How to Fix a Squeaky Bed

Repairing Squeaky Bed

Sandi Rutar / Getty Images

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 15 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 15 mins - 1 hr
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10 to $30

While there are many reasons you may be experiencing poor or little sleep, it definitely doesn't help to have a bed that squeaks every time you move. With some beds, you don't need to be a fitful sleeper for the bed to make noise: even the slightest movement produces another squeak. What causes noisy beds, and what can you do to fix the squeaks?

What Causes a Squeaky Bed

Mattress or Box Spring Needs Replacement

Springs within the mattress or box spring might be rubbing against other parts and causing the squeaking. Springs are internal, and you should not attempt to repair them. Purchase a new mattress or box spring.

Bed Parts Need Tightening

Metal or wood bed frames tend to loosen over time—or never were properly tightened in the first place. Tightening the parts can help eliminate a majority of bed squeaks.

Bed Parts Need Lubrication

Bed frame components may rub against each other, even after they have been tightened. After lubrication, the components will still move against each other, but the friction will be reduced enough that the squeaks will entirely go away or will be quieter.

Tip

Use only dry lube. This spray lubricant applies wet but dries within seconds to leave a dry lubricating film that's safe for furniture. Plus, it won't drip down to your flooring.

Wood Bed Parts Need Felt Tape

Some wood beds consist of two stringer rails that run between the headboard and the footboard. At each end of the stringers are metal hooks that fit into slotted mortises in the headboard and footboard.

When stress is placed on the bed, the stringers rub against the headboard and footboard, causing squeaking. Adding self-adhesive felt tape in the space between the stringers and head or foot boards eliminates these squeaks.

Box Spring Needs Padding

The box spring shifting against the inside of the bed frame may be causing squeaking. Adding a cushion between the components may help reduce noise.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Allen wrench set
  • Wrench set
  • Cordless drill
  • Drill driver bits
  • Rubber mallet
  • Scissors

Materials

  • Dry lubricant
  • Self-adhesive felt tape
  • 4 pieces 3/4-inch by 6-foot foam semi-slit polyethylene pipe insulation

Instructions

  1. Identify the Source of the Bed Squeaks

    Disassembling the bed as much as possible will help you eliminate causes to narrow down the source of the squeaking.

    1. Remove all of the bedding and pillows.
    2. Lift the mattress off of the box spring and place it on the floor.
    3. Lift the box spring off of the bed frame and place it on the floor, near the mattress.
    4. Lay on the mattress and roll over a couple of times to assess whether it squeaks.
    5. Spread a blanket across the box spring, then lay on it just as you did with the mattress.

    If either the mattress or box spring squeaks, it should be replaced. If neither the mattress nor the box spring squeak, you have eliminated these as possibilities and can proceed with other solutions.

  2. Lubricate Bed Parts

    If any bed parts need to be tightened, lubricate them before tightening. Dry lube works on both metal and wood surfaces.

    1. Shake the can well.
    2. Briefly test-spray onto a piece of cardboard to move the product through the nozzle.
    3. Spray onto both metal or wood parts that contact each other.
    4. Let dry a few seconds before assembling again.

    If the bed still squeaks, try tightening the frame.

  3. How to Tighten Bed Parts

    Metal and wood bed frames may be constructed with any number of fasteners: Phillips head screws, conventional slotted screws, Allen screws, bolts, cam screws, or more.

    Using the appropriate tool, tighten the fasteners. Tighten every fastener on the bed, whether or not it feels loose.

    Do not over-tighten. Some metal bed frames can bend when fasteners are over-tightened. Holes in wooden components can become stripped.

    If this doesn't solve the problem, try adding felt tape or padding.

  4. How to Add Felt Tape to a Bed Frame

    1. With the mattress and box spring removed, remove the two stringer rails by tapping them upward from underneath. Use a rubber mallet.
    2. At one of the stringer ends (where the metal hook is located), add a short strip of felt tape. Repeat at the other end of the stringer.
    3. Duplicate the felt tape on the other stringer.
    4. Remove bed slats by unscrewing them.
    5. Add short pieces of felt tape under each slat end, where they contact with the bed frame.
    6. Replace the slats by firmly screwing them into place.
    7. Replace the headboard and footboard by fitting the stringers' metal hooks into the slots, then forcing the stringers firmly downward.
  5. How to Add Padding Around a Bed Frame

    1. With the scissors, cut two pieces of foam pipe insulation to the width of the bed. Measure from the inside, with the mattress and box spring removed, not from the outside.
    2. Replace the box spring and mattress.
    3. Force one cut piece between the box spring and the headboard.
    4. Force the second cut piece between the box spring and the footboard.
    5. Push the two full-length pieces of pipe insulation along the sides of the box spring.

    Tip

    If full-diameter pipe insulation is too thick for the spaces, you can cut the pieces in half, lengthwise. One cut is already in place since the insulation is pre-slitted. You just need to cut the other side to produce two halves.