How to Remove a Rocker Light Switch

Updated February 21, 2017

A rocker light switch has a very different design than traditional light switches. A rocker switch is a single, large button that rocks up and down to turn the light on and off. The positions correspond to traditional light switches so when rocked up, the light turns on, and when the switch is rocked down the light goes off. Removing a rocker switch requires removing the decorative cover as well as the switch itself.

Go to the main fuse box for the house and turn off the electricity for the room where the rocker light switch is located.

Go back to the rocker light switch and examine the cover for two screws. If there are no screws, then the switch has a decorative cover. Insert the tip of a flathead screwdriver into the bottom of the cover where you see a square or rectangular opening. Twist the screwdriver handle to pry off the cover. Set the cover aside.

Use the screwdriver to remove the two screws in the face of the rocker switch. One screw is located at the top and other screw is at the bottom. In some cases, you will need to switch to a Phillips-head screwdriver to remove the screws.

Grasp the base of the rocker switch and pull the entire thing out of the wall until you can easily see the wires connected to the back of it. There will typically be one black wire, one white wire and a copper or green wire. If the rocker switch was used to power a ceiling fan, there will be additional wires.

Insert the screwdriver into the screw that secures the white wire and turn it counterclockwise once or twice to loosen it. Pull the white wire away from the switch. Repeat the process to detach the black wire.

Locate the screw that secures the green or copper wire and loosen it. In some cases, the wire is not secured to a screw, but is simply wrapped around part of the electrical box. In these cases, unwrap the wire with your fingers.

Pull the rocker switch out from the wall until it is completely detached.


If the black and white wires are not attached by screws, then they are connected to the wall wires by plastic wire connector caps. Grasp each connector and turn it counterclockwise until it comes off and the internal wires are visible. Untwist the wires gently from each other.

Things You'll Need

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver (optional)
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.