How To Identify Neutral Wire On Lamp Cord? Find it at a glance

While dealing with electrical elements, precautions must be taken. You must know what you are dealing with and what it can do to you if anything goes out of hand. When you are dealing with wires on your lamp cord, you will see there are two or three different wires with two or three different functions. If any of the wires get to the wrong terminal, the whole lighting fixture or lamp will turn into an electrical shock point putting you and your family in danger.

How To Identify Neutral Wire On Lamp Cord- Find it in a glance

That’s why you must know how to distinguish the neutral, hot, and ground wire from one another in order to safely deal with wire avoiding dangerous shock hazards. 

But before we dive deep, let’s just figure out how you can identify a neutral wire on a lamp cord.

How To Identify Neutral Wire On Lamp Cord?

Let’s start with wires that are of color. If your cord has colored wires, the white one is the neutral one. Yes, it is that simple.

Mostly a lamp cord contains two or three wires of the same number of colors. Colors are used so that you can easily distinguish one from another. In that case, the white one is neutral, the black indicates hot wire and the green represents the ground one. Basically, NEC in the USA set the color standard for the wires and they expect the lighting manufacturers to use white color for the neutral wire. But if you are reading this article from the Uk, you must identify the blue color as neutral.

But what if your cord has four wires, right? We have an answer for this as well. 

The cord with four wires has an additional hot wire of red color. So there will be two hot wires, one is red and the other one is black. But the neutral wire will be the same, white color.

How To Separate The Neutral Wire When They Are Of Same Color?

But there is another big question left to answer. How can you separate wires that are of the same color?

Any professional electrician could tell which one is neutral and which one is not with utmost ease because of his experiences. But it wouldn’t be fair to expect the same for any layperson. So there must be some ways to identify the neutral wire when the wires are of the same color. And the way to do that is too simple. 


You just have to hold the wires and feel the texture of the external rubber casting. When you rub it with your hands you can feel the strawed texture on the insulation. The one with small ridges is basically the neutral one. And the one with a smoother surface is the hot wire. 


Sometimes, small writing may be found on the insulation that indicates the type of the wire. So we recommend you check that as well. 


If you don’t see any ridges or writing on the insulation, there is one last thing you can look for on the insulation. In some polarized cords you will see a white lining on the insulation which indicates that the wire is neutral. Leave no stone unturned.

How Do I Connect Lamp Wires?

It’s a headache for a newbie who is trying to replace the worn-out lamp cord.  But let us make it easier for you.

So after you pull the old wire off from the socket, you have to put a new one back in. In that case, you will find two terminals; one with a silver screw and another one with a brass screw. The reason for having these two different screws is to help you identify the correct terminal so that you can avoid any electrical shock or hazards of any sort.

So here is the deal. You connect the neutral wire to the terminal with a silver screw. To do so, unscrew the nut a bit making room for the wire to wrap. Put the wire into the hole and tighten the screw. Do the same with the other one but remember, the brass screw must contain a hot wire underneath. 

Importance of Neutral Wire On A Lamp Cord-Must Know

A hot wire is responsible for carrying the electrical power from the power source to the outlet. So when you turn on the switch the current goes through the hot wire to the lamp and lights it up. But what if the wire carries more current than required? 

In that case, the neutral wire brings the extra current back to the power source. Thus it saves electricity. Most modern home appliances provide a terminal for the neutral wire.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Will Happen If The Neutral Wire Isn’t Connected?

Simply, if the neutral wire isn’t connected, the residue current will be stuck up in the outlet making it a threat to electrical shock. Also, the excess current prevails on the outlet making the appliance unable to save energy.

Which Side Of Lamp Cord Is Black?

When you are wiring your home appliances, the right side cord is black that representing the hot wire. In a two-wire cable, the right one is black indicating the hot wire and the left one is white which is the neutral one.

What Is The Negative Wire On A Lamp Cord?

Hotwire is the negative wire on a lamp cord. I guess now it will get easier for you to identify. If you are still struggling, the ribbed wire of two same-colored wires is the negative wire. If you are dealing with colored wires, it’s the black one that is a negative wire.


Identifying the neutral wire on the lamp cord gets easier when the wires are of color. In colored wire, White represents the neutral. When the wire is of the same color, there are basically three indications you can look for to find the neutral wire- ridges, white lining, or small writings on the insulation. Remember, the color code and standards can vary from country to country.

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