How to Repair a Frayed Electrical Cord

Billy Brainard

Wear and tear on electrical cords is nothing new to the homeowner. Whether it is a lamp cord that keeps getting tripped over or an appliance cord that is worn from moving it around, cords may eventually fray and need to be replaced.

Most appliances use a heavier 12- or 14-gauge wire and a three-prong plug, so it is important to locate a plug to match the wiring and the electrical rating of the appliance, lamp or other device. With a few basic tools, you can refurbish the cord and keep your electrical device running safely.

  1. Unplug the appliance or lamp's electrical cord. Make sure the device isn't connected to electricity in some other way.

  2. Locate the damaged area of the cord. Cut behind the damaged area with the wire cutters, making the cut on the appliance side of the wire. This removes the damaged area and the plug.

  3. Measure 2 inches in from the end of the cord. Cut the cord about 1/16 inch into its outside sheathing, then around the cord and back to the beginning spot, carefully using the the utility knife. Don't cut too deeply, or your will cut into the wires inside the sheathing.

  4. Remove the piece of sheathing to reveal three wires inside: Black (hot), white (neutral) and green (ground). Remove 1/2 inch off the end of each wire, using the wire strippers.

  5. Remove the screws on the cover of the new three-prong plug, using the screwdriver. Open the cover to reveal the three screws inside.

  6. Twist the end of each wire in the appliance cord in a clockwise pattern to tighten any loose strands. Attach the black wire from the cord to the brass-colored screw in the plug. Tighten the screw with the screwdriver. Attach the cord's white wire to the plug's silver screw, and the green wire to the green screw, in the same manner.

  7. Replace the plug cover. Replace the cover screws and tighten them with the screwdriver.


Remember, the larger the wire gauge's number, the smaller the wire. If the cord you are repairing is only a two-wire cord, you will only need a two-prong plug. Follow the same steps above, minus the ground wire attachment.


Never attempt to work on an electrical cord while it's plugged into an outlet. Make sure your repairs meet the required electrical building codes for your area. Consult a licensed electrician before performing any work on your own.