Remove Broken Light Bulbs Without Getting Cut or Shocked Using a Water Bottle





Introduction: Remove Broken Light Bulbs Without Getting Cut or Shocked Using a Water Bottle

About: I would love to find a job where I could play with fabrication tools all day and be creative. Anyone have a suggestion?

I made this instructable for the "SAVE THE BOTTLE" contest. I know there are other ways of getting this piece out but I wanted find a good use for a water bottle. The risk of getting shocked is pretty much non existant with a water bottle when compared to a potato or pliers.

Remove Broken Light Bulbs Without Getting Cut or Shocked With A Water Bottle.

Have you ever tried to remove a light bulb and had it break in your hand. DON'T try to get the metal piece out with your hands or pliers. You could get shocked or cut! Here's an instructable on how to use an ordinary water bottle to extract that piece.

Step 1: Remove Label, Lid and Collar

First, TURN THE LIGHT SWITCH OFF. Now, if it's a lamp with a cord and plug then, UNPLUG THE LIGHT. Then, double check the light switch is off. Then double check that it's unplugged. If you've ever been shocked you'll know why I repeated those steps. LEARN from my mistakes here people! Haha The devise we're making is plastic so you're not likely to be shocked even if the power is on but it's better to be safe than sorry.

Now, take an empty water bottle. The heftier ones are better for this application. Remove the cap, the label and the little ring around the neck that breaks when you take the lid off.

Step 2: Melt the Bottle Neck

Now, heat the threaded part over the stove or a lighter until it gets soft. Then shape it with your hands until it looks like this. DON'T touch the hot plastic too long. Just short spurts like the video. You can dip it in water to cool it down or let it air dry.

Step 3: Remove the Broken Light Bulb


... when you push and twist so you don't get glass on you. If you've ever had glass lodged under your skin or in your eye you'll know why I repeated that four times. Again, learn from my mistakes here.

Congratulations, now you've removed the entire bulb without getting cut or electrocuted.

PS if you put a tiny bit of petroleum jelly on the threads of the new bulb it will be easier to take out when it burns out next time.

3 People Made This Project!


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Please be positive and constructive.




Easy solution, use a big carrot, always works

Yikes. Melting plastics is hazardous--both because of the fumes and the possibility of burning yourself. Making that a key part of this fix is unwise.

So is failing to instruct people to TURN OFF THE POWER to hardwired fixtures. Yes, it's a PITA, but it's the only way you know you're safe. Read HowtoDan's post for why.

Family Handyman recommends against putting petroleum jelly on bulb threads. They recommend Bulb EZ.

The recommendations on goggles is excellent, something people might forget. So are thick gloves and no unprotected skin on the wrists and forearms.

Myself, I'll be trying a sponge rubber, the kind used to remove soot, first, then needle-nose pliers on my exterior floodlight. WITH THE POWER OFF, of course.

Just so you know

When you turn off a light switch. You do not shut off the power to the light. You break the circuit between power and ground (actually neutral but let's keep things simple). The danger is, even if you shut off the light switch, while you are playing with the broken light bulb you might become the ground for the circuit. The power is still going to the light but the circuit is not complete until either the switch is moved or you and your potato become a ground and both get cooked.

Play safe, turn off the breaker at the panel.

Ok before I read this, I got the broken bulb out but couldnt turn the base thread to b get socket out. Used pliers and now base is mangled and broken. How do I now get it out? Im stuck because it wont move and its all chewed up. Help!! Help!!

I've always just turned off the main power at my circuit breaker box
and then used needle nose pliers to loosen and remove the bulb base
although I would assume just turning off the switch would suffice. Isn't
that what a light wall switch does? Turns power to the socket on and

This worked like a charm. I turned off the power in that room via the circuit breakers first just to be safe. The bottle opening was a tad bit too big but I was able to angle it and unscrew it with no problem. Thank you! You probably saved me about $200 in electrician fees!

disconnect the lamp and use gloves, but nice instructable, anyways

Well we just got mine out using eletric proof pliers. Probably saved about an hour not doing this. xD

A pair of pliers as an alternative... o_0

Why not simply turn it off and use pliers? To my knowledge, there's a very simple circuit employed in such things..Plug, resistor, transformer, and an electrolytic cap; no? The only thing that could cause a problem is the cap, but unless you bridge the contacts, I don't see the danger.

10 replies

Ever been shocked guitarman? Maybe I'm alone with this opinion but I don't like it. For ME it's not worth the risk, I would rather be safe than sorry. So, I try my best to use only insulated tools around electricity. I figure, if professional electricians have specially tools made of plastic, polymer or fully insulated and they are professionals who should never forget to turn something off, the average Joe me should probably be as cautious as possible. Humm, Resistor, Transformer, Capacitor (you forgot inductor, transistor and rectifier)... There are none of those components in any standard light fixtures I've ever seen. Maybe in Bill Gates' house!

Actually as an Instructable it is clear concise and well written...Your language is clear, your wording is well written AND all your adjectives and adverbs are in the right places.Your pictures are crisp and clear it is very educational....I'm sorry I whizzed in your cheerios.. Though; by so doing YOU have opened a line of thought about Mercury in the environment...THE less the better....and LED lighting...THAT is a very good subject ! YOU did that! The whole idea is commendable...You Also stressed safety factors..On the whole it is good! And so many comments are just as well written..Thank You! Ace'sNanna

No worries Ace's Nanna. Thanks for the comments. Any stimulating conversation is worth having. Oh, don't get me started on proper grammar. This country’s grammar is spiraling down into a black abyss of illiteracy. I blame text messaging and interpretive text for the recent sonic speed at which it’s traveling. Haha that reminds me. My wife is a great pianist but is too busy to play much lately. She said she sat down to play after a few weeks of procrastinating and could tell she had the mentality while reading and playing that “if I just get close it will come out okay” and she knew this mentality was from interpretive iPhone typing. What’s next? Maybe I should invent a piano that recognizes what song you’re playing or can tell if the note you hit won’t sound good and hit the right note instead. Hahaha … The iPiano!

I enjoyed the instructable too. Also have to agree with you about state of grammar today. What really gripes me is when it appears in the newspaper. I think " c'mon, people you are getting paid for this".

Isn't it shocking to think who will be Picking our NURSING HOMES!!! Son who is in his thirties winks at me occasionally as a reminder, and chuckles! Now the good news....One of the boys I despaired for is one of the BEST sales men I ever met....and he is a very good parent! There are "good parts" to getting old too....Some of those "good parts" are seeing the "seeds you planted, grow and flower!" I see so many young people I fed, laughed with , and occasionally had as" long term" house guests. Some thought they were "Throw away" kids..... I've always been good at recycling!!! Some of the GEMS I have found, just Laying around!!!! Probably that is why I like these pages so well... There is so very much talent here and all of you are willing to share it with us for free!!

It must be wonderful seeing your seeds grow and your uncut gems sparkle. Couldn't agree more about instructables. They've got a great think tank opperation going on here. Thanks You EVERYONE involved.

Thank you for your forgiving nature! When my children were applying for entrance to different colleges we each proof read their "product".....I was shocked to see their spelling.....then realized it's genetic...I couldn't live without spell check! Before that it was FRANKLIN.... I think you are quite right about the written word suffering from disuse!! What president wanted our schools to teach "Ebonics?" Two hundred years people have been working to crawl UP! What a travesty that would have been! Perhaps it wouldn't hurt for us to go back a hundred years for education standards. I know many people who have graduated this local "A rated" school. People who graduated without the abilities to read or to express them selves in basic English! America needs to do something! Washington State had a Wasel exam. The children had to pass these basic questions before graduating! They were administering the test in Senior year. The basic test was great. It should have been administered in sixth grade. Everything including your local paper is written at a sixth grade level! Instead of using it earlier to see what their needs are, they discontinued the test because to many kids were failing ! If they couldn't pass it in sixth grade; they could USE the help in the things they were missing, so they would truly be educated when they graduated! Then there is the aspect of Each child fitting into some mold, cookie cutter kids! Shhhhhhhh just pass me the ADHD Pill! Aces'Nanna

Oh, I think that was president Jessey Jackson ... President number 42 1/2

Haha, Ace's you're killing me! Hahaha. You're the best! True, I don't know what I would do without spell check either. At least I try to learn from it and not just use it as a crutch. When I check spelling and it doesn't find any mistakes I feel like the teacher just gave me a big gold star sticker on my homework. :) My wife taught ESL (English as a Second Language) for a few years and they wanted her to teach such words as: Kinda, Gimme and Wanna! That's one hell of a story about the exam. I guess it goes to show that not all decisions are based on what's morally best. In fact I would venture to gess that most aren't these days. They were probably losing funds with less graduates. Aggg ... what is this world coming to? Oh, and the cookie cutter kids and drug resolutions ... don't even get me started. The youth of our nation is doomed. The worst part is, when I'm ready to retire, they'll be running the place. Can you imagine? Eeek.

Sorry if I came off a bit hostile. I have been shocked through my own carelessness, though it was only several amps. True, better safe than sorry. I'm referring to the components in a lamp adapter's casing....last time I opened one up, that's what I saw.