The Vegetable You'll Want To Reach For When Dealing With A Broken Lightbulb

Lightbulb jokes are funny until you become part of the punch line. Or, until the lightbulb breaks and what was a quick and easy task turns into something far from a laughing matter. So, how many homeowners does it take to change a busted lightbulb? The answer is one — if she is wielding a raw spud. No joke. The vegetable you'll want to reach for when dealing with a broken lightbulb is the ever popular potato.

Baked, fried, mashed, or churned into ice cream, your kitchen has likely seen potatoes in nearly every conceivable capacity. However, the king of vegetables is more effective as a household tool when it's in its purest form. While no one is suggesting you keep a raw tater in your tool belt at all times, you may be surprised by how handy a single spud can be when you're faced with extracting a shattered lightbulb from its fixture. Put away the pliers; as counterintuitive as it may seem, removing a broken lightbulb doesn't require a hard metal tool and brute force. Instead, the firm yet yielding texture of a potato, coupled with slight pressure from your hand, is all that's needed to execute a safe extraction.

Additionally, nearly any potato will do the trick, though Russet, white, and yellow are the most commonly used potato varieties. Focus more on size. Since you will be cutting the potato in half, the spud needs to be larger than the broken lightbulb in order to remove it in its entirety.

How to remove a broken lightbulb with a potato

To start, turn off the power to the light to avoid electrocution. In addition, because you're working with broken glass, it's wise to use eye protection and gloves. Next, take the unpeeled potato you've cut in half and dry off as much of the moisture from the skin and flesh as possible. Remember, the potato will be acting as a handle, so you don't want it to be slippery.

Get a good grip on the spud before gently pushing the cut side as far as it will go into what remains of the lightbulb. Resist the urge to smash the spud into the base as this can inadvertently damage the socket. Once the potato is firmly centered on the base, slowly turn it counterclockwise until it is fully released. As soon as the broken bulb is completely out of the socket, place it and the potato into a plastic grocery bag and toss it into the trash. Next, use a clean dry cloth to thoroughly dry any parts of the light fixture that may have gotten wet from potato juices.

If your initial effort fails, remove the potato. If any glass shards remain affixed to the base, detach them with your gloved hands. Then use a knife to cut the other half of the potato into a cylinder so it sits tightly into the socket, press it into the base, and twist counterclockwise until it releases.