How to Remove a Light Bulb?

The question of how to remove a broken light bulb may seem simple at first – just turn off the lamp and turn the bulb counter-clockwise. However, sometimes this problem can include certain risks.

If the bulb has simply burnt out and can easily be removed, that’s usually fine. But if you need to remove stuck light bulbs from a difficult to access place, things can get more complicated.

So, to help you out, here are our tips on how to remove a stuck light bulb safely from its socket:

Make sure the power is off

It’s surprising how many people forget to do this but before you even think about touching an open light socket you should first turn off the power to the lamp. Sometimes that’s as simple as turning it off from the switch but sometimes there are multiple switches for the same lamp. If there are other working lights on the lamp you can look at them as a guide for whether the power is off but if they are all broken you’d do best to turn the power off at the main breaker. If you have a voltage tester at home you should use it to check if there’s any electricity in the socket.

Use gloves

Even if you’re sure that the power is off, a pair of gloves can offer extra protection against the broken glass too so that’s always a good idea.

Remove the broken glass, if there is any before you tackle the bulb’s socket

Broken glass isn’t the main issue with changing light bulbs but it is an annoyance that often needs to be dealt with. If the bulb’s glass isn’t broken and it has just burnt off, you can skip that step but be careful not to break it yourself while removing the bulb.

Unwind the bulb

For the final step, you can use several different tools. In the best-case scenario, you’ll be able to easily unwind the bulb with your gloved hands. Sometimes, however, you won’t be able to fit your hands inside the lamp or the bulb might be so stuck that you’d need additional help. Here are some tools to consider:

  1. Pliers. A pair of needle-nose pliers should be enough to unscrew any bulb, regardless of how stuck it is. If the glass hasn’t broken, be careful not to break it yourself and just twist the bulb counter-clockwise.
  2. A potato. The bulb’s glass is broken and you don’t have pliers? Not a problem. Just take a potato that’s thinner than the lamp is wide, cut it in half, press the cut part of the potato against the broken bulb until it cuts into the vegetable, and then turn the potato counter-clockwise.
  3. Epoxy putty. If you want to feel even more like a McGyver, you can mix up a piece of epoxy putty in a bowl, pack it into the bulb’s base, wait for it to harden, and then just stick a flat-head screwdriver into the epoxy and turn counter-clockwise. If you don’t have epoxy at home you can get some from every hardware shop.

Those are the simplest and easiest ways to remove a stick light bulb that’s hard to reach or unscrew with bare hands. Just remember to turn off the power and to use gloves.


Blogger, editor, developer who loves green living. Interested in photovoltaics and solar lighting. Reviewing solar products since 2013.

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