4 Ways to Remove a Broken Light Bulb

Ways to Remove a Broken Light BulbBroken light bulbs can bring risk of electrocution or laceration if not removed safely. The easiest method is to use pliers to grab the rim of the light bulb base (or by inserting into the base and holding open) and turning. A raw potato can be forced onto the broken bulb for easy turning by hand. Epoxy or glue can also be used to modify the base for easy turning.

Before you begin: Shut-off the power to the socket and check for any electricity using a voltmeter. Eye protection and thick gloves are strongly recommended to prevent injury.


If the rim of the bulb’s metal base is accessible, use a pair of needle-nose pliers to grab the rim and gently turn the base counterclockwise until the bulb has been removed.

In some cases, there might not be any part of the metal base exposed. If you’re unable to grab the rim with your pliers, insert the closed pliers in the center of the base, then open the pliers to apply pressure to the base from the inside and turn counterclockwise.

Raw Potato

Using a raw potato is one of the oldest tricks, but probably isn’t the best option as it can get messy. Cut the potato in half and firmly press it onto the broken bulb. The broken bulb will get lodged in the potato allowing you to gently turn the potato counterclockwise to back-out the broken bulb.

Epoxy or Glue

Is the broken bulb stuck in the socket, or maybe in a difficult place to access? Break-off any remaining glass and fill the metal base with a quick-setting epoxy. Take a flathead screwdriver and poke a slot in the middle of the epoxy so once it dries, you can use the screwdriver to turn the base.

If using glue, fill the base with glue and insert a wooden stick in the middle. Once the glue dries, turn the stick to back the broken bulb out.

Broken Bulb Extractor

If none of the previous methods work or you’d rather play it safe, there are designated tools at your local hardware store specifically for removing broken light bulbs.


After you’ve successfully removed the broken light bulb, carefully discard all pieces and insert your new bulb before turning the power back on.

TIP: The most common culprit for getting bulbs stuck in sockets is corrosion. This can be remedied by applying a small amount of bulb lubrication around the threads of the bulb.


Resources found on our website are provided as general guidelines, and Reddi Industries does not assume any liability resulting from the provided information.

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