How to Fix a Squeaky Bed: Step-by-Step (with Pictures)
Is your bed constantly squeaking or shaking? Looking for an easy fix to make that annoying squeak disappear?
You are in luck. We have fixed and tested hundreds of thousands of bed frames over the years and have picked up some TRICKS you can use to try to get rid of that annoying squeak once and for all.
There are a variety of potential reasons a bed can squeak, so eliminating the noise is a simple matter of narrowing down the cause and implementing a targeted fix.
Here’s a quick guide to to help you find and fix your squeaky bed frame.
Find and Eliminate that squeak! (2 Main Steps)
PART 1 – Finding the exact cause/source of the squeak.
PART 2 – Follow our guide for a targeted fix.
PART #1: Finding The Source Of The Squeak
Finding the Source of the Squeak:
Source #1: Check The Mattress
Memory foam and Latex mattresses don’t squeak, as they do not have any metal in them. So if you have an all foam mattress, you can immediately rule that out as a potential cause of your squeaking. Traditional innerspring and modern “hybrid” mattresses contain metal coils, any of which can potentially start squeaking over time
Step #1: Move mattress off the frame down to the floor
Step #2: Apply pressure all around the top of the mattress to check for any noise.
This method should only take a few moments, and even if you don’t find anything, having it off the your bed frame will help with the rest of the process.
If you find that your mattress is squeaking, don’t start looking for a replacement quite yet. There are a few fixes you can try. Head down to our solutions portion to find some answers.
ALSO Other parts of your bed frame could also squeak, so you may as well test the rest of your bed set up while you’re here. Some people can ignore or not notice a single squeak, but if several areas cause trouble simultaneously, it can become too much to ignore.
Source #2: Check the Box Spring
A well made solid bed frame will rarely squeak, but box springs can. Box springs are fundamentally similar to innerspring mattresses, with the potential for hundreds of coils in a single container (all of which could start to squeak). Companies often manufacture box springs with lower quality standards than mattresses, so it’s easier for squeaking to become a factor.
STEP #1: With your mattress out of the way: Take your box spring off of your bed frame and place it on a flat section of the floor
STEP #2: Similar to what you did with the mattress, press down firmly on all parts of the box spring to identify any source of squeaking.
You should be able to hear if it’s coming from the box spring. If the box spring is squeaking head down to our solutions section and try a few fixes.
If the box spring is not the problem let’s move on to checking portions of the frame directly.
Source #3: Check the Headboard
Some headboards are part of the bed frame, while others sit separately. If your bed frame and headboard are not one solid unit then movement and pressure can make them squeak as they move back and forth.
Grab your headboard from a variety of sides and angles and begin to move it back and forth. Try doing this slow, fast, soft and hard. Squeaks are very circumstantial and may only occur under certain amounts of pressure.
Headboard squeaks are mainly an issue of how they are connected to your frame. In a typical situation, the weight of the sleeper and mattress shifts when a sleeper moves around and those movements travel through the bed and into any headboard that’s not securely fastened.
If your headboard is squeaking go down to our solutions section to find a variety of fixes from padding to lubrication and ribber washers.
Source #4: Check the Bed Frame
The bed frame is the most common source of squeaking in beds but its also generally the easiest and cheapest to FIX!. With the trend towards memory foam mattresses and platform beds there is less and less chance the squeak is coming form your mattress or box spring and more chance your frame is the issue.
The primary causes of squeaking in the bed frame are from:
- Parts rubbing together
- Poor assembly.
- Mattress pressing down and causing friction
- The bed itself may move across the floor slightly and squeak whenever you move.
How to test your frame:
With your mattress and box spring off the frame, try to move the frame around and listen for any squeaking sounds. Do this from different angles and under different amounts of pressure. If you can identify where they’re coming from, you can use a few tricks to eliminate the squeaking.
If you found a squeak in your bed frame the vast majority of the time it is an easy fix. Scroll down to see few different options for stopping squeaks in your bed frame.
PART #2: Fixing The Squeaks
When deciding how to fix a squeaky bed, the best strategy depends on the source of the squeaking. Below are some recommendations for how to fix a squeak in each section of your bed set up.
If you didn’t find the exact location of the squeak you can still try some of these remedies and see if they work.
Squeaky Mattress OR Box Spring Fixes
1. Rotate Your Mattress or Box Spring
Sometimes, the primary cause of a squeak is weight distribution, especially from a poorly-made mattress. If you suspect this is the case for your bed, try rotating your mattress (or flipping it over if its double sided). Moving it around may help distribute your weight more effectively and eliminate squeaks.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Squeak or no squeak you should always rotate your mattress every 3 months or so. Having weight in the same spot for extended periods increases the chances of squeaking. Rotating your mattress regularly can help solve many problems that arise from improper weight distribution.
2. Check for a flat surface
On a similar note, make sure your mattress and box spring are flat on the frame and on a flat portion of the floor. Even a slight angle can encourage weight to move to one part of the mattress, significantly increasing the chance of squeaking.
3. Replace it
You may not like this answer. BUT If rotating and a flat surface didn’t help then the best way to fix squeaking from inside a mattress or box spring is to replace it. If your mattress is new, some warranties will cover noisiness. It’s worth checking with the retailer or manufacturer. The good news is mattresses tend to have longer return periods than most other furniture items.
WHY DO I HAVE TO REPLACE IT – The reason you’ll need to replace your squeaky mattress is that fixing individual springs in a bed is difficult at best and opening your mattress to fix it will compromise the integrity of the product and void any possible warranty. Box springs are essentially the same as mattresses in this regard. Neither is realistically repairable for at-home users. Instead, upgrade to a new mattress that fits your needs. Buying latex or memory foam and a platform bed will help prevent any future squeaking problems.
Mattress Disposal tips
Mattresses can be hard to dispose of. Some companies offer at home pick-up services. Municipal garbage collection services can also handle most mattresses. If getting the bed outside is hard for you, you can arrange for an in-home pick-up service after you get your new mattress in.
Many reputable services help recycle mattresses instead of putting them in landfills, so you don’t need to worry about waste when you get rid of an old mattress.
Squeaky Bed Frame & Headboard Fixes
1. Tightening Joints
One of the most common causes of squeaking in a bed frame is loose screws around the joints. Beds can have varying numbers of connecting parts depending on their design.
Try to gain access to as many of these connection points as possible. If you were able to locate the exact squeaking area before, you can focus on fixing that. Get a wrench or screwdriver that fits the bed you’re using and try to tighten each screw until it’s firmly in place.
2. Add washers (rubber washers work best)
If you can’t get it tight enough, try adding washers or similar components. Most people think of metal washers for situations like this, but that’s not your only option. You can buy vibration-absorbing washers made from materials like:
These are significantly better than metal at reducing squeaking sounds.
With or without a washer, tightening the screws on a bed frame is usually enough to fix your issues. If that still doesn’t work, you can try the remaining steps.
3. Lubricating the Joints
If tightening screws isn’t enough, you may have to lubricate things. Depending on your frame’s style, this may involve lubricating screws, bolts, or joints in different areas. Movable components are especially susceptible to this, which can be an issue for things like ottoman beds.
Lubrication acts similarly to a sponge, filling in air gaps between two pieces of metal and letting them shift around slightly without scraping against each other. Despite the name, proper lubrication won’t encourage parts of your bed to pull away from each other or collapse. If you can’t tighten the screws on your bed, you have a bigger problem.
Lubricating the screws on your bed isn’t difficult, but it can take some time. It’s best to start this when you have a few hours to spare so you can disassemble and reassemble your bed as necessary.
Remember, you don’t need much lubricant. A little goes a long way. Make sure to test each component after you reconnect the parts to be sure the squeak is gone.
4. Add Cushioning
If lubricating doesn’t work, or the squeak is coming from an area where lubricating isn’t relevant, adding cushions may get the job done.
The primary cause of squeaking is friction, either between two parts of your bed or between the bed and another structure like your floor or headboard/wall. Cushioning prevents direct contact with friction and can stop squeaks.
There are a few things to consider here.
First, the cushioning can be thin, but you don’t want it to be too thin. If it is, there’s a good chance it won’t get the job done. Fortunately, you can usually layer the cushioning atop itself to get the appropriate thickness. Folding it two or three times is usually enough.
Second, your cushioning has to deal with a heavy bed rubbing against it. In time, this can damage the cushioning and force you to replace it to keep the squeaking down. This reason is why thin fabrics are usually a bad choice for cushioning.
Try Furniture Pads:
If the squeak is coming from your bed moving across the floor, look at getting furniture pads or similar protection. These are purpose-made for beds and are much more durable than other materials.
Try Socks or Towels:
In other areas of your bed, look for the thinnest and thickest materials you can allow, then put those in place. Some people use socks, towels, shirts, or similar materials. Other people use cork or any other material that’s on hand. Remember that an ideal material is soft but durable, capable of withstanding regular pressure from your bed.
Try to avoid adding cushioning in a way that you can feel, though. If you have to raise your mattress in one corner by stuffing socks in, you may notice added pressure there while you’re sleeping. That can be worse for your comfort than the occasional noise, so evaluate this on a case-by-case basis.
5. Replace Your Furniture
If all else fails, you can replace your furniture to get rid of the squeaking. This option is the most expensive and least ideal for most people, so it’s better to save it as the last resort unless you already have a replacement available.
See Our Top Picks for The 12 Sturdiest Bed Frames
If you don’t want to buy a new bed frame, there are a few options here, even if you’re on a tight budget.
First, if your problem is the bed frame, you may be able to sell or get rid of the bed frame and put a box spring directly on the floor. Many people prefer a slightly raised bed, but that’s not necessary for most households. This option saves money on replacement costs without significantly impacting your ability to get in and out of bed.
Second, frames come in many styles. Simple metal frames are quite affordable and much easier for a single person to install than something like a full wooden bed frame. You don’t have to get the largest and fanciest frame. If aesthetics matter, you can easily cover it with a bed skirt.
If your budget allows, this may be a good opportunity to replace your entire sleeping arrangement. Replacing the frame, possibly the box spring, and the mattress all at once can significantly improve your sleeping experience and comfort.
Squeaky Specialty Beds
Specialty beds may be much harder to fix than regular beds. For example, electronically adjustable beds may have motorized systems that are significantly more complex than you’ll find elsewhere. In cases like these, it’s usually better to hire a handyman or bed systems expert to come and remove the squeaking sound.
That’s significantly more expensive than doing it yourself, but if the bed is complex enough, you may not have a real choice here. Remember, sleep is essential to your health, so it’s best to fix any problems early.
When deciding how to fix a squeaky bed, the first thing you need to do is identify the source of the squeaking. All that’s left after that is to implement the right fix. In most cases, you can implement these fixes within a few hours at most.