Removing and Disposing of Broken Lightbulbs

When a lightbulb breaks, it can be difficult to get it out of the fixture without causing more damage. Safety glasses and gloves should be worn when removing a broken lightbulb to ensure broken glass doesn’t get on the skin or in the eyes.

Depending on where the lightbulb is, a cloth or other material should be put underneath it to catch any debris that may fall. The power to the fixture should be turned off, either on the panel, or unplugged from an outlet.

The easiest way to remove a broken lightbulb is with a pair of needle nose pliers. Use them to grip the base of the lightbulb, and twist until the lightbulb is completely unscrewed from the fixture. Disposing of the bulb depends on what type of lightbulbs it is.

Incandescent Lightbulb

If the lightbulb is an incandescent lightbulb, it can simply be vacuumed up, or thrown in the trash, depending on the size of the shards of glass. This type of lightbulb doesn’t contain mercury, making it easier to clean up.

Compact Fluorescent Lightbulb

If the lightbulb is a CFL, the process is much more detailed. Tape should be used to pick up the smaller pieces of broken glass and powder. Then place all of it into a sealable container for proper disposal. Boise has a specific program designed to help residents dispose of household hazardous waste called Curb It.

Light Emitting Diode Lightbulb

LED lightbulbs have been found to contain lead and arsenic, these should therefore be cleaned up similar to a CFL. They also should be disposed of as a hazardous waste product.

Halogen Lightbulb

If the lightbulb is a halogen bulb, the main concern is a potential fire if the bulb was turn on at the time it broke. These get very hot when in use and could cause a fire if they break. Once the pieces have cooled, they can be disposed of in the garbage, and do not need to be treated as hazardous waste.

Be careful and thorough when cleaning up broken lightbulbs. Following the steps above can help limit exposure of hazardous materials to the environment and the person dealing with the broken bulb. Eco Electric will properly dispose of CFL and fluorescent lights for Boise area residents as well as take care of their lighting and electrical needs.

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