Is your light bulb stuck in a socket? Don’t attempt to remove it and risk injury through cuts or electrocution. There are simple methods to safely remove a broken bulb.

What is the most common reason a light bulb is stuck in socket? 

It’s usually corrosion between the socket and the metal base of the light bulb that causes the bulb to get stuck in its socket. Such a situation is more common in damp parts of the house such as an unfinished basement, a busy kitchen, and bathrooms.

What to do if the light bulb is stuck in socket?

lightbulb in socket

To avoid potential danger when dealing with a broken light bulb in a screw-shell lamp holder, you need to ensure that the electricity supply has been disconnected properly. In older houses, it’s advisable to use a non-contact voltage detector to verify that there is no electrical field present. 

Also, keep in mind that removing a bulb from its holder may result in injury to your hand or eyes. Therefore, you must wear heavy gloves and eye protection when attempting to remove the broken bulb. 

What materials do you need for this DIY project?

You’ll require the following items to remove the broken bulb from its socket:

  • Safety glasses
  • Rubber gloves
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Broken bulb extractor
  • Circuit tester
  • Raw potato
  • Soda bottle
  • Quick-setting epoxy or glue gun
  • A dry stick 

What are the ways to remove a stuck light bulb?

The process is an easy one. You may do any of the following (or all of them!) to remove a broken bulb from its holder. Remember to clear away any shards of glass or metal from the socket as you proceed with each step.

Utilize a broken bulb extractor

You can find this special instrument in your local home improvement stores. It comes equipped with a rubber tip designed to fit onto the broken bulb’s base. Additionally, it features a plastic body with a threaded socket on its rear end, which enables you to attach the extractor to an extension pole, making it ideal for bulbs in inaccessible locations.

Press it into the base, turning it to remove it from the socket.

Use needle-nose pliers

You can use pliers to remove the base from the socket. Take a pair of needle-nose pliers and clamp them onto the metal edge of the base, then rotate counter-clockwise. 

If the piece being turned breaks off before the base comes out, dispose of it and try again with a new piece of the base. 

It’s important to exercise patience and be careful not to damage the socket during the process. 

Alternatively, you can open the jaws of the needle-nose pliers wide enough to grip the walls of the bulb, then use your hands to rotate it counter-clockwise until the bulb comes out.

Grab a potato for the ultimate DIY technique

Don’t laugh but this technique to remove a broken light bulb actually works. Take a raw potato and use it as an effective bulb extractor. You can carve one end of the potato into a shape that fits inside the base and over the glass filament support, about ¾ inch in diameter. Then hold the unpeeled end of the potato and push it firmly. It will grip the protruding parts as you begin twisting the base out of the socket.

Read more: Ultimate DIY projects

Use an old soda bottle

broken lightbulb

Find an empty soda bottle of any size and remove the cap. Melt the rim of the bottle with a lighter until the plastic begins to melt. Place the melted part onto the broken bulb and hold it in place until the plastic has cooled and fused to the base of the bulb. Then attempt to unscrew the bulb base by moving it back and forth until it becomes loose and can be removed from the socket.

Apply glue or epoxy on a stick

Take an old dry stick and apply some epoxy or hot glue all over its tip. Fit the stick into the base and wait till the epoxy or glue dries up. Once it does, slowly twist the stick. This will loosen the broken bulb’s base.

Make sure there are no glass or metal fragments left inside the socket. It’s a good idea to clean the socket with a paper towel. Now, you’re ready to install a new bulb. 

How to prevent broken bulbs from getting stuck? 

Breaking light bulbs is inevitable. Thankfully, modern LED light bulbs are equipped with a sturdier base that enables users to remove them from sockets with greater ease, even when the bulb breaks.

Nonetheless, if you are still using older incandescent or halogen bulbs, removing a stuck bulb can be challenging.

A good way to avoid this problem is by applying a special light bulb lubricant instead of ordinary lubricants such as WD-40 or petroleum jelly to the new bulb. This will help inhibit corrosion and make bulb removal easier.  

Read more: How to maintain light fixtures

What to do if the light bulb is stuck in socket? was last modified: April 21st, 2023 by Ramona Sinha
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