How to Keep Light Bulbs From Sticking in Sockets

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Things You'll Need

  • Tube of dielectric grease

  • New lightbulb

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Nothing is more frustrating than when you go to change a lightbulb and the old one seems to be stuck in the socket. You twist and turn, even to the point of breaking the bulb, but it still doesn't move. This tends to happen more with lightbulbs that are exposed to a lot of moisture or are out in the elements. Fidgeting around with a stuck lightbulb can be dangerous, but there is a simple and inexpensive way of preventing it from happening again.


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Step 1

Purchase a tube of dielectric grease, which can easily be found in hardware, automotive, or electrical supply stores. While the most common usage for dielectric grease is in solving connection problems with automotive components, it protects against moisture and corrosion, which are two main issues that make lightbulbs stick in sockets.


Step 2

Wipe the new lightbulb threads clean with a microfiber cloth. This will clear any dust or debris that is currently on the threads.

Step 3

Put a tiny dab of dielectric grease on your fingertip, and coat the threads of the new bulb with it. You don't want so much grease on the threads that it appears gunky, but you need just enough to coat the threads.

Step 4

Insert the bulb into the light socket. Wash your hands thoroughly; even though dielectric grease is not usually an irritant to skin, it can be a strong irritant to eyes.


To prevent lightbulbs that are already in place from sticking, simply remove them from the socket, coat with a small amount of grease, and reinsert.


Even if the light switch is off, never try to pry a stuck lightbulb out of a fixture without shutting off the breaker switch that powers that particular light fixture. If you are working on a lamp, completely unplug the lamp when removing a stuck bulb.