How to Get Broken a Light Bulb Out of a Socket

Written by gareth downes-powell
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How to Get Broken a Light Bulb Out of a Socket
Make sure that light bulbs are not overtightened to help avoid breakage. (mate light bulb glow image by Lev Aleshin from

It is rare for modern light bulbs to break, but this can happen if the bulbs overheat, receive a large voltage surge or are defective. When light bulbs break, they can be difficult to remove, with little to grip and sharp pieces of glass remaining attached to the base of the bulb. With care, it is possible to safely remove broken light bulbs using a pair of needle-nose pliers and some thick work gloves.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Leather gloves
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Vacuum
  • Safety glasses (optional)

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  1. 1

    Turn off the power at the circuit breaker to the socket or the switch. This will ensure that no power is going to the socket or the switch. The wires inside the bulb are exposed and easy to touch when removing the broken bulb, so it is essential that the power is turned off.

  2. 2

    Put on leather work gloves to protect your hands from any broken glass remaining from the bulb. If the bulb is in a ceiling socket, wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from falling pieces of glass.

  3. 3

    Push the tip of the needle-nose pliers between the metal base of the bulb and the socket. Bend the metal base inward slightly. This creates a ridge of metal that you can apply a good grip to with the pliers.

  4. 4

    Grasp the ridge firmly with the pliers and turn the base counterclockwise until the bulb is fully unscrewed. Remove the broken bulb.

  5. 5

    Vacuum the floor under the bulb to remove any pieces of glass.

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