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How to Remove a Broken Light Bulb

Light bulb

It was bound to happen sooner or later. Your worst fear has come to life: there’s a broken bulb in your fixture. Your mind is bombarded with questions: What do I do? How do I fix it? Relax. We here at 1000Bulbs.com are going to show you how to remove that broken bulb. Safely, too, I might add, without requiring stitches or sending electricity coursing through your body.

Dealing with a Broken Light Bulb with Glass

  1. Before you start handling bulbs and fixtures, make absolutely sure the electricity is turned off. Your body, more specifically your heart, doesn’t handle electricity too well. If you’re working with a lamp, unplug it, and if you’re working with a fixture, turn the power off at the circuit breaker.
  2. Protect yourself. Wear mechanics gloves or gardening gloves, not latex gloves as the glass from the bulb will most likely cut through these types of gloves. Make sure to protect your eyes as well. Throw on some safety goggles, or if you’re fresh out of safety goggles, a nice pair of Oakley’s will do the trick.IMG_6904_sized
  3. When dealing with a broken bulb that still has glass around the base, grab the bulb as close to the base as possible. Even though you’re wearing gloves, it’s still best to avoid shards of glass ending up stuck in your gloves. Once the broken bulb is removed, simply throw it out. (Note: the above steps still apply even if you’re dealing with a CFL , but instead of throwing it away in the trash, dispose of it properly.)
  4. What should you do if you don’t have gloves of any kind? Don’t worry. A potato will do just fine. Cut a potato in half, and carefully use one half to grab the bulb. The bulb’s  glass will grip the potato, allowing you to twist the bulb out of its socket.

Dealing with a Broken Light Bulb with No Glass

You might be so fortunate as to come across a bulb that has all of the glass missing, and all that’s left is the base. Great. Thankfully, there’s a simple trick to removing the base from a fixture. Grab a pair of needle-nose pliers and open them inside the base and turn, to the left of course. You may need to tighten and retighten the bulb, sort of wiggling the base, before it comes out.IMG_6934_sized

Last but not least, ensure a proper clean up. After you’ve swept up the glass, consider using the sticky side of tape to catch the finer pieces of glass that your broom missed.

That’s pretty much it. Just remember to use extreme caution when handling glass and electricity. Were there any steps we missed? Let us know in the comments below, or drop a line on Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus!

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Jordan Loa

Jordan is a copywriter at 1000Bulbs.com. Check back often for new entries in his "Light Post" series of happenings in the world of lighting.