may seem like an ‘overkill solution’ for this job…😅, but it can be useful if you have a lot to remove.
    Anyway, I had fun making project. I like to challenge myself and try new solutions :)

    Regarding the wall type: At our apartment, the walls are made mostly from cement blocks & concrete walls, so I can’t just push the plugs like in a drywall. The demo in the video was done on a concrete wall.


  6. I just push them through and leave them in the wall. Quick swipe of the putty knife and you’ll never know they were there. Pulling them out disturbs the paper and the gypsum.

  7. If the anchors pull out by simply running a screw into them, you need to get better anchors. Tightening a screw into them is literally what’s supposed to give them strength against pulling out.

    1. You generally right, but in this case it’s not so accurate…
      I’m the creator of the tool. Initially I didn’t use a bearing in the tool, so the screw was just tighten the piece of wood to the wall very strong (like in regular use that you described).
      Later I thought to solve it using the bearing so the screw can rotate freely, so the screw is inserted just a bit to the anchor and due to the bearing, it continues to pull it… :)

      The anchors are fine and this is a concrete wall. It was holding some shelves just fine before…

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