How to Remove a Lightbulb Base From a Socket

The life of a light bulb depends on its type and amount of use, and inevitably, every light bulb needs replacement.

Pliers

Sometimes the glass portion of the light bulb breaks off from the base while attempting to remove it, leaving the metal piece stuck in the socket. This scenario is hazardous due to the increased risk of being shocked and/or cutting yourself. Be sure to disconnect electrical power to the bulb before attempting to remove the base from the socket using household items. Failure to do so may result in electrocution.

Disconnect electrical power to the socket and put on gloves.

Place a tarp, dropcloth or blanket under the bulb to catch any glass debris that may fall.

Put on leather gloves and safety glasses for protection.

Use needle-nose pliers to grip the base of the bulb.

Turn the base counter-clockwise to remove it from the socket. Dispose of the remainder of the bulb, and replace it with a new one.

Turn the electricity back on and remove the tarp, dropcloth or blanket from Step 2. Be sure to dispose of glass fragments carefully.

Potato

Disconnect electrical power to the socket.

Place a tarp, dropcloth or blanket under the bulb to catch any glass debris that falls.

Put on leather gloves and safety glasses for protection.

Cut a potato in half and press the cut end into the socket until you feel the it engage the metal base.

Press the potato into the socket while simultaneously rotating it counterclockwise until the base is removed from the socket. If the potato disconnects while during the process, repeat Steps 4 and 5 until it is removed. Dispose of the remainder of the bulb, and replace it with a new one.

Turn the electricity back on and remove the tarp, dropcloth or blanket from Step 2. Be sure to dispose of glass fragments carefully.

Things You Will Need

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Tarp, dropcloth or blanket
  • Potato

Tip

  • If you cut yourself or receive a shock while removing the broken bulb, perform first aid and/or seek professional medical attention as needed.

Warning

  • Never attempt to remove a broken bulb from the socket before shutting off power.

About the Author

Bryan Clark has been a freelance writer since 2002. His work has appeared in "The New York Times," "USA Today" and the U.K.'s biggest paper—"The Guardian," amongst other, smaller publications.