We’ve all had bulbs broken when replacing a burned out bulb. We’ll show you a few ways to get a broken bulb out of a socket.
- 1/2″ x 1/2″ x 6″ stick
- Hot glue
- Light bulb lubricant
Beware the Broken Light Bulbs
Removing a broken bulb from a screw socket can be dangerous if you don’t solve two problems: First, if the light fixture or socket is controlled by a simple switch, how do you know the electricity is really off (or zippered)?
Second, How to take out the broken bulb holder from the lamp holder without cutting the hand or damaging the inside of the lamp holder?
Remove the Damaged Bulb
When a bulb gets stuck in a socket, the culprit is usually corrosion between the socket and the metal base of the bulb. This is most common in outdoor and damp places such as basements and bathrooms.
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If your bulb doesn’t move, wear heavy gloves and goggles. Make sure the light switch is off, then check the base with a non-contact voltage detector to be sure, especially if you live in an older house. When an electric field is present, the voltage detector will flash and emit an audible signal.
2. Grab the Broken Base with Potatoes
Then go ahead and twist as hard as you can. Don’t worry about breaking the bulb. In fact, if the light bulb doesn’t turn, the next step is to break it on purpose. Hold the tip of the screwdriver against the bulb and tap the handle hard with a hammer. This leaves the metal base of the bulb in the socket.
Usually, you can unscrew the base by inserting the pliers and keeping the jaws open as you turn. But potatoes work too: run a knife around the end of the potato. Support the light fixture and insert an instrument into the socket. Glass shards and crumbs will stick to the potato, and when you twist out the bulb, it locks the lamp socket nicely.
3. Grab the Broken Base with Needle Nose Pliers
If none of these methods work, use needle nose pliers to remove the bulb. Firmly grasp the metal base of the bulb and turn it, but avoid damaging the metal screw socket of the light fixture. To avoid damaging the metal screw socket of the light fixture, bend the metal edge slightly inward and unscrew the bulb.
4. For Severely Corroded Bulbs
If your bulb base is very stubborn, use hot glue and 1/2 x 1/2 inch. wooden stick. Apply a large dollop of hot glue to a stick and press it into the bottom of the broken bulb. If the glue doesn’t fill the base, inject glue into any gaps. Let the glue cool for five minutes, then turn the stick to unscrew the base.
5. Prevent Stuck Bulbs
Avoid all this hassle by applying a special lubricant like Bulb EZ to your new bulb. (Common lubricants such as WD-40 or petroleum jelly are not recommended.) Coat the threads of new bulbs with a special lubricant designed for bulbs. The coating inhibits corrosion and makes future removal easier.