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How to Fix a Squeaky Bed: 15 Easy Solutions – Bob Vila

By Tony Carrick and Bob Vila Staff | Published Sep 22, 2023 2:59 PM
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Few things can rob us of much-needed sleep like a squeaky bed. Because these noises can come from a variety of sources, they can be notoriously difficult to troubleshoot. Faulty springs in an innerspring mattress (or in the accompanying box spring mattress) are sometimes the culprits. In other instances, the problem isn’t the mattress or box spring at all, but loose connections in the bed frame. Squeaks can even be caused by the bed’s feet rubbing against the floor! Wherever the noises are coming from, the following methods will help you get rid of the bed squeaking so you can finally get some rest.
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Loose joints are a common cause of a squeaky bed. So if you’re curious about how to stop a bed from squeaking, be sure to check all the bolts on your bed frame to see if they might be the source of your problem. If any bolts are loose, use a wrench to tighten them. If you cannot manage to tighten a bolt securely, add a washer between the frame and the bolt to ensure a snug (and noise-free) fit.
RELATED: The Best Bed Frames for Support and Elevation
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This trick will help you make use of some of your mismatched socks: First, lift the mattress off the bed frame, then line each slat of the frame with old socks (a sheet or an old T-shirt works too). The additional fabric serves as a buffer between the mattress and the metal or wood bed frame, which eliminates any friction points and muffles noises.
RELATED: 10 Box Spring Alternatives to Consider for Your Bed
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If you can identify the exact spot that the squeak is coming from, you can quash it with a little wax. An easy way to locate the noisy spot is to move slowly across the bed, listening closely for the squeaky spot. Once you’ve located the joint that’s causing problems, rub a wax candle rub over the contact points. It may take a few coats of wax to get rid of the bed squeaking sound.
RELATED: How to Make a Bed the Right Way
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Here’s where a fully stocked garage will come in handy: Once you’ve located the noisy spot in your bed, use WD-40 to lubricate the joint that’s making the noise. If you don’t have any WD-40 on hand, vegetable oil will work in a pinch. Of course, this method works only if your bed frame is metal. Before you start spraying, lay an old towel or rag on the floor under the bed to catch drips and protect the floor or carpet.
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If you have a wooden bed frame, you don’t really have any bolts to tighten or joints to grease. Instead, try wedging small bits of cork between the mattress and the portions of the bed frame from where the squeak emanates. (You can also place cork around the pegs.) The cork cushioning will help tighten any loose spots and reduce noise.
RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: The 15 Best Places to Buy a Mattress
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Don’t rule out the possibility that the squeak in your bed could actually be caused by uneven floorboards or the legs of your bed frame. Even things out by slipping a towel or folded sheet under the legs of the frame to ensure that they all touch the floor. Another option is to relocate your bed to a spot where the floorboards are even.
RELATED: How Much Does It Cost to Refinish Hardwood Floors?
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Once you’ve found the part of the bed frame responsible for the offending squeak, place a hard object, such as a book, beneath the mattress in that exact spot. You may have to test a couple of places to get it right. Once you do, you should notice a reduction in noise and, with a good-quality mattress, you shouldn’t experience a decline in sleeping comfort.
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If casters under the bed frame are responsible for the squeaks, you’re in luck. The fix couldn’t be easier. Stop by your local hardware store and pick up rubber caster cups to put beneath each wheel. For as little as $2 each, they’ll reduce the noise from those squeaky wheels—and fast.
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If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Why does my bed creak when I move?” Try this. Flip over the box spring, then cut a small hole in the fabric that covers the springs. Spray WD-40 on each individual spring (or anywhere there’s metal) to lubricate the areas that could be causing the squeaks. Use a stapler to reseal the backing, and put the box spring and mattress back on the frame.
RELATED: 10 Ways to Make a Bad Mattress More Comfortable
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By flipping the head of the mattress to the foot of the bed, you can slightly alter the way weight balances on the bed frame. Sometimes that’s all that it takes to eliminate a squeak. After you’ve rotated your mattress, give it a quick test. If the squeak is gone, stretch back and relax—you may now get a well-deserved night’s rest.
Photo: istockphoto.com
If that squeak persists, try placing a piece of ¼-inch plywood between the mattress and the bed frame. The squeak will stiffen the mattress, minimizing pressure on any bad springs in the box spring so they can’t flex and squeak.
RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: The Best Full-Size Mattresses
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A wooden bed frame has two pieces of wood called stringers that connect to the footboard and headboard with a metal hook. When the bed moves, the stringers rub the headboard and footboard, causing the offending noise. Adding felt tape to the areas where the stringers make contact with the footboard and headboard should eliminate the noise.
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If you can’t locate and eliminate the squeak, try using a mattress topper to create a buffer. Most squeaks are caused by pressure placed on an inner spring. A mattress topper absorbs much of the pressure before it reaches that faulty spring. The added layer will also help muffle the sound of the squeak.
RELATED: Buyer’s Guide: The Best Upholstered Beds of 2023
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If all else fails and the squeak is keeping you up at night, it might be time to replace the noisy mattress and squeaky box spring. Consider getting a memory foam mattress for your next bed. Memory foam doesn’t use innersprings or a box spring, so you won’t have to worry about a noisy mattress.
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One common reason for a squeaky bed frame is a problem with the screws. If stripped or damaged, screws can cause bed squeaks because they fail to hold the bed together securely. Removing any damaged nails or screws and replacing them with new ones of the same size and type may resolve the problem.
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