Free Tips & Easy "How to" Instructions
No matter how careful you might be, there comes a time when you will eventually break off a light bulb while it is still in the socket. Assuming you haven't sliced up your hand from the initial break, you still need to remove what is left of the bulb from the socket. This, of course, is easier said than done. There are several different methods that handymen across the country recommend, but they all agree that safety should be your top priority. Let's take a look at just how you go about removing a broken light bulb from a socket without filleting yourself in the process.
The single most important step here isn't the actual removal of the bulb, it is making sure that the fixture has no power. If you aren't completely sure which circuit you have to turn off, turn off all of them. You simply don't want to take the risk of electrocuting yourself just so you can remove a light bulb
Next, get a tarp or a sheet of some kind and lay it on the floor underneath the fixture. You have likely already cleaned up the glass from the initial bulb break and you don't want to have to do it all over again.
The next two tips involve protecting yourself from the sharp, jagged pieces of broken glass. Go and grab some form of gloves, the thicker the better. A pair of leather winter gloves works really well since you still have enough control of your hands and fingers while providing adequate protection. You also want to make sure that you wear some kind of eye protection, and a pair of regular glasses isn't enough. These shards of glass are very fine and very unpredictable, so don't think you can know where they might go.
When it comes to removing a broken bulb, most of us have heard of the potato trick: simply pressing a potato into the broken glass and then turning it so the base appears and you can safely unscrew the bulb the rest of the way.
This can work but it isn't the way most experts would recommend.
If you own a pair of pliers, try this method first. After making sure the power is off, insert the tips of the pliers into the broken bulb and then open them, pressing the sides of the tips into the sides of the broken bulb.
Start turning the pliers so that the bulb is slowly removed. This method takes some patience but it does work more times than not.
The other recommended method is to take a screwdriver and insert the tip between the bulb base and the socket. Attempt to bend the bulb base inward so it bends the bulb and not the base, then grab your pliers and use that bent area to grasp onto and start the unscrewing process.
Of course, if you feel that you are out of your league, don't be afraid to call a professional. It isn't worth getting electrocuted or falling off a tall ladder just to change a light bulb.