Tool for extracting a broken light bulb?

I’ll supply the jokes, pre-emptively: Yes, I am a tool for breaking the light-bulb.

Two: one to grip the bulb too hard, and one to sweep glass shards off the floor.

Okay, now that’s done, and now that the glass has been thrown away, how do I get the metal thready part out of the fixture? This is a ceiling ficture, single-bulb dealy.

We use to shape a tool out of dry wood to fit the metal part and unscrew it.

Otherwise we had a special non-conductive set of fuse pullers that could do the job.

Good luck and err on the side of caution.


Some folks use a custom carved potato. I’ve always done it with insulated needlenose pliers. In either scenario, be sure the power to the socket is off.

The first thing is TURN THE POWER OFF!

Try a pair of needle-nosed pliers and open them up inside the base of the bulb and you should be able to twist it out.
Did I mentioned to TURN THE POWER OFF?

Yeah, shut off the power to the fixture and turn off the circuit breaker and use a pair of insulated pliers.

Verrrrrry carefully.
There are devices I have seen to do this. They should have something at the hardware store. Just be sure you have the current off before you mess with it. Yeah, I know that’s obvious.

An old trick is to carve a half of a raw potato in the shape of a cylinder to fit snugly in the bulb base, with a hole in the center to fit the glass stem in the center. Push this into the broken bulb base and use it to unscrew it. Be sure the power is off first! You can also buy broken bulb extractors at almost any home improvement, hardware or electrical supply store.

Did we mention you should turn the power off first? :wink:

You know, I’ve got insulated needlenose pliers up the wazoo (not literally–I keep my wrenches up there) but now I really want to try the potato thing, just on the off-chance someone will wander by and ask me what I’m doing. “Oh, just installing this potato into the light fixture.”

Got Potato?

Or you could use a potato. :smack: too slow . . .

From my days at the distribution warehouse:

Unger broken bulb remover

and don’t forget what I said about the power!

I’ve heard you can use a potato, but you should turn the power off first.

But once you turn the power off, try a potato. But turn the power off first.


And if you fear that your house was wiring incompetently, shut off the circuit breaker, not just the wall switch. To meet code, the hot leg of the circuit is supposed to run to the switch, then to the base of the socket, while the sides of the socket connect to the neutral circuit. In this case, shutting off the switch gives you complete protection (unless your wife walks in and flips the switch out of habit while you are screwing in the potato.)

But if a moron wired your house, the hot wire goes to the sides of the bulb, and the switch is on the neutral leg. The light will operate perfectly well, but the socket will be hot all the time even when the switch is turned off. And make no mistake, this bad wiring has been done an astounding number of times. In this case, only turning off the breaker makes it safe to have your naughty naughty way with the specially carved potato.

Or you can take your non-insulated Gerber pocket tool and grab the edge of the outer shell and turn the broken base out of the socket as I did earlier this afternoon. Yes, I flipped the light switch off.

Yes, as a matter of fact I have been running with scissors. So there.:wink:

Wood broom handle. Push up and twist.

Listen to the man. The clown who wired my house did this. On a chandelier. Over a staircase. I tried replacing a bulb, got a shock and reflexively threw the lamp globe down the staircase. I’m lucky I didn’t follow it.

You could always try turning off the power, but don’t forget to use a potato.

But don’t use a potato on a chandelier over a stairwell. Unless you turn off the power.