Remove Toilet Paper Holder (No Screws) – A Detailed Guide

Small fittings, such as a shower basket, towel rail, soap dispenser, or toilet paper holder, are essential items that make our bathrooms more comfortable. However, they are not made to last a lifetime, and sometimes, you may even want to change an outdated model. Most of the time, all you have to do is unscrew and remove them. But what if there are no screws? 

Wondering how to remove an older style of toilet paper holder? Ceramic holders mounted with mastic should be removed in the same way you remove tile. Those glued to the wall come off easily by heating the glue or use a screwdriver for holders mounted with brackets.

Is It Possible To Remove Toilet Paper Holder With No Screws?

Yes, you can remove all types of toilet paper holders. Before getting out the heavy guns, it is worth checking if your holder doesn’t have hidden screws. Some toilet paper holder models are screwed to the wall, but the fasteners are hidden under a plate for aesthetic reasons.

If there are no plates in sight, you should find out how the holder was mounted. There are four major holder types: 

  • Ceramic: Fixed to the wall with mastic or another type of tile adhesive.
  • Recessed: While they are fastened with screws, accessing these screws and removing the holder without damaging the drywall is near impossible.
  • Bracket: These holders are held in place by brackets mounted on the wall. Remove the holder to uncover and unfasten the wall brackets.
  • Glued: Unlike ceramic holders, these toilet paper holders can be of any type, including plastic or metal. They’re glued with common adhesive and are easily removable with a heat gun.

How Do You Remove A Toilet Paper Holder Without Set Screws

As explained above, to remove a toilet paper holder without set screws, you must determine what type of holder you have. Once you’ve done that, follow the appropriate method below.

Removing Toilet Paper Holder Mounted with Mastic

Things You Will Need

  • Electric rotary cutter
  • Chisel
  • Hammer 
  • Putty knife

Step 1 – Remove the grout

Ceramic toilet paper holders are almost always installed on a tiled wall. Before removing your holder, you should remove the grout around it with a putty knife or grout removal tool to prevent damaging the adjacent tiles.

Step 2 – Cut the holder 

Put on protective equipment and use an electric rotary cutter to cut the ceramic holder in halves or quarters. Because a toilet paper holder is generally thicker than tile, you may need to apply more torque and be patient during the process.

Step 3 – Remove the toilet paper holder

Use the chisel and hammer to remove each toilet paper holder piece and as much mastic or tile adhesive as possible. You can fill the gap with a new tile (if you have one) or a new toilet paper holder of the same size or larger.

Removing Glued Toilet Paper Holder

Things You Will Need

  • Heat gun
  • Hammer 
  • Putty knife

Step 1 – Heat the adhesive 

Toilet paper holders glued to the wall are either mounted with heavy-duty glue or with an adhesive pad. You can remove both types of adhesive easily when heated.

Put on protective equipment and plug in your heat gun. Use it to heat the entire surface of the holder – move it left to right to ensure an even distribution of heat.

Step 2 – Remove the holder 

Once you’ve heated the surface, try to slide the tip of a putty knife between the holder and the wall. Tap its handle with a hammer to force the tool down and detach the holder.

Removing a Recessed Toilet Paper Holder 

Things You Will Need

  • Putty knife
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Duct tape
  • Chisel 
  • Hammer 

Step 1 – Remove the caulk 

Contractors or builders encase recessed toilet paper holders in boxes fixed to the wall studs with screws. Caulk keeps the fitting flush with the wall. Use a putty knife to chip away the caulk around the holder’s outer edges, then pull the caulk strip out with needle-nose pliers.

Step 2 – Protect the tile 

Because you’ll have to use a chisel and hammer, you should protect the adjacent tiles with duct tape to prevent them from chipping.

Step 3 – Remove the toilet paper holder 

Place a chisel behind an edge of the toilet paper holder and tap its handle with a hammer to force it in. Twist the chisel and start pulling. Repeat on the other edges until the holder comes out. You can now remove the wall box from the studs, removing the screws with a screwdriver.

Removing a Bracket-Mounted Toilet Paper Holder 

These holders are the easiest to remove. Simply lift or pull the holder off its wall-mounted brackets, then unscrew the brackets with an appropriate screwdriver and remove them.

How To Remove Toilet Paper Holder With No Visible Screws

Some toilet paper holders may look like they have no screws, but the fasteners are only hidden under a plate. Here’s how to remove them.

Step 1 – Locate the screws 

Inspect the toilet paper holder and locate the plate that covers the screws. Generally, all you have to do is pull it from the wall to reveal the fasteners.

Step 2 – Remove the grout or caulk

Contractors often use grout or caulk to reinforce the holders. Remove it with a putty knife if needed.

Step 3 – Unfasten the screws

Remove the screws with a screwdriver and pull the toilet paper holder from the wall. You can now install a new toilet paper holder.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have questions? Check out the answers below.

Which way should an open toilet paper holder face?

The open end should be opposite of your pull direction, so the paper roll doesn’t fall as you pull the paper.

Can you remove a Moen toilet paper holder from the wall?

Yes, you can remove a Moen toilet paper holder from the wall with a screwdriver. Insert the screwdriver into the small opening at the fitting’s base and pull it towards you. Once you feel the tab disengage, you can simply pull the accessory off the wall.

Can you remove a ceramic toilet paper holder from a vanity?

You can remove a ceramic toilet paper holder glued to the vanity, but you’ll most likely damage the vanity unit. Thus, you should install a new toilet paper holder in the same spot.

How deep is a recessed toilet paper holder?

Depending on the model, most recessed toilet paper holders are between 1 1/2” and 4” deep. Regardless of their depth, they’re all removed, as explained above.


Removing a toilet paper holder with no screws isn’t complicated but will cause more damage than removing one that’s fastened with screws. Unless you’re giving your bathroom an overhaul, perhaps you should consider replacing it with the same type of holder or a model large enough to cover the damage.

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