243 Stafford St.

Worcester, MA 01603

Tel. 1 (888) 455-2800

Fax 1.508.363.2900


The Business Lighting Experts

How to Change a Broken Light Bulb
Two handy tips that may save you time and injury.
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Lighting Basics

How to Change a Broken Light Bulb

To remove a broken light bulb, the first thing you MUST DO is turn off the power to it. If the broken light bulb is in a lamp simply unplug the lamp. If the broken light bulb is in a ceiling or wall light fixture then turn power off at the Electrical Panel and toggle the light switch to make sure the light is indeed off.

Next put on a pair of protective gloves and safety glasses. Depending on the location of the bulb, you may also want to put down some type of tarp or cloth to catch any broken glass.

Note: These instructions are for household incandescent bulbs only. If you have any questions about other types of bulbs, consult an electrician or call us at 888-455-2800 for additional information.

Using a pair of pliers

Needle-nosed pliers

A pair of needle nose pliers is usually the best tool for the job. Simply grab the broken light bulb base and attempt to rotate it counter-clockwise until it begins to move. If you are having trouble grasping the base of the bulb in the pliers, you may want to bend the base inward slightly for a better grip.

If you are having trouble or encountering some resistance, wiggle it clockwise and then counter-clockwise in order to get it moving.

After you remove the broken light bulb sweep or vacuum up any broken glass and replace the bulb with a new one. Finally, test the new bulb by plugging the light back in and/or turn power back on at the electrical panel. Be sure to recycle the light bulb fragments.

Using an uncooked potato

This may seem like a rather strange tool to use, but it works remarkably well. This technique works particularly well if there is only about 1-inch or less of glass still connected to the base of the bulb.

Cut a large, uncooked baking potato in half to create a large surface area from which to “grab” the bulb. Dry off any excess liquid from the inside of the potato.

Push the cut side of the potato onto the base of the lamp. Be sure you have firm grip on the potato and start to turn counter-clockwise until the base is removed. As mentioned above, you may need to wiggle it free.

Once removed, dry off any liquid that may have rubbed off onto the fixture. Carefully remove the broken bulb from the potato, discard the potato and recycle the light bulb fragments.