Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to remove a broken light bulb from a lamp (or other fixture)

So you've found, scrounged, thrifted or been gifted a great new (to you) lamp, but there's a problem that spray paint can't solve. It has a broken bulb stuck in the fixture! 

Your first instinct may be to grab a pair of work gloves and unscrew it with them on to avoid cutting yourself, but beware of trying this solution, because if you break off the glass part of the bulb in the process, it will be much more difficult to get the bulb unscrewed.

The best solution is to get a potato that's just a bit larger than the remaining bulb parts (any type will do--it's best not to eat it afterwards anyways). Cut off one end so that you have a flat, skinless surface to work with.

Unplug the lamp, and then, holding with the cut end of the potato towards the base of the bulb, slowly but firmly impale the potato on the broken bulb, like this:

Once the potato is firmly in place, you can turn it (lefty loosey, of course) and the base of the bulb will turn with it, unscrewing the bulb from the lamp.

Put in a new bulb (of course you'll be using a super efficient compact fluorescent, right?) And voila, you have a lovely new lamp!

This beautiful lamp came to us courtesy of James' Aunt Sue!


  1. I tried the potato thing once. Definitely did not work for me. :-/

    Nice lamp!

  2. Thanks, I love it!

    Did you find another way to get the bulb out of the fixture?