Removing a Stuck Recessed Light Bulb?

I have a recessed spotlight in my kitchen ceiling that seems to be corroded because I can't twist it out. I have no way of doing the tape wrap trick either as it is too recessed to work around. Any suggestions as how to remove without shattering the light bulb?



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July 5, 20132 found this helpful
Best Answer

Break out the light bulb glass cut a potato in half and push it firmly onto the light bulb and it should come out with no bother

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June 30, 20180 found this helpful

Genius tip...had the broken bulb out in 2 seconds. Delighted, thanks for sharing.

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July 16, 20200 found this helpful

Here is my solution for removing a stuck recessed light bulb. Make a loop with duct tape or gorilla tape, place one side of loop on bulb, run finger thru loop or grip it and twist.


It worked great. No fuss no mess.

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May 9, 20147 found this helpful
Best Answer

My ceiling light in the kitchen also was stuck when it burnt out. No way to get my fingers around the bulb because the bulb was so far recessed. I put a piece of clear packing tape (duct tape would have worked too but I was too lazy to go to the garage and packing tape was in my desk) on it with pieces hanging down on both sides, grabbed the two pieces and pulled in opposite directions. The bulb turned as if it had been greased and came right out.

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October 6, 20170 found this helpful

This was an awesome tip! Didn't think it was going to work but it did right away. Thank you!

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November 23, 20170 found this helpful

Just tried this with the clear packing tape. The bulb unscrewed easily.

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January 1, 20190 found this helpful

This was truly amazing. Came out SO EASY. Thank you.

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February 6, 20190 found this helpful

Awesome tip. So easy to get bilb out.

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February 17, 20190 found this helpful

Amazing! The tape trick worked on the 1st try even though it seemed like the tape had barely caught given how recessed the fixture was. Thank you so much for posting and thanks to all the people who shared their success. :-)

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July 14, 20190 found this helpful

I used duct tape. Used two strips about 4 long. Slid up edge in space between bulb and cover plate. Able to turn out due to extra grip area.

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July 22, 20190 found this helpful

This works! I just tried it with duct tape one in the left and one piece on the right side and it worked like a charm!

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January 19, 20210 found this helpful

I didn't really expect this to work, but it was out in just a couple of seconds! Thank you!

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July 5, 20130 found this helpful

1. Make sure the switch is OFF
2. Try squirting WD40 or some other lubricant around the
base of the bulb and wait a few luck?


3. Be very careful. Use eye protectors. Wear gloves.
Hold bulb and gently tap with a hard object to break it.
Once broken clear glass so metal base rim is exposed.
Using needle nose pliers grip the rim and gently wiggle
while using a rotating motion in the direction you
would use to unscrew the bulb naturally. The rim may
start to bend...I've had them a bent mess but no
matter. Presevere until it is removed. Another
squirt of WD40 may help this process.
4. When replacing the bulb smear the base of the new
bulb with vasolene so this won't happen again...

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July 5, 20190 found this helpful

Just did it - great idea!

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May 7, 20160 found this helpful

I had the same problem, get the tape up the sides using a butter knife, etc. The tape is the only thing that works. I was able to grip the vise grip pliers on the bulb once I had the edges taped.


I broke the bulb out of the base and removed the base with needle nose pliers. ( with the power off of course ). Then lubricate jemust the threads in the new bulb so it won't be a problem next time. PS Potatoes are goid to eat later to relieve the stress. Not to remove a "stuck" bulb.

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May 17, 20160 found this helpful

Ihad the same problem with a bulb ina recessed light fixture. We have to use a ladder to reach this fixture - the bulbs do not get changed very often. Hence we were going to change all 3 bulbs. Two wouldn't come out. We read the idea of a suction cup to give turning power. A suction cup was found ( it was on the end of a hook that I put on my oven door to hold a towel ) IT WORKED PERFECTLY.

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February 24, 20170 found this helpful

I easily removed the recessed casing, unscrewed bulb from ceiling, came down and unscrewed bulb from casing by grasping base.

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May 22, 20180 found this helpful

I had a stuck, burned out can light as well. I tried using a suction cup, which did not work. I then turned to this site looking for answers. I tried the duct tape method with no luck. After looking at the fixture for two minutes, I decided to take the trim off of the can, then I could simply unscrew the stubborn bulb.


I put a new bulb in, put back the trim, and its as good as new!

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May 2, 20191 found this helpful

The recess can has two parts, the bezel and the socket. The bulb becomes stuck when the bezel touches the bulb and melts the plastic bezel gluing them together. Fortunately, the bezel & socket can be lowered away from the ceiling. This exposes the 2 spring clips which can be squeezed together to lower them fully. Then, the bezel can be rocked up and down about the two rivets that hold the bezel to to socket, breaking the melted plastic bond to the light bulb. Then the bulb can be unscrewed. Reverse the process to install the next bulb. Switch to LED BR30 bulb and you'll never have this problem again, LED bulbs do not get hot enough to melt plastic, whereas 65W or higher incandescent bulbs may melt and bond.

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