How to Remove a Stuck Light Bulb – 2023 Guide

How to Remove a Stuck Light Bulb

A light bulb is one of the most used items in every household. However, there are times when changing a worn-out or broken bulb can be quite cumbersome.

A common problem is when you change a bulb and it starts to turn but won’t come loose so you have to hold the bulb with pliers while trying to unscrew it using another set of pliers.

Some people resort to hitting the base of the lamp with their hands or knee. Well, here’s how to remove that stuck light bulb without having all those aches and pains.

Methods of Removing a Stuck Bulb


When removing a stubborn lightbulb, first try turning counterclockwise. If this doesn’t work, stop turning and instead push down slightly on the metal tab/fingers and turn clockwise.

Do not use a great amount of force as this may break the bulb and/or lampshade. Also, there is no need to remove the entire light fixture from the ceiling. That’s an enormous waste of time and energy.

Use Rubber

For those that want some added support or assurance on whether they’re turning correctly or not, you can purchase a rubber-grip handle for $4 – $7 at any hardware store. There are many different styles and sizes so be sure to get one that will fit your hand properly (no pun intended).

You can also make one by simply sticking a layer of thick rubber (old tire, bicycle tube, etc.) over the area where you grip around the traditional metal handle; however, this method is not advised, especially when removing hot lightbulbs. Doing so may give you second-degree burns due to the heat of the bulb itself.


Now for those who are looking for an even more convenient way of removing stubborn lightbulbs…try using a cordless drill! First, attach the appropriate sized bit to your drill then insert it into one of the slots on the headlight rim (or whichever part of the fixture that slides off).

Push down slightly on the handle while turning counterclockwise until it starts to loosen, then keep going until it comes loose.

If you have trouble getting the bit inside one of its slots, simply wrap a rag around your fingers/hand and push it in with your hand. This will give you maximum hold and control (not to mention added protection).


Yes, a potato. All you have to do is stick the raw end of the potato into the hole where the light bulb goes in and turn counterclockwise. The starch from it will help lubricate and loosen up stuck parts so that they come loose easily. Careful though, don’t use too much and get ready for your eyes to be stuffed up from the dust particles flying all over.


This method is not for the weak at heart and should only be used when all else fails. Prepare yourself with a face mask and protective eyewear because this could get messy. First, heat up some glue (any type) and pour it in through one of the slots on the headlight rim.

Quickly cover the area where the light bulb goes in with more glue and stick metal washers or nuts on top of it.

Make sure to spread the glue evenly, otherwise, you might end up with a plastic-y looking mess. Press down on the cover really hard while using your hands to twist counterclockwise until it finally comes loose.

Read also: Best Lighting for Barber Shop

Water Bottle

Cut the top and bottom of a water bottle off and stretch it over the area where the light bulb goes in. It should be long enough to cover all but 2 inches of the rim (it doesn’t matter if it’s upside down or not). Then, simply turn counterclockwise until it starts to loosen up. Once it’s almost all the way off, go ahead and pull it off using your dominant hand while using the other for support.

Duct Tape

The last resort. First, make sure the light is off and wrap duct tape around two fingers/knuckles (depending on how big your hand is) until there’s no more room for the tape to be wrapped.

The amount you use will depend on the size of your hand; however, it needs to be big enough to cover your fingers and palm, with maybe an extra inch or two.

Next, stick your weak hand in the area where the light bulb goes in and use it to hold onto both ends of the duct tape (not too tight though). Then go ahead and turn counterclockwise until it loosens up.

Again, these methods will only work for those who have a rubber-grip handle, cordless drill, or duct tape. For everyone else, you can try using your hand with nothing but hope and faith that it will work; otherwise, you’ll need an actual screwdriver of some sort.

Broken Bulb Removing Process

Understanding the process is key to understanding how to fix a stuck lightbulb. There are four main steps to the broken change process.

  1. Safety is the first: Be safe as you’re dealing with electricity which can be super dangerous.
  2. If you’re not careful, you could injure yourself self. Protective gear is essential.
  3. Wear work gloves: Make sure nobody is in the vicinity that could get hurt.
  4. To catch any broken glass that might fall, place a blanket or bag over the stream.
  5. Always unscrew counterclockwise.
  6. Be careful when you’re pulling the bulb out. Ensure that the bulb filament is not broken during this step.

Reminder: When removing a broken lightbulb, make sure the lamp is unplugged. If it’s still hot after changing the bulb, let it cool for at least one hour before touching the glass frame with your bare hands.

Tighten the new lightbulb by hand

Use your hand to tighten it until you feel it’s tight enough, but do not overtighten. Also, remember never to use a screwdriver in the fixtures as that could prove fatal!

Employing these steps can help save money and injury if followed correctly.