How to Remove a Broken Light Bulb Base From a Socket

Whether the bulb was broken accidentally and needs to be replaced or it broke when you were trying to replace it, getting the metal socket out of the light fixture poses a challenge. Outdoor bulbs are prone to breakage from the elements, or they become stuck due to grime and corrosion around the base. Indoor bulbs may be screwed in too tightly, or dirt may be in the fixture that caused them to become stuck. Regardless, you must remove the old metal base before you insert a new bulb.

Things You'll Need

  • Work gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Potato
  • Knife
  • Broom handle
  • Hot glue

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Put on a pair of work gloves to avoid injury from any remaining glass. Wear eye goggles if the fixture is above your head.

Cut a potato in half. Choose a potato arger in diameter than the bulb's metal base.

Push the potato firmly onto the base until the base is pushed into the cut end of the potato. Hold onto the potato, and use it to unscrew the light bulb.

Find a ½-inch diameter piece of wood if the potato doesn't work. Use the end of a broomstick handle or a wooden dowel.

Coat the end of the wood in hot glue. Push into the light bulb base. Fill any gaps in the base with hot glue, and let it dry for five minutes.

Unscrew the light bulb base using the wood as a handle. This supplies the needed leverage to get the base out of the socket.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use light bulb lubricants, available at home improvement stores, on the bulb's base before screwing in the bulb so it doesn't get stuck and break in the future.
  • If enough of the base protrudes from the socket, grip the edge of the base with pliers and unscrew the bulb.
  • Always turn off the light switch before attempting removal.


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