How to Lubricate Light Bulbs

Keeping lightbulbs from sticking is a useful household task.
Keeping lightbulbs from sticking is a useful household task. (Image: Clear lightbulb image by simbolocoma from

Lightbulb sockets are occasionally sticky, causing potential issues with the glass portion of a lightbulb coming under undue stress when screwed in. This can cause air intrusion into the bulb, instantly killing it. Alternatively, the glass may shear off entirely, causing the metal cap to stick in a live socket. Fortunately, a simple home remedy can prevent this from happening. This is especially useful when dealing with outdoor light fixtures, as corrosion may potentially be a bigger problem.

Things You'll Need

  • Alcohol pad
  • Clean cloth
  • Petroleum jelly

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Clean the sleeve and contact cap of the lightbulb with an alcohol pad. Allow a few seconds for the alcohol to dry.

Dip a finger into the petroleum jelly. Apply a smooth, even coating to the sleeve (but not the contact cap) of the bulb. Use the clean cloth to remove any excess.

Screw in the bulb fully. Unscrew the bulb a few turns, and then fully reseat it. The bulb and inner sleeve of the light fixture should now have a nice even coating of lubricant to prevent sticking upon removal.


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