How and why you should lube your light bulbs.

If you’ve ever screwed a light bulb into a socket and heard a grinding noise, you know the sinking feeling that comes with it. Has the glass part of the bulb separated from the metal part? Will the bulb come out of the socket if I try to unscrew it?

To combat this sticky situation and forestall distress, lube the threads of your light bulb with a bit of petroleum jelly; that’s Vaseline to you and me. Just a dab on the tip of your finger will do.


But what if you have a stuck bulb already in the socket?! If you find yourself in this situation, your bulb has probably already come apart: The glass bulb part is in your hand and the metal thread part is stuck in your socket. Here’s a trick that works pretty well. Turn the power off to or unplug the fixture. Get yourself a raw potato. Shove the spud firmly into the socket–no joke–and twist. The potato embeds in the threads and will free the stuck part. But really, who wants to get themselves into this situation? Lube your bulbs from now on, and you won’t need to fuss with the spud.

"Light bulb" courtesy of yotophoto.

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Mike on Jan 21, 2014:

I began doing this several years ago on a fussy recessed bulb.

Yesterday I attempted to change the bulb again - Stuck tight!

When I finally got it out I noticed the base of the bulb was gooey with a thick sticky film full of grit, when I looked at it closely the dark brown areas were corrosion, only in the spots the vaseline had been on. It was not a thick coat of vaseline either. This time (and in the future) I am using "Bulb Grease" sold at autoparts stores. I won't be using Vaseline anymore.

Roger on Jan 29, 2013:

Hey, I've used that product "Electralube" also, and it was too easy.  I'm saving my potatoes for twice baked.

Anonymous on Jan 29, 2013:

I like using the product "Electralube" because I don't have to put what ever on my finger.

Anonymous on Jan 17, 2013:

The product in "Electralube" is non flammable and is designed for electrical relays. Easy to use.

Steve on Aug 18, 2012:

I don't know, you're applying flammable petroleum jelly to a surface that is going to heat up and is right next to the electricity.  Does not seem safe.

jasimar on May 10, 2007:

ugh, we have a broken lightbulb in our attic crawlspace... what a drag!  going to use this idea from now on.  Thanks DIYMaven!

baconthecat on May 03, 2007:

Lubing the lightbulb... Lube your lightbulb... I have to figure out a way to work that into my daily conversation. Seriously though, thanks for this tip! I will let my hubby know. ;)

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