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How to Fill Holes in Drywall Without Using Paint

Nov 19, 2021

Dreading to cover those tiny nail holes in your walls before you move-out? Don’t worry, there are several simple ways to fill nail holes in the walls that don’t require any paint. Best of all, you won’t have to spend much to mend your drywall — you may even own the materials you’ll need.

Why Should You Fill Nail Holes in Your Walls Before Moving Out?

In some cases, you can still get your security deposit back if you leave small nail or thumbtack holes in your walls before moving out. Many landlords consider this normal wear and tear.

However, more often than not, property management companies have less lenient policies. This means that filling nail holes is usually a necessary task in order to help you get back most of your security deposit.

Filling nail holes in the wall before moving out is also courteous to your landlord and the next tenants of the home. Being kind and courteous to your landlord may help you receive a good referral to your next apartment if you ever need one.

Finally, as the saying goes, treat others how you want to be treated. When you’re moving into a new living space, you’d appreciate moving into a spotless home. The next tenants of your previous home feel the same way.

How to Patch Small Holes in Drywall: 5 Easy Ways

Generally, professionals use special wood fillers, spackling paste, putty knives, sanders, paint, and paintbrushes to patch holes in drywall. But did you know you can likely do this simple repair yourself for a fraction of the price?

Below are 5 efficient ways you can patch nail holes in drywall before you move out without needing to paint.

1. Spackle

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Spackling paste is used to fill small holes, cracks, dents, and other minor blemishes in walls or baseboards. It’s very useful to keep around your home, especially for people who like to do DIY home improvement projects. This inexpensive product can be found at your local hardware store.

To use spackling paste to fill small nail holes, begin by scraping off any loosened or uneven bits of paint on the drywall with a wire brush or dull knife. With a putty knife, scoop out a small amount of spackle, and then scrape it into the hole. If you don’t have a putty knife, you can use a butter knife or even a ruler.

Make sure you apply the spackling smoothly, then allow it to dry for several minutes. Once the spackle is dry, apply a second layer if necessary, allow it to dry, then start sanding carefully with a piece of sandpaper.

2. Toothpaste


Using toothpaste to fill nail holes is an excellent alternative if you don’t have spackle — and a great way to save some money.

Start by squeezing some white or clear toothpaste onto a toothpick or Q-tip, depending on the size of the hole. Begin filling the hole, adding extra toothpaste as needed to ensure all gaps are covered. Then, use a putty knife, a butter knife, or even a playing card to flatten and remove any excess toothpaste.

For best results, mix the toothpaste with a crushed Aspirin pill to make a paste to fill in the nail hole. This is helpful to prevent any cracks over time, especially if you don’t plan to paint over the area.

3. Baking Soda

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Baking soda is also a great and cheap substitute for filling in the tiny nail holes in your walls. You only need water and baking soda to create your own paste. For a stronger and more solid hold, try mixing baking soda with Elmer’s glue instead of water.

Once you have your mixture, immediately apply the paste directly into the hole. Make sure to wear gloves to avoid touching the glue with your bare hands — and potentially gluing your hands onto things. Then, use a putty knife or similar tool to scrape off any excess paste.

4. Glue

If you don’t have baking soda, you may simply use white glue to fill in your nail hole. Squeeze some glue onto a Q-tip, then push it into the hole. Smooth it down by rubbing the Q-tip across the surface of the nail hole, and wait for it to dry. Keep in mind, the glue method works best on a white or pale-colored wall.

This is a very easy and inexpensive method, and you don’t even have to use a putty knife and sandpaper to finish the job.

5. Soap


All things considered, soap will get the job done if you don’t have spackle, baking soda, toothpaste, or glue.

Keep in mind that using soap is an easy fix, but it is only meant for quick touch-ups and temporary fixes. Fortunately, you can always redo it in the future until you have better and longer-lasting materials like spackle.

To start, grab a bar of soap and rub it across the tiny hole until it is completely filled with pieces of your bar soap. Then use a slightly damp cloth to carefully scrape off any excess. Use a bar soap that is colored similarly to your wall to avoid having to paint over the area.

Bonus Tip: Matching the Color of Your Wall

The DIY items mentioned, spackling, toothpaste, baking soda, glue, and soap, are most likely white — but chances are your walls aren’t.

Fortunately, painting is not the last resort. You only need to match the pigment of whichever DIY item you use. Since you’re dealing with only a small hole, you can work with crayons or markers to create the ideal shade for your paste to better match your wall.

If you don’t have any art supplies, that’s okay. You can use liquid foundation makeup, as this can cover walls that are colored tan or beige. For other colors, you can use lipstick or even eyeshadow. These items are affordable and can be found at any drugstore. If your eyeshadow has a powder consistency, mix it with some toothpaste to create a paste.

Fill Nail Holes Like a Pro

By using these tips and techniques to fill the nail holes in your drywall, you’ll be able to hide small imperfections without using paint. This can save you from having to spend more money from your move-out budget. Best of all, you can help prevent troubles in getting your security deposit back.

Fixing the nail holes in your drywall is not only a task to avoid extra expenses, but it is also a courteous thing to do for your landlord and the next tenants. To learn about other money-saving repairs you can do yourself, check out our other practical resources.


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Article written by Mia Sofia Pimentel

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