How to Fix a Squeaky Bed and Get a Good Night’s Sleep

So there I was, sitting at the edge of my trusty bed, preparing to get some sleep after a particularly long day at work. I genuinely was excited to lie down on my bed and get some rest only to be met with persistent squeaking noises at my every toss and turn.

I’m quite certain that I am not the only person to have experienced such a frustrating development so today, we’re going to figure out how to fix a squeaky bed.

I’m an ardent believer in having a serene home. Well, sleep factors into that in a huge way, especially with the many benefits that you can have when you get proper and enough shut-eye. Some of the more significant benefits include:

  • Sleep reduces stress and the likelihood of mental health issues.
  • It improves memory and alertness, making us more productive.
  • People who get the recommended amount of sleep are more immune to inflammation, heart disease, or even cancer.
  • Sleep also decreases the likelihood of obesity.

So you realize, making your environments conducive to sleep should absolutely be an urgent priority. But even if you’re able to cover up the sound of your partner snoring, it will all be for naught if the bed itself is making a lot of unwelcome sounds. But before you start disassembling your bed, you should at least try to figure out what exactly is causing the noise.

Table of Contents

  1. Where is the Squeaking Sound Coming From?
  2. What You Might Need to Fix a Squeaky Bed
  3. How to Easily Fix a Squeaky Bed
  4. The Bottom Line

Where is the Squeaking Sound Coming From?

The first thing you need to do is find out exactly where the noise is originating. By getting this done, it at least narrows down the area that you will be potentially be working in.

There are a number of things that could be producing the noise, including your mattress, the box spring, the screws or bolts, and the wood. Here’s how you can determine which of those you’ll need to work on, so you can get right to the tip that will be the most helpful to you.

The first step would be to check if your mattress is the guilty party. Remove it from the bed and place it on the floor, then roll around like a giddy kid would on a new bed sheet. If it’s an older spring mattress, it will almost definitely squeak, although at times, even memory foam mattresses cause annoying noise. So you should evaluate the mattress this way no matter what type it is you have.

If your bed has a box spring, you can test it in the very same way. As their name indicates, box springs did traditionally have springs in them, which managed to get noisier with age. However, these days, mattress foundations are more popular — and those are simple wooden or metal frames that are encased in fabric. If the box spring can’t come off the bed, you can assess it by rocking it slightly without disturbing the bed frame.

Then finally, you’ll need to check the bed frame itself. Move it around a bit, taking it by the posts, the sideboards, and the slats that hold the mattress. When you’re checking the bed frame, you may not be able to hear the difference between wood-on-wood noises and metal-on-metal ones. Rather than identifying the source of the noise, you can just deal with the entire frame later.

What You Might Need to Fix a Squeaky Bed

Now that you have an overall idea of what’s causing the noise, the next step is preparing the things that you need to resolve the matter. If you’ve learned that the mattress is the culprit, you may want to purchase a new one — especially if you’re still sleeping on a spring mattress. However, in other cases, you may be able to get away with not picking a new one up at all. Or, you could pad the space between the mattress and the bed frame with a used blanket or a rug.

On the other hand, if the box spring is the cause of the irritating squeaking sound, you could either replace it too or pin your hope on a fair bit of oil to fix the issue. If you want to try the latter option, you’ll need WD-40 and a stapler or a needle and thread.

In fact, you can keep your WD-40 for your bed frame. If the squeaking is coming from the frame, here is a list of the things that you will need:

  • A screwdriver, a hex wrench, or an open-ended wrench
  • Extra screws or bolts
  • Plastic or rubber washers
  • Beeswax, talcum powder, or another wood and metal lubricant
  • Worn down socks, clothes, blankets, or rubber to pad the bed frame with

Now that you’ve cobbled up a suitable toolkit, it’s time to get started on fixing this problem.

How to Easily Fix a Squeaky Bed

Here are a number of ways to fix this annoying issue once and for all. However, some methods also have temporary alternatives that I’ll mention. These will be the quick fix options you could use. The suggestions here are listed in the order I’d try them, but feel free to do things the way you are most comfortable with. And if you’ve managed to determine the source of the noise, you can skip many of the following tips and just concentrate on the ones that deal with your specific noise issue.

Having said all that, let’s start with the mattress.

1. Turn the Mattress

Turn the Mattress
It may be surprising but there are times that all it takes to get around this problem is to rotate the mattress so that your head is now where your feet used to go. Yes, I realize how this tip might not be the most appealing but trust me it works.

Usually, the weakest, and therefore the noisiest, parts of a mattress are the ones your body usually presses up against the most, especially when you’re turning in your sleep. Spring mattresses are the most susceptible to this kind of wear and tear, and they often start squeaking because of it.

Fortunately, rotating, or even flipping a mattress usually solves the noise issue. I’d even do this every six months or so, since dispersing the weight evenly helps extend the longevity of the product.

However, if you need a quick fix that will have an identical effect, some people suggest finding the precise spot that’s causing the trouble and putting a hard object like a book under it.

2. Buy a New Mattress

Meanwhile, you also have to keep an open mind and accept that there are some mattresses that are just beyond repair. I would know since I slept on the very same one that my father grew up on, which meant that it was roughly three decades old.

If you want to sleep on a more durable and silent product, I recommend that you go for foam or latex mattresses. You could even buy a foam mattress and a latex topper or vice versa, depending on what type of surface you like to sleep on.

Memory foam is such a prevalent material because it distributes the weight of your body evenly. You may not even have to turn these kinds of mattresses. However, some of them can hold onto heat and they could also be too soft for comfort.

In that case, you can choose to go for natural latex mattresses, which are often firmer and cooler. These two should also be rather silent since they don’t have metal gears that can rust and squeak.

3. Lubricate the Inside of the Box Spring with Oil

If you have a box spring, here is how you deal with it: Like the mattress, you could rotate this layer 180 degrees to ensure you’re not putting pressure on the same part every time you lie down. However, even if you rotate it, you could also spray lubricant inside the box spring itself. Open up the bottom layer of the box spring and make sure you hit everywhere two metal or wood parts meet. WD-40 is awesome at this because it comes with a flexible straw that can help you get to more areas without having to rip too big of a hole in the fabric.

Once finished, you can close the fabric back up with the use of a construction stapler or simply sew it shut. Don’t throw a fit if you are sloppy — the bottom side will touch the bed frame, so no one will see it and you won’t feel it while you’re sleeping.

4. Change the Box Spring If It Is Beyond Repair

If the box spring is just beyond any kind of repair, then you can swap it out with another. As mentioned earlier, if you go looking for a new box spring for your bed, you’ll stumble onto mattress foundations instead. These metal or wood frames could still generate noise at some point because of the wood or metal rubbing against itself. However, a brand new one should be as peaceful as they can be.

Just bear in mind that these need to be assembled. As a matter of fact, it is strongly recommended that you rub beeswax between the parts, even as you’re putting them all together.

The product mentioned above is also available in both metal and wood. There are also different sizes and heights to pick from as well. Ultimately, box springs and foundations are made to prevent your mattress from sagging. But if you’re undecided about the whole thing, or if you figure that your bed frame can do the same thing without needing any kind of assistance, you can also plop your mattress down straight onto the frame.

However, if you decide to shun bed springs altogether, you can put an old blanket between the bed frame and the mattress. A blanket or a rug would keep the mattress from damages, as it’s slid against the bottom surface.

5. Tauten The Bolts

Tauten The Bolts
After doing everything that could possibly be done with the mattress and the box spring, let’s shift focus and see what we can do if the bed frame itself is making the squeaking noises. If your bed is moving around when you try to rock it, the noise is coming from the wood panels that are rubbing against each other.

The great thing is that this is easy enough to fix. Depending on whether your bed frame has screws or bolts, you may need a screwdriver, a hex wrench, or an open-ended one. Once you figure out what exactly it is that you’re working with, you can go around tightening the loose parts.

However, if your bed frame was only put together using nails, you could also reinforce those fasteners. I suggest using corner braces and screws to bolster everything along the inside of the frame.

6. Grease Up the Screws

If you see some resistance as you’re tightening the screws or bolts in the frame, you might need something to help you smoothen things. As always, WD-40 is a dependable option or a bar of beeswax if you prefer something more natural.

Beeswax actually helps prevents rust, though it could also aid the wooden parts of your bed frame slide along with each other without much friction. But if you don’t have WD-40 or beeswax, you can also try using a dry bar of soap or even a candle.

7. Place Beeswax on the Wooden Parts

While you have beeswax with you, you might as well run it over the inside of the frame as well. As a matter of fact, if you’ve determined the noise to the frame, you can even disassemble it. Then, you’ll be able to really get into the parts that are rubbing against each other and grease them up using the beeswax. Again, if beeswax is unavailable, a bar of soap or candle wax would be a good and effective alternative.

8. Swap the Bolts That You Are Not Able to Fix

If the screws and bolts in your bed frame are just not moving, they could be too rusty to function. Try to take them out as cautiously as you can, and replace them with brand new ones. While you’re at it, you can also rub the wood under the corner braces with beeswax and install new washers as well.

9. Replace the Metal Washers

Washers are the round discs that separate the screw or bolt head from the wood. Most of these fasteners come with corresponding metal washers. However, having metal rubbing against metal isn’t favorable for a good night’s sleep, and neither is having metal against wood. So what you can do is use rubber or nylon washers for a more adaptable and soundless fit.

10. Pad the Gaps in the Wooden Frame

Sometimes, no matter how tightly you fasten your screws and bolts, you’ll still get some gaps in the bed frame. And even if there aren’t any, you could still pad the places where the different pieces of wood meet. If you end up disassembling the frame, you can put rubber or cork strips between the panels of wood before you assemble them together. Both materials will keep the wood from rubbing together. However, cork would be a more suitable material for wooden bed frames. In addition, it would probably be a bit easier to cut and set up as well.

11. Even Out The Bed Legs

If you find that your floor isn’t even, you may need to place something under the legs as well. For a quick fix, you could use folded paper. However, you could also use something like the non-slip furniture pads from X-Protector.

12. Purchase Another Bed Frame

If you still are not successful in getting the squeak out of your bed after all of these steps, it may be time to quit and let someone else worry about the squeaky bed. You can even donate it to Goodwill where there are people who don’t mind hearing the occasional squeak. As for you, purchasing a new bed frame would surely solve your noise problem.

The Bottom Line

If you have experienced sleepless or restless nights all because of a squeaky bed, then I’m sure you know just how vexing it is. You just can’t sleep well while hearing the unceasing high-pitched sounds with every toss and turn you make. So if you’re sleeping on a squeaky bed, I hope this useful guide can help you identify and finally put a stop to all that noise.

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