Expert Answers: Removing a Stuck Bulb

Need to remove a stubborn light bulb from a socket? HANDY has the answer.

Q: How do I remove an appliance light bulb that was not screwed in correctly? It is stuck in the socket and won't turn in either direction, and I am afraid of breaking the glass. - Kathy Wilhite, via Facebook

A: This question was recently posted on HANDY's Facebook page. Because this is a common problem, we decided to cover the subject in the magazine as well, adding a few pointers for removing really stubborn bulbs.

First, turn off the power or unplug the appliance. If gentle wiggling and twisting doesn't free the bulb, prepare for it to break. Put on safety goggles. To get a better grip and to protect your hands, wear a pair of heavy-duty gloves. Slip a paper bag over the bulb; then firmly grasp the bulb and twist it to the left. You may need to intentionally break the glass, capturing the shards in the bag. Then use needle-nose pliers to carefully bend the bulb base away from the socket. Grasp the base with the pliers and twist.

Some people recommend using a raw potato to remove a broken bulb's base. Simply cut a potato in half and press it into the bulb base; then twist. The potato provides a good grip while protecting your hand from injury. Be sure to completely dry the socket before turning the power back on or plugging in the appliance. - HANDY