How To Remove Grab Bars From Your Bathroom Surfaces (Cleanly & Safely)

Certified Senior Advisor®
Senior Home Safety Specialist®
20 years of medical equipment experience
Compassionately helping seniors and their caregivers solve challenges of aging

Removing a grab bar is a relatively easy process as long as you have the right tools and follow this simple procedure outlined below.

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Remove Grab Bars From Your Bathroom Surfaces

Grab bars allow people with mobility issues to support themselves firmly by holding onto the rails in the bathroom. Sometimes, however, a grab bar will need to be removed.

This article will show you the steps involved in removing even the best grab bars as cleanly and safely as possible.

Tools You Will Need

With the appropriate tools and equipment, removing grab bars becomes a straightforward process. To save time, ensure you have the tools listed below in advance and within arm’s reach.

  • Power drill or screwdriver
  • 300-grit sandpaper
  • Putty knife
  • Sponges
  • Fiberglass patch kit (if applicable)
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Wrench
  • Wall paint and spackle
  • Bathroom cleaning solutions
  • Replacement tiles and mortar (if applicable)
remove grab bars common reasons
You might have to remove an existing grab bar when renovating the bathroom.

Common Reasons for Removing a Grab Bar

  • Your previous grab bar is starting to rust.
  • It’s time to renovate your house, including the bathroom.
  • The grab bar is becoming loose and unsafe.
  • You are renting and are required to remove it before leaving.
  • You bought a house with them installed, but you don’t need them, and they are in the way.

Instructions for Removal

Have you already assembled all your tools? Brilliant! Are you ready to get down and dirty into the business of grab bar removal? Let’s get to it!

Here is a step-by-step guide that will guarantee a clean and safe removal.

1. Unscrew the Grab Bar

Most grab bars are usually installed on tiled surfaces, drywall, or wooden surfaces. Whichever the case, the removal process remains the same.

Using a screwdriver or power drill, remove the fasteners used to install the grab bars. These are usually fastened or drilled into the wall.

2. Clean and Wipe

If you are drilling, you will most likely encounter dust and other debris that will come off the wall.

That said, take a wet sponge and wipe the surface where the drilling happened. You should also wipe away any dust and debris that has fallen on the ground.

3. Utilize Fiberglass Patch Kit

Bathrooms with grab bars installed onto a fiberglass shower enclosure or bathtub will benefit from this. A fiberglass patching kit comes loaded with fiberglass paint, epoxy, and the patch you will use to reapply the removed fiberglass.

When applying the patch and epoxy, use the sandpaper to buff and achieve a uniform surface. Afterward, apply the fiberglass paint onto the patched surface.

remove grab bars patch up hole
Fill the gaps with a mortar or wall patch compound using your putty knife.

4. Patch Up the Hole

For grab bars attached to something other than fiberglass, you should patch the drilled holes left behind after removal. Using your putty knife, fill the gaps gently with a mortar or wall patch compound. 

After application, brush through the surface using sandpaper to achieve uniformity. After the mortar has dried completely, proceed to paint over the patch.

5. Use a Wrench for Nuts and Bolts

Removing grab bars is a relatively easy job. However, some grab bars are installed and fastened using bolts and nuts. Here, your trusty screwdriver and drill will not be of help.

In this case, it’s time to utilize the big boy tools and whip out the wrench. In a counter-clockwise motion, gently turn the nuts until they loosen before using your hands to remove them the rest of the way.

There You Have It!

Grab bars increase the functionality and safety of any bathroom. They are an essential feature to have, especially where senior citizens are involved.

If you need to remove or replace the grab bar fitted in your bathroom, you can take comfort in knowing that the removal process is as easy as ABC. If you aren’t up to the task, you may be able to use your grab bars as towel bars instead!

With the steps outlined above, there is no need to call a professional or use specialized equipment. All you need is this article and time on your hands to get to work!

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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