How To Remove Ceiling Light Cover

A lot of the lights that you see in home and office areas usually come with a cover. A light cover has multiple purposes. 

The main purpose of a light cover is to protect the light. Having a cover secured to the light means that dust, moisture, bugs and other damaging objects cannot come in contact with the light. 

Also if for some reason the light becomes loose or experiences a short circuit, the cover also protects the surroundings of the light from getting electrocuted. 

How To Remove Ceiling Light Cover
How To Remove Ceiling Light Cover

Aside from this, covers are also used for aesthetic purposes. Covers of different designs and patterns add to the decorative elements of the surrounding area.

However as lights go through the usual wear and tear and near the end of their lifespan, they eventually stop working. And to replace them, you need to know how to replace ceiling light covers.

This article will look at the primary types of light covers that are commonly seen and go over how to remove ceiling light cover.

How To Remove 3 Kinds of Ceiling Light Covers (Screw, No Screw, With Clips) 

With Screw: 

Ceiling light covers with a screw on mechanism is one of the more commonly seen covers out there. This is because this is probably the easiest of the covers to install and remove.

There are a few types of screw on light covers. 

The most popular ones usually have one single screw that goes up the middle of the fixture. It’s a large screw which you can remove or screw in with your hand very easily.

Screw on fixtures with multiple screws usually have 3 to 5 small screws placed throughout the edge of the cover. As these screws are smaller, you do need a screwdriver to take these off. 

Without Screw:

When looking at how to remove ceiling light no screw, you’ll usually come across twist on or off light covers. These covers are simple to use and don’t require any additional tools to remove.

Removing No Screw Ceiling Light Cover
Removing No Screw Ceiling Light Cover

All you need to do to remove these covers is to push on the light cover and slowly twist it until it comes loose. For putting it back, simply push the cover against the fixture and twist it in the opposite direction.

If not properly secured, these covers can fall off and break. So it’s important to ensure that the cover is secure. 

With Clips: 

Another common light cover style is one which is secured with clips. These clips are usually placed around the perimeter of the fixture. If you’re wondering how to remove ceiling light with clips, simply open or loosen the clips until the cover comes loose. 

For putting the cover back, just place it in the original location and put the clips back to the secured position. 

For clip on covers, there are actually a few different kinds of clips. However, the working principle for most of these clips is the same. 

Methods for Different Fixtures

Aside from the traditional light covers, there are some other types of covers that can also be found. If you have one of these kinds of covers and you want to know how to remove ceiling light cover, the following info might help you.

Notch or Groove Mechanism

The notch or groove mechanism works in a very unique way. For this cover, the light fixture comes with a groove or notch that goes around the fixture. There is an extension around the cover which fits very snugly in that groove.

To get the cover off, simply use something with a flat edge like a flathead screwdriver to get through the edge of the cover and pry the cover off. To put the cover back on, simply place the cover correctly and push until you hear a clicking sound. 


These are another type of ceiling light covers that have a very simple working principle. The cover is attached to the fixture through a spring mechanism.

Spring-Loaded Ceiling Light Cover
Spring-Loaded Ceiling Light Cover

To put the cover on, simply push on it and release. To put it back on, push the cover on to the fixture until it feels like the cover is stuck. 

Threaded Retainer

Although threaded retainers are extremely common for plumbing, construction and other technical uses, it is not common to see this mechanism used for securing light covers. 

Threaded retainers are commonly seen with table lamps, as the retainer is used to secure the lampshade to the main body of the lamp. 

Simply twist on the top end of the retainer until you feel the lampshade coming loose. Then hold the lampshade so it doesn’t fall off and carefully remove it. 

Slotted Connectors

Ceiling light covers with slotted connectors have the same working mechanism as clips. The connection points should have a certain marked location where you can push or pinch to make the connection loose.

For putting the covers back on, simply push the cover against the fixture until you hear all the slots click. 

Flush Mount

If you’re looking at how to remove ceiling light cover and your house contains modern lighting appliances, you may come across a flush mount. 

Flush mounts are becoming more popular these days. For these lights, the entire lighting fixture sits flush with the level of the ceiling, meaning that the light is actually embedded inside the ceiling. 

Flush Mount Light Fixtures
Flush Mount Light Fixtures

The actual light cover is the only part of the fixture that extends out. Flush mounts usually have screw or twist mechanisms, however occasionally you’ll find one that has a switch which can be pressed to make the cover come loose. 

How To Remove Ceiling Light Cover With Screw

1. Switch the Light Off

To get started on how to remove ceiling light with a screw, the first step is to turn the light off. This is to make sure you’re completely safe in case there is a short circuit or conductivity at the fixture.

Make sure you have another light pointed at the area for visual clarity. 

2. Get Close to the Fixture 

If the fixture is high up in the ceiling, get close to it. We recommend using a ladder, however if you don’t have access to one just use a chair or a stool that is sturdy. 

It always helps to have someone else hold what you’re standing on maximum sturdiness.

3. Clean the Fixture and Cover

Once you’re up there, the first thing to do is properly clean the cover. Over time, these covers will gather dusts and other kinds of dirt.

If you don’t clean the cover, the dirt may cause the cover to slip and fall from your hands. 

Wipe the loose dust off using a dry towel or washcloth.

4. Hold the Cover with One Hand

Once you’ve located the screw, hold the cover up against the ceiling with your non dominant hand. Make sure your hand won’t slip.

5. Unscrew with the Other Hand

Using your dominant hand, slowly start twisting the screw in counterclockwise direction until it comes off. 

If the screw is wound too tightly, you may have to use a wrench or pliers to twist it loose.

6. Unscrew the Washer (If Any)

Some screw light covers have a washer above the screw for additional protection. If your cover does have one, carefully remove that as well. Do not remove your other hand from the cover.

7. Remove the Cover

Now carefully detach the cover and bring it down with both your hands. It helps to hand the cover off to someone before coming down. If it’s just you, be very careful when climbing down while holding the cover.

How To Remove Ceiling Light Cover No Screw

1. Switch the Light Off

As said earlier, turn the light off before proceeding.

2. Get Close to the Fixture

Use a ladder, chair or stool to get close to the light fixture.

3. Clean the Fixture and Cover

Just like we said for the screw cover, make sure to wipe any loose dirt off the cover using a towel or washcloth.

4. Hold the Light Firmly and Twist

Once you’ve gotten yourself close to the lighting fixture and cleaned it, carefully hold the cover with both of your hands. 

Now you’re going to gently twist the cover in a counterclockwise motion until you feel the cover coming loose. Keep twisting and eventually the cover will come completely loose.

If the cover is wound too tightly, hold the cover using a piece of cloth so you can apply even more pressure. If that too doesn’t work, use a lubricating agent like WD40 and spray it along the grooves to loosen up the grime.

5. Remove the Cover

Carefully remove the cover and place it down in a secure spot. 

How To Remove Ceiling Light Cover With Clips 

1. Switch the Light Off

Just like the previously mentioned procedures, at first you need to turn the light off. 

2. Get Close to the Fixture

Use a ladder or a stool to get close to the fixture. Make sure whatever you’re standing on isn’t wobbly. 

3. Clean the Fixture and Cover

Use a dry piece of cloth to properly wipe the dust off from the cover. Be careful so that the dust doesn’t fall into your eyes. Wear eye protection if possible. 

4. Locate the Clips

There should be multiple clips around the perimeter of the fixture that secure the cover down. Locate these clips. 

When learning how to remove ceiling light cover, know that in some lights only one of the clips come loose. In the others, all the clips come loose. 

So it’s important that you figure out exactly what type of clips you have. 

5. Hold the Cover with One Hand

Using your non-dominant hand, firmly hold the cover against the ceiling so that its in place even after you loosen the clips. 

6. Loosen the Clip or Clips with the Other Hand

Now that the clip or clips are ready to be loosened, use your dominant hand to open up the clips to the point where the cover can come off.

7. Remove the Cover

Once the clips have been opened or loosened, shimmy the cover until it comes loose. Place it down in a secure location. 

Some Tools You Can Use to Remove Ceiling Light Cover

Sometimes if the cover hasn’t been opened in a very long time, dust and grime cause it to get stuck to the fixture. There are a few ways you can remove the ceiling light cover if the traditional ways do not work.

1. Flathead Screwdriver

The flat end of a flathead screwdriver can be wedged in between the cover and the fixture to pry open the cover. 

Carefully place the screwdriver across the narrow opening between the cover and the fixture. Slowly shimmy the screwdriver until part of the screwdriver has entered the groove. Now very slowly start prying the cover until you feel it coming loose. 

Make sure to pry gently, otherwise 

2. Utility Knife

Utility knives are very sharp and strong, which makes it a great tool for prying without having the risk of the blade being bent or damaged. 

Carefully place the edge of the knife along the edge where the cover and the fixture meets. Slowly push the knife in and start praying. 

Be very careful as these knives are extremely sharp. Point the edge of the knife away from you so that you don’t hurt yourself if the knife slips. 

3. Pry Bar

Pry bars are functionally designed for prying open jammed junctions or connections. However, pry bars are designed for heavy duty uses such as opening doors and windows, so you need to be very careful so that you don’t damage the fixture or the cover. 

4. WD40

WD40 is a lubricant spray that can dissolve and loosen gunk and other forms of dirt. Carefully spray it across the gap and wait for a few minutes for it to make an effect. Then try to remove the cover again.

5. Plastic Card

If you don’t have any suitable tools lying around, you can try using a plastic card to pry open the cover. Simply shimmy the card in the groove and slowly work your way around the cover so that it comes loose. 

6. Spudger

Spudgers are tools that are especially designed to get in narrow corners to leverage jammed connections open. These tools have a pointy end which can be inserted into grooves for prying.

7. Rubber Mallet 

If prying open the cover doesn’t work, use a rubber mallet and gently tap on the cover until the dirt and gunk is dislodged. Make sure to tap gently so that the cover isn’t damaged in the process. 

Frequently Asked Question

u003cstrongu003eHow to Unscrew A Light Cover?u003c/strongu003e

If you have a screw light cover and you’re wondering how to remove ceiling light cover, all you need to do is carefully remove the screw and the washer that comes with the screw.u003cbru003eOnce you’ve gotten close to the cover, clean it and hold it firmly with one hand and remove the screw with the other hand.u003cbru003e

u003cstrongu003eHow to Open A Dome Ceiling Light?u003c/strongu003e

Dome ceiling lights are essentially convex light covers that protrude outwards for added brightness of the light. Dome ceiling lights are mostly used for aesthetic and decorative purposes.u003cbru003eWhen it comes to removing these domes, the process is the same as any other covers. Dome lights can have screws, twists or even clips. Identify exactly what kind of cover it is, then use our guide on how to remove ceiling light cover to remove it.u003cbru003e

u003cstrongu003eHow to Replace A Flush Mount Ceiling Light?u003c/strongu003e

For flush mount light fixtures, the entire lighting fixture sits flush with the level of the ceiling, meaning that the light is actually embedded inside the ceiling. u003cbru003eThe actual light cover is the only part of the fixture that extends out. Most of the flush mount covers have a mechanism that is very easy to open. u003cbru003eIf you can’t open the cover by twisting it counterclockwise, simply run your fingers around the fixture to find a switch or a clip that should make the cover come loose when you press on it.

Final Words

That’s all we have for our guide on how to remove ceiling light covers. We’ve talked about what kind of covers can be commonly seen around you. Most importantly, we’ve provided you with a guideline on how to remove these covers.

Obviously for light covers, it is extremely important that you’re as safe as possible when removing them. Turn the lights off, wear protective glasses and gloves, make sure to handle the glass cover very carefully to not damage it. 

If you need to use a tool to pry open the cover, be very careful while using it. If you’re using a sharp tool like a utility knife, point it away from you.

For questions and any other lighting related queries, feel free to check out our website.

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