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How to Remove a Broken Light Bulb from the Socket

Use this safe and easy technique next time you need to replace a shattered light bulb.


  • : Working with electricity is dangerous. Be extremely careful and, if you have any doubts, contact a professional.
  • Step 1: Turn off electricity Unplug a lamp from the wall plug. For a permanent fixture, shut off the circuit breaker.
  • Step 2: Insert pliers into fixture Wearing your gloves and safety glasses, insert your needle-nose pliers into the rim of the light bulb.
  • TIP: For added friction, wrap electrical tape around the ends of your pliers.
  • Step 3: Unscrew bulb Spread the pliers’ handles apart so that the ends push out against the inner wall of the light bulb. Turn the pliers counter-clockwise to unscrew the bulb.
  • TIP: If you’re having trouble extracting the bulb using the needle-nose pliers, try using a raw potato to unscrew the bulb.
  • Step 4: Discard bulb Discard the broken bulb and screw in the new bulb firmly, but not forcefully.
  • Step 5: Turn on power Turn the power back on or plug the fixture back into the wall, and let there be light!
  • FACT: Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) use approximately 75% less energy than conventional incandescent bulbs.

You Will Need

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Electrical tape (optional)

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