How To Remove A Broken Light Bulb

Lightbulbs will occasionally break, it’s a matter of fact. When this happens, it can be dangerous and difficult to extract it from the socket. 

You can risk shattering the bulb’s glass or getting an electrical shock. These facts alone, are enough to make anyone hesitant to remove the remaining light bulb. 

Luckily, many bulbs nowadays come with a safer, more substantial base, which makes removing the bulb a lot easier. 

However, if you’ve not yet transitioned to these new and improved bulbs, it is crucial to know how to remove them safely with a few tips and tricks. 

This article is going to list a few ways you can do this safely, with some items you’re likely to already have on hand! 

Before You Begin

Before attempting to remove a broken bulb from the socket, there are a few things you need to make sure of first. 

You must make sure that the light source is completely switched off. If you’re dealing with a lamp, you can simply unplug it. However, if you are working with hard-wired lighting, you need to disconnect the electricity through the fuse box or breaker. 

This will ensure your safety, preventing you from receiving an electrical shock. 

You should also consider covering the floor with a sheet in order to catch any flying pieces of glass. Safety glasses and gloves are also advised. 

Using Pliers

One way to safely remove a broken bulb is by using pliers. You must do this slowly and with precision, to avoid damaging the light fixture. 

If the filament of the bulb is still intact, then use some needle nose pliers and grab hold of the metal rim of the base of the bulb. 

Once you have a good hold, gently unscrew it counterclockwise, and bend the metal of the base inwards in order to get it to budge. 

Repeat the process until the base becomes loose. Once removed, get rid of any remaining parts and throw everything in the trash. 

If you are struggling to remove the bulb because you need more grip, try wrapping your pliers with electrical tape. 

Raw Potato

Using a raw potato is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and you’re bound to have a few spuds lying around in your pantry. 

You can try two methods when it comes to using a potato. For the first one, you are to grab a medium-sized potato and cut it in half. 

Be sure to pat away any excess water with a paper towel, and then insert the cut end of the potato onto the base of the bulb and push it in as deep as possible.

The glass filament on the base of the bulb and any protruding glass should cut through the potato, enabling you to have a good enough grip. 

Once inserted, twist the potato counterclockwise until you feel the bulb beginning to unscrew. 

When you have removed the bulb, throw any remnants into the trash, as well as the raw potato.

This potato should never be used for any other purpose after it has been used to remove a light bulb. 

If you have not been able to remove the bulb like this, you may need a tighter fit from the potato. 

To do this, use the other half of the potato and cut the round end, making a cylinder shape. This should fit well around the socket. Press it in, as you would do for the previous method, and begin to unscrew. 

Melted Soda Bottle

If you have any empty soda bottles on hand, they can be used to safely remove light bulbs from their socket. 

Begin by removing the cap and seal band from the neck of the bottle and placing it over a heat source to melt the tip in order to make it look like a cone. 

Once the bottle is no longer warm, press it into the base of the bulb, and twist it counterclockwise while maintaining pressure against the socket, so you get a good grip. 

When you are able to remove the bulb, dispose of it immediately. You do not need to throw the bottle away – instead, keep it for the next time a bulb breaks in your home!

Broken Bulb Extractor 

You may already have a broken bulb extractor lying around, but if you don’t, you can easily find one in your local hardware store for as little as $10. 

These extractors have rubber tips that are to be inserted into the base of the bulb.

Then, like the methods used above, you are to twist the extractor counterclockwise until the bulb unscrews.

Broken bulb extractors are easy to use, and their sole purpose is to remove bulbs, so if the above methods sound a little complicated to you, then purchasing this extractor may be better suited to you. 

Final Thoughts 

Removing a broken bulb can be done in a number of ways, using certain things you already have lying around in your homes, such as a raw potato or an empty soda bottle. 

Before attempting any of these methods, the electrics need to be completely turned off at the fuse, unless you are dealing with a lamp, which only needs to be unplugged from the socket. 

We hope these methods have been helpful to you! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Causes A Light Bulb To Break?

There are a few reasons why a light bulb may break. There may be a lack of insulation at the base of the bulb.

This insulation keeps the bulb protected from the heat, but if there is none, the base can melt, causing the gas in the bulb to leak and reduce pressure. 

This loss of pressure leads to a pressure imbalance and can then cause the bulb to explode. 

They may also break due to power surges. Occasionally, your home electrical circuits can experience a power surge.

Light bulbs are only made to withstand a certain amount of power, so power surges can cause them to break.