How to remove light bulbs

Written by leonardo r. grabkowski
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How to remove light bulbs
A bar of soap can help you remove a broken light bulb safely. (soap image by ivan kmit from

Removing a light bulb from a lighting fixture, such as a ceiling fan or a table lamp, is a relatively simple process. The process, however, can be tricky if the bulb is either stuck or broken. A stuck light bulb is difficult to remove in the usual way, because you must be careful not to grip the bulb too hard for fear of it breaking. A broken bulb has no glass to grasp onto.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Gloves (optional)
  • Potato or bar of soap
  • Duct tape or masking tape

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  1. 1

    Turn off the light switch, or shut the power off and unplug the appliance that holds the light bulb. Wait a couple of minutes for it to cool off, if it was recently on.

  2. 2

    Grasp the glass part of the light bulb. Hold it gently. Wear gloves, if desired. Twist the glass counterclockwise. As you do so, the socket will come unscrewed from the base.

  3. 3

    Lift the light bulb to remove it, or pull it down if the fixture is on the ceiling. Dispose of the light bulb.

  1. 1

    Put on a pair of thick gloves for safety. Check the area to make sure there are no shards of glass. If there are, sweep them up gently with a dustpan and a broom. Make sure the light is turned off.

  2. 2

    Push a raw potato against the socket firmly. The edges of the socket will stick into the potato. You can also use a bar of soap. Twist the potato or bar of soap counterclockwise.

  3. 3

    Lift the potato or bar of soap up to remove the broken light bulb, or pull it down if the light bulb is facing downward.

  1. 1

    Turn off the light. Grab your duct tape or masking tap. Remove a strip approximately 18 to 24 inches long from the roll.

  2. 2

    Turn the tape over so the adhesive is facing downward. Loop the ends of the tape up into a circle. You should now have a long strip of tape with adhesive on each side.

  3. 3

    Loop the tape around the light bulb gently. Press it carefully to stick the tape to the bulb well. Grasp the ends of the looped tape and use the tape to turn the bulb counterclockwise. Lift it up or pull it down to remove it.

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