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How To Easily Remove a Broken Light Bulb from a Socket (7 Examples)

A light bulb breaking in the socket can be frustrating and dangerous if you’re not careful. However, there are some ways you can safely remove a broken light bulb from a socket.

You may even have what you need lying around your house. Keep reading to learn more because you never know when you’ll need to remove a broken light bulb.

Let’s get started!

Is Removing a Broken Light Bulb Dangerous?

Removing a broken light bulb can be extremely dangerous. Not only do you have to worry about the potential of broken glass cutting you, but there’s also the risk of electrocution. If a lightbulb breaks in the on position, immediately turn it off at the light switch or unplug it from the electrical outlet. 

You should be as careful as possible while cleaning up the broken glass. Turn off the breaker at your home’s electrical box before you attempt to replace the broken bulb. Since you can never be too safe when working with electricity, it’s best to use a Mr. Pen voltage tester before you start working on light sockets.

Hand with glove removing lightbulb from socket
Always be cautious when removing a broken light bulb from a socket.

Should You Put Vaseline on Light Bulb Threads?

Some light bulbs can last an incredibly long time. Since you typically only remove them when they burn out, it can be several months to more than a year before you’ll need to unscrew them.

As they sit in the socket, light bulb threads can stick to the inside of the socket and be very challenging to remove. As a result, applying a thin layer of vaseline or petroleum jelly can help avoid any potential sticking. 

How Do You Safely Remove a Broken Light Bulb?

Before sticking your fingers or any utensils in the light socket, you must turn off the power. The best way to ensure no electricity is running to the light socket is to turn the power off at the breaker. In addition, using a voltage tester on the socket can help you to know with certainty that the socket is safe.

Grab a pair of gloves and clean up as much of the broken glass as possible. You can use various methods to twist the broken bulb in the socket. You’ll want to ensure you throw away all the glass pieces. It’s best to vacuum over the area to pick up tiny glass pieces.

Pro Tip: Upgrading your lightbulbs is an easy way to upgrade your RV interior. While you’re at it, also do these 5 Easy RV Upgrades.

Broken lightbulb on table
Always cut the power before removing a broken light bulb from a socket.

How to Easily Remove a Broken Light Bulb From a Socket

There are several methods for efficiently removing a broken light bulb from a socket. Whatever your strategy, it’s essential to ensure the power is off to the socket. If it’s a lamp, unplug it from the electrical outlet. If it’s a light fixture in your home, turn off the breaker at the electrical panel before proceeding.


One of the easiest ways to remove a broken light bulb from a socket is using a pair of needle nose pliers. There’s a chance you can firmly grasp a piece of the light bulb stuck in the socket with a pair of pliers.

Once you find a spot to grab it firmly, turn it counterclockwise to unscrew it from the socket. You may need to bend portions of the metal in the bulb.


Another standard method involves a potato. Cut off the end of a potato to create a flat edge. Dry as much of the moisture from the potato as possible. Y

ou can then jam the flat edge of the potato against the jagged edges of the light bulb. If you do it right, the potato and light bulb should connect. You should be able to turn the broken light bulb until you can remove it entirely from the socket.


Similar to the potato method, there are various epoxy materials you can use to remove a broken light bulb from a socket. If you have some quick-setting epoxy like J-B Weld, fill the broken light bulb with the epoxy and place a flat-head screwdriver into the epoxy.

It will grasp the fractured piece of light bulb firmly, and you can twist it until it entirely comes out of the socket. Ensure you give the epoxy plenty of time to dry and harden so you can quickly turn it out of the socket.

Wad of Duct Tape

Is there anything that duct a little duct tape can’t fix? Duct tape is extremely sticky and can grab almost any surface, including broken light bulb pieces. You’ll want to ensure you use plenty of duct tape to form a ball with the sticky side of the tape facing out.

Jam the duct tape ball into the center of the broken light bulb and apply some pressure to it. Duct tape is also a very efficient way to clean up small glass pieces that may have fallen onto the floor if you do not have a vacuum readily available.

Bar of Soap

A soap bar can help you stay fresh and smell good, but it can also be a tool for removing a broken light bulb from a socket. Take the bar of soap and press it firmly against the fractured light bulb. Let the jagged pieces press into the soap.

You should get enough leverage on the socket to twist the bulb out of the socket. Wipe off any soap remnants from the socket once you remove the bulb. Toss the soap and broken light bulb into the trash.

Piece of Cork

Cork is another soft material strong enough to help you get enough leverage to twist a light bulb from a socket. Press the cork into the broken light bulb to get a firm grip.

Twist it counterclockwise until the bulb pops out of the socket. Once successful, toss both into the trash and clean all pieces of glass from the floor and surrounding area.

Broken Bulb Extractor

If you frequently remove broken light bulbs, you may want to invest in a broken bulb extractor. It’s also a good idea to discover how or why you’re breaking so many light bulbs in the socket.

To use a broken bulb extractor, press the rubber tip into the broken light bulb. Get a firm grip and twist it out.

Pro Tip: Do you leave your lights on all night long? We uncovered Should You Keep Your RV Exterior Lights On Overnight?

Safely and Easily Remove Broken Bulbs

A broken light bulb can be an extremely frustrating situation. You should always take safety seriously when working with electricity.

Always turn off the power and then double-check to ensure that the power is off at the socket. However, if you follow the tips we’ve shared, you should remove broken bulbs from sockets and quickly replace them with new bulbs to light up your room.

Have you heard of any of these methods for removing broken bulbs?

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