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How to Stop a Bed from Squeaking in 3 Steps

I’m hypersensitive to noises.

This means that I spend most of the day wearing earplugs to block out the sound of life in general, and sometimes I’ll even slap on a pair of industrial strength ear defenders over the top when someone is offending my eardrums by doing something particularly obnoxious.

But if there’s a sound that I can’t manage to block out – it will drive me utterly insane.

And there’s nothing like a squeaking bed to tip me over the edge.

Because quite recently, I was sleeping on a spring mattress that would make the most irritating sound when I literally breathed in and out – the mattress was that knackered.

So if you’re suffering from an all out audible assault each time you or your bed partner moves a mere millimeter during the night – you’re in the right place.

Because I’m now going to show you how to stop your bed from squeaking in 3 steps – so that you can get a proper night’s sleep without losing your mind.

Alternatively: if you’re sick of your squeaky bed, then consider replacing it with a mattress that won’t sag and a compatible frame.

How to Stop Your Bed Squeaking in 3 Steps

Ok.

So the way to stop your bed from squeaking is pretty simple on paper.

The first step is to find the cause of the squeak and then do something to fix it.

Well, duh… right?

But the problem is that doing those two things can require a fair bit of patience.

And if you’re already wound up – then the process can quite easily lead to regrettable outrage and needlessly broken furnishings if your initial attempts prove fruitless.

So before you do anything, take a few deep breaths, calm your mind, and then follow the steps below.

1: Pinpoint the Cause

Image of a woman looking through a magnifying glass.

So, why do beds squeak?

Well it can be due to a number of reasons.

And it’s going to be difficult to stop your bed from squeaking if you don’t know what’s causing the sound exactly.

So the first step is to systematically isolate each area as follows in order to pinpoint the offending element.

Remove The Mattress

You might think that the most likely cause of a squeaking metal or wooden bed is the frame – which could be the case.

But before we get to that – go ahead and place your mattress on the floor.

Because if you’re rocking an old school spring mattress – or even a hybrid foam mattress – then you might be surprised to discover that it’s the innersprings that are causing the noise that makes you want to punch someone in the teeth.

To test the mattress, simply stand on it and move around to see if the squeak shows up.

If it does – then move on to step 2 below to fix the problem.

If not – then move on to the next test below.

Test The Box Spring

Do you have a box spring?

Then you’ll want to take that sucker out, place it on the floor, and apply pressure to it to see if it’s the springs or the wood frame that’s causing the issue.

Apply Pressure to the Frame

No luck with the box spring or mattress?

Then it’s time to put your bed frame through the wringer.

Start by gently placing a back and forth pressure on each side of the bed frame to see if the sound appears. If not, then apply upwards, downwars and circular movements to cover every possible plane of movement.

Pay particular attention to the joints and fixtures – since loose or incongruent meeting points are going to be the most likely cause of a squeaking bed.

Rock the Slats

Wood rubbing against wood – or metal grinding against metal – can often be the culprit of a noisy bed.

So be sure to apply pressure to the slats – and move them around if possible – to see if the sound reveals itself.

Move the Castors

Got a bed on wheels or a trundle?

Then it could be the castors that are creating that infuriating sound.

Simply move the bed around under different loads and see what happens.

Wiggle the Headboard

If you’ve got a headboard – or attaching bed posts – then you’ll want to wiggle it around a little bit to test for any annoying sounds.

Check Anything Else

Do you have a more complex bed like a bunk bed, poster bed, adjustable bed, or a Murphy bed?

Then you’ll have far more moving parts to consider.

But you should be able to apply different pressure and movement tests to the joints and fixtures to hopefully hone in on the cause.

Is It The Floorboards?

If you still haven’t found the cause of the noise then it might not be the bed.

It could be the floorboards.

You see, wood can warp with time or changes in temperature.

Alternatively, the floorboards – or even the legs of the bed – may be uneven.

2: Stop the Squeak

Image of tools used to fix a squeaking bed.

Hopefully, you’ll have now identified the cause of the sound by using the checklist above.

Here are 13 ways to stop your bed from squeaking and finally get a good night’s rest.

Tighten Fixtures

This is probably going to be the most effective way to stop your bed from squeaking.

If you discovered that the sound appeared when you moved any part of the bed frame – or its attachments like the headboard – then you’ll want to go around and tighten up any screws or bolts to close any gaps and reduce sway.

Make sure you use an appropriate screwdriver or hex wrench and do NOT overtighten anything – as this can strip the thread and make things worse.

If your bed was nailed together then you might need to purchase some corner braces to strengthen the frame and stop the movement that’s causing the noise.

Lubricate Joints

Squeaking metal is one of the most irksome sounds that you can encounter as you battle to get to sleep.

So you’ll want to go ahead and lubricate any joints – especially if you think they are too tight but loosening them isn’t an option.

You can use WD-40 or even vegetable oil to help alleviate that nerve shredding noise.

Apply Wax

If you’re dealing with a wood-on-wood issue – perhaps from creaky supporting slats – then an effective trick is to apply lubricant to the area.

You can use beeswax, soap, a candle, or petroleum jelly to grease the friction points and stop the noise.

As an extra measure, you may wish to coat the frame too.

Fill Gaps

Gaps are a surefire way to weaken the support structure and probably cause a racket in the process.

If there are gaps that cannot be corrected no matter how much you tighten a screw or bolt – then you can purchase and use washers to fill the space.

You’ll also want to remove any gaps between the legs of the bed and the floor.

In the case of a Murphy bed, this gap could be the result of an incorrectly assembled frame which could actually put shearing forces on the wall joints that could damage the bed and cause injury – so you’ll want to get the bed looked at by someone who knows what they’re doing ASAP.

Otherwise, if you’re dealing with a regular bed, then you can use folded material or even cardboard to fill the gaps and stop any movement between the legs and the floor.

Move the Bed

Is the sound coming from the floorboards?

Well there might be a way to fix this without ripping up your entire bedroom floor.

And that’s to move your bed into different positions to create different pressure points to ease or eliminate the noise.

Flip or Rotate the Mattress

If the sound is actually coming from the mattress then a simple way to possibly fix the solution without buying a new mattress is to rotate or flip the mattress.

This has worked for me in the past because my weight ended up being distributed differently across the bed and gave the springs a break.

However, I wouldn’t recommend flipping a hybrid mattress because you don’t want the foam layer on the bottom – but rotating it should be fine.

Rotate the Box Spring

Don’t overlook rotating the box spring either (if you have one).

This simple change could be just the thing to fix your problem.

Oil Innersprings

This is a bit more extreme.

But if the noise is coming from inside your mattress or box spring and moving it around hasn’t worked – you can make a small incision in the material and try to oil the innersprings with WD40.

Personally, I wouldn’t do this in the case of the mattress.

If it’s reached this stage – and my mattress is more than 7 years old – then I would probably just go and buy a new mattress.

But I’d probably have less issue with slicing up my box spring because no one’s going to see the state of the cover after I’ve performed open heart surgery on it.

Once inside, I’d lube up all the contact and potential abrasion points with WD40 or the wax/wax alternatives listed above.

I’d then sew or use a construction stapler to close the gap I’ve made in the box spring cover – before concealing my butchery by placing the mattress back on top of it.

Provide Padding and Support

Another trick is to place padding between the slats of your bedframe and the mattress to reduce the friction.

You can use old socks, a t shirt, folded sheets, or other materials to achieve this.

Alternatively, you can add extra support to the frame by filling gaps with pieces of cork – or even stacking books (as a temporary measure) under the slats to stop your bed screaming in agony each time you climb in.

Change the Bolts and Screws

If the bolts or screws have had their threads stripped – or otherwise fail to create a smooth joint that a washer cannot fix – then you might need to replace them.

Be sure to get the correct types and sizes though.

Replace the Castors

If the castors are kicking up a fuss then you can either buy some new ones or get some rubber castor cups to put under each wheel.

Castor cups can prevent movement and even help protect your floor.

Fix Broken Parts

Have your children (or you!) been practising WWE wrestling moves on your bed?

Then a broken slat or ruptured joint could be the source of the problem.

If the damage is isolated then you might be able to get away with buying a like-for-like replacement.

Think Around the Problem

If nothing has worked so far, then you might have to come up with a temporary measure.

Such as placing the mattress on the floor – if the frame is still groaning at you from some undiagnosed injury.

Or, you could try jamming in some earplugs to take the sting out of the sound.

Personally, I use Hearos ear plugs – but be warned that long term use can cause wax build up.

3: Buy a New Bed or Mattress

Image of a freshly made bed.

If you’ve isolated the problem but can’t fix it then you might be better off buying a new mattress or bed frame (or possibly both).

In which case I recommend taking a look at the list of the best mattresses that won’t sag by clicking the button below.

Once you’ve found your ideal mattress on that page, use the buttons to click through to the order page to see the latest discounts and choose your desired frame from the merchant’s site.

Do You Know How to Stop a Bed Squeaking?

Have you ever successfully stopped a bed from squeaking?

Did you fix the problem using a technique that’s not on this list?

Then post it in the comments section below and explain to others how to stop their bed from squeaking.

Because life seems a whole lot easier when you’re running off the back of a solid 8 hours of snooze time… and being ratty in the morning doesn’t do anyone any good!

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