How To Safely Remove A Broken Light Bulb That Is Stuck In The Socket – Step By Step

Best ways to remove a broken lightbulb. Light bulbs are made of glass, and glass breaks. Broken light bulbs are difficult to deal with and can actually be incredibly dangerous as well. Removing them from the socket is actually easy enough if you know the safe ways to do so, and it doesn’t tend to take any special tools. We’ve provided a few different ways for you to safely remove your broken bulb without the risk of electrocution or laceration.

How To Safely Remove A Lightbulb That Is Stuck In The SocketHow To Safely Remove A Lightbulb That Is Stuck In The Socket

Things you can use to remove a broken lightbulb:
-Lightbulb remover

Before You Remove The Lightbulb

Before you even try to touch the bulb, you should always cut power to the light source. This will make it safer to deal with, buy avoiding the risk of electrical shock. Cut the power at the breaker, as just turning off the switch isn’t always enough to be safe, especially if the light is controlled by more than one switch.

Be sure that there isn’t any broken glass on the ground or furniture where you’re working. It’s a good idea to wear shoes and gloves when dealing with any project that involves broken glass. Thoroughly sweep and vacuum the area, so that you don’t risk cutting yourself on hidden glass. Before you work on removing the remainder of the bulb, make sure you’re still wearing your gloves, and put on some protective eyewear, since glass splinters are likely to happen.

Lightbulb Remover

A lightbulb remover can be purchased can be seen here or at your local home improvement store. Usually it will come in a kit with an attachment that removes all types of light bulbs from high on the ceiling. It will include many pieces to remove and replace light bulbs either broken or new.

Broken Bulb Changer Kit with PoleBroken Bulb Changer Kit with Pole

Use Pliers To Remove Broken Bulb From Socket

This is probably the most recognizable way to remove a broken bulb; using a pair of pliers. The more intact the bulb the easier it is with this version. Use the pliers to grip the glass base of the filament, and very gently twist counter-clockwise. This should allow the base to unscrew from the socket and be removed. If not, however, it’s likely that the filament will break instead.

If the filament breaks off, carefully dispose of it and return to the broken bulb. Place the needle nose pliers into the base of the bulb and open them as wide as you can, so that the two tips ware on opposite sides of the base. Turn counter-clockwise and your bulb should start to unscrew. If you need more grip on your pliers, wrap the ends with electrical tape.

Use A Potato TO Remove The Broken Light bulb

Yes, you’ve heard this right: you can use a potato to remove a broken bulb from its socket.

Break off any remaining glass, being very careful while doing so. Cut the potato in half and press it firmly against the socket. Twist counter-clockwise; the potato should allow the base of the bulb to turn while the socket stays still. Your broken base will be removed, and then you can throw both it and the potato away (don’t use the potato afterwards, as it may have glass in it still).

Use Epoxy To Remove A Broken Lightbulb

If your bulb is in a hard-to-reach place, you can use some quick setting epoxy to remove it from the socket. Before you begin with this route, clean the remainder of the glass off the bulb, so that there’s none left. Mix up your piece of epoxy and pack it into the base of the bulb. Press a flat head screwdriver into the epoxy and remove it, leaving the impression.

After the epoxy dries (this depends on the kind you’ve used, but for quick drying it’s generally round five minutes), you can use the screwdriver to unscrew the base, much like it were a screw itself.


Don’t ever try to remove the bulb base with your hands, as you’re likely to get cut. There’s also the risk of damaging the socket as well. If none of the above ways have worked for you, you can always buy a broken bulb extractor from your hardware store.

When your light bulb breaks, you don’t need to worry about removing it. Just follow one of the procedures above, always remembering to do so safely, and you shouldn’t have any problems at all.

If you have questions or comments, please leave your information below and we will get back to you to assist.

ALLEN VETTER - DIY Repair Assistant
Allen is a Home Maintenance/Appliance tech and the author/creator of this website. He has 30 years of experience troubleshooting and repairing all types of machinery. Contact here

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