How to Remove Cabinet Shelf Clips

Lifting a shelf off of cabinet clips

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

Project Overview
  • Total Time: 2 - 8 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0 to $10

Cabinet shelf clips are a great feature of many cabinets since they're inexpensive, easily adjustable, and best of all, they keep the shelf in place. But sometimes cabinet shelf clips break off at the peg, stop working, or simply need to be moved to another level.

As long as the peg isn't broken, a cabinet shelf clip can easily be removed. If the shelf clip's peg is broken, removal is a bit more difficult, though possible, with just a drill, hammer, and a small screw.

What Is a Cabinet Shelf Clip?

A cabinet shelf clip is a plastic peg that inserts in a pre-drilled hole on the inside of a cabinet to hold a shelf. Four clips are used per shelf. A cabinet shelf clip has a locking device to prevent the shelf from moving upward.

How Cabinet Shelf Clip Removal Works

Standard, non-locking cabinet shelf pegs do a good job of holding the shelf up. But one flaw is that they cannot hold the shelf down. Reaching for items on a lower shelf may unsettle the upper shelf. Or poorly placed shelf pegs can cause a shelf to tip over.

A cabinet shelf clip's hinged lock holds the shelf in place. Pushing the lock with your finger allows the shelf to clear the top of the peg and be released. To remove, depress two clips and elevate one side of the shelf—all at the same time. With an assistant, it takes just seconds. Without an assistant, it takes only an extra minute or so.

An alternative is to remove the cabinet doors. If your cabinet has concealed (also called inset or Euro-style) hinges, the doors can be quickly removed and replaced. When a clip has broken off and cannot be pried out by hand, the fix is to drive a small screw into the peg and remove it with a claw hammer.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

For Removing Broken Shelf Clip

  • Cordless drill
  • 1/16-inch drill bit
  • #4 or #5 size screw
  • Claw hammer or prybar
  • Flat scrap piece of wood or cardboard
  • Needle-nose pliers


Materials needed for removing shelf clips from a cabinet

The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

How to Remove a Cabinet Shelf Clip Without Taking Off the Doors

  1. Open the Doors

    Open both of the cabinet doors.

    Opening the cabinet doors

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  2. Push the First Clip

    Start on either side of the shelf. With one hand, press sideways on the hinged lock on the back clip. Put your other hand underneath the shelf on that side and slightly raise the shelf until it clears the clip.

    Do not let go. Keep maintaining pressure on the shelf until the next step is complete.

    Pushing down on the first clip to remove it

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  3. Push the Second Clip

    Push the hinged lock on the front clip. Continue to push upward with your other hand. The shelf should now be clear of both clips on that side. Remove the shelf from the cabinet.


    If you have an assistant, have them push upward from the bottom as you depress both of the clip locks at the same time.

    Pushing the second clip to release the shelf

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  4. Remove the Cabinet Shelf Clips

    Remove the shelf clips by gently rotating them back and forth until loosened. Then, pull the clips straight out to remove them.

    Twisting off the cabinet shelf clips

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

How to Remove a Cabinet Shelf Clip by Taking Off the Doors

As long as your cabinet has concealed hinges, the doors can easily be removed and replaced without losing the door's pre-set swing adjustment.

  1. Open One Door

    Open one cabinet door and hold it securely in place with one hand.

    Opening one cabinet door

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  2. Release the Hinge

    With the other hand, reach into the cabinet. Press sideways on the metal lever on the back of the hinge. Repeat for the other hinge. Now, the hinges should be released from the hinge plates. Leave the hinge plates in place on the cabinet box. Remove the door. Repeat for the other door.

    Releasing the hinge on the cabinet door

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  3. Slide the Shelf Out

    Using both hands, slide the shelf toward you, keeping the shelf perfectly level as you slide it out.

    Sliding the shelf out of the cabinet

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  4. Remove the Cabinet Shelf Clips

    Carefully twist the cabinet shelf clips to loosen the pegs from the holes on the side of the cabinet.

    Removing the clips once the shelves have been removed

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

How to Remove a Broken Cabinet Shelf Clip

If the cabinet shelf clip has broken off, leaving the peg in the hole, first try to remove it with needle-nose pliers. If this does not work, you'll need to drill into the peg and insert a small screw.

  1. Drill Into the Peg

    Fit the drill with the 1/16-inch drill bit. Drill 1/4-inch into the peg.

    Drilling into a broken shelf peg

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  2. Drive a Screw Into the Peg

    Chuck a Phillips driver bit onto the drill. Carefully drive the #4 or #5 size screw 1/4-inch into the peg.

    Driving the screw out of the peg

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

  3. Pull the Shelf Clip Out

    First, try pulling the peg out by hand. If that doesn't work, switch to the hammer. With a thin piece of wood or cardboard between the hammer's claw and the cabinet box, hook the claw onto the head of the screw. Pull back on the handle of the hammer to pull the screw straight out.

    Pulling the shelf peg out once it's been loosened

    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic