How to Safely Remove a Broken Bulb

You go to change a light bulb in one of your home’s lighting fixtures, and before you know it, the glass bulb breaks off and you are left with the metal base still stuck in the socket.

Before you make any attempt to remove the remaining part of the bulb, turn off the power to the fixture. If it’s a lamp, simply unplug it. If it’s a ceiling fixture or a light in an oven, for example, you will need to turn off the related circuit breaker at your electrical panel. Be sure toggle the light or appliance switch to make sure the light is indeed off.

brokenbulb1You should also put on a pair of protective gloves and safety glasses, and place a cloth or bowl under the location to catch any additional broken glass.

Next, using a pair of needle nose pliers, grab the stuck bulb base and try rotating it counter-clockwise and wiggling it until it begins to move. You may want to bend the base inward slightly for a better grip.

Another option is to use a large uncooked potato, especially when there is an inch or less of glass still connected to the base. Cut the potato in half so that you have a large enough surface to “grab” the bulb. Dry any excess liquid on the potato half. Push the cut side of the potato into the base and firmly counter-clockwise until the base is removed.

As one of southeast Michigan’s leading electrical contractors, Oak Electric Service is on hand to answer electrical safety questions for your home or business. Give us a call at (800) 964-7070. We will always personally answer your phone call – you will never reach an answering service! Be sure to ask about our “Free Electrical Safety Inspection” with every job. We invite you to visit our website at to learn more about us.

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