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Care Tips

How to Fix a Squeaky Bed: 10 Tips

    Last Updated
    October 17, 2021
    min read

    If you notice your mattress, box spring, frame, or other bed element squeaking at night, you’re likely not getting the sleep you deserve. A squeaky bed can lead to restlessness, incomplete sleep, or even sleep deprivation.

    Sleep helps the body recharge, strengthening your immune system and improving daytime mood. When an obstacle comes between you and quality, lasting sleep, it’s important that you take steps to address it.

    Why Does My Bed Squeak?

    Squeaky beds can make it difficult, sometimes impossible, to sleep at night. Fortunately, a few tests can help you identify and address the source of the squeak.

    Squeaky Mattress

    A squeaking mattress is usually caused by friction. It’s possible that the coils in your mattress are maturing, or the edges of your mattress are slowly caving.

    If you suspect that your mattress is responsible, lay on it and try to evenly disperse your weight. Slowly apply more pressure to different parts of the mattress and listen for any noise response. In particular, pay attention to the areas that typically carry the majority of your weight when you sleep.

    When your mattress is the source of the squeaking, the quickest solution is a new mattress. For a short-term solution, try flipping your mattress around, or sleeping on a different area of it during your next sleep session.

    Squeaky Box Spring

    Your box spring might also be the source of the squeaking sounds in your bed. Many box springs are built with wooden frames around the edges for support; these wooden edges can rub against internal coils or slats, creating squeaking sounds. In certain cases, internal coils or panels in box springs will squeak simply because they are aging.

    Sometimes it’s easy to fix a squeaky box spring. Make sure you’ve positioned your mattress in the center of it; an uneven mattress can put pressure on the edges, causing wooden framing to squeak as it rubs against internal metal or wood. You can also try adding some additional padding, to further reduce rubbing and silence squeaking noises.

    In other cases, solving a squeaky box spring might be a little more difficult. There’s no easy way to replace outdated coils or wooden panels inside your box spring. If these elements are responsible for the squeaking sounds you hear, you may need to replace it.

    Squeaky Bed Frame or Foundation

    Your bed frame or foundation could also be responsible for squeaking noises you hear. Metal bed frames can squeak when corners scrape against each other. If your bed’s foundation is made of wooden slats, pressure over time could cause squeaking sounds.

    If you think that the squeaks are coming from your bed’s frame, check corners for any overlap. Examine each location where one piece of the bed frame interlocks with the next, to identify any spots where rust or rough connections might be causing a noise.

    To troubleshoot beds with a wooden foundation, shift your weight while on the bed and listen for any noises. Emphasize movements toward the edges of the foundation, where wood resting on wood may have begun to squeak.

    If you note that the squeaking sounds are coming from your bed’s frame or foundation, consider replacing the part responsible for the noise.

    How to Fix a Squeaky Mattress

    Mattresses may squeak because of age, pressure, or friction between elements. If you notice that your mattress has begun to squeak, it’s important to address the issue before the noise begins to interfere with your sleep cycle.

    If you believe the squeaks are simply the result of wear on one part of the mattress, you might be able to shift your weight and resolve the issue. However, squeaks coming from the core of an innerspring mattress are often harder to address.

    Step 1: Rotate the Mattress

    Rotating your mattress is often the easiest way to alleviate squeaking noises. Since you generally sleep in one region of your mattress, the mattress itself will often age unevenly. When you rotate your mattress, you can increase its lifespan by placing your weight on new areas.

    To rotate your mattress, first remove any sheets, pillows, or other sleep accessories. Get a firm grip on its edges — or handles, if your mattress has them — and rotate your mattress 180 degrees. Once completed, the part of the mattress which was at the head of the bed should now be at the foot of the bed.

    Next, flip your mattress. With a firm grip on the edges, turn it over so that the bottom of your mattress is now facing upward. This will help further disperse your weight across new portions of your mattress, and may help end any squeaks you hear.

    Step 2: Cushion With Plywood

    All mattresses need a solid foundation. If you think your mattress is responsible for the squeaks you hear, it might be time to improve the quality of the foundation beneath the mattress.

    One way to promote a strong mattress is by inserting a thin plywood slat underneath it. Find a section of plywood that is at least three-quarter inches thick and is sanded and rounded, to avoid damaging the mattress you place on top of it.

    Step 3: Get a New Mattress

    If there’s no easy fix to your squeaky mattress, it might be time for a new mattress. Some interior mattress elements simply wear with age, and cannot be fixed from the outside.

    The mattress-buying process is a great chance to improve the quality of your sleep. Consider a mattress that helps you move normally at night, while still holding you gently in place. Some of the best mattresses also feature hybrid interiors, with elements like gel, coils, and multi-layered foam that promote a comfortable night’s sleep.

    How To Fix a Squeaky Box Spring, Bed Frame, or Foundation

    If the squeaking noises aren’t coming from your mattress, they’re likely originating in your bed’s frame, foundation, or box spring. Issues like general wear and age are often responsible for squeaking bed foundations over time.

    In certain cases, the squeaking sounds you hear might instead be the result of loose bolts, or a defective product.

    Step 1: Check the Joints

    Your bed’s squeaking sounds might be coming from unsecured joints. Over time, joints in a bed foundation can become loose, resulting in squeaking sounds and eventually compromising your bed’s support.

    Loose bolts are often the cause of squeaking noises, especially if you haven’t checked them in a while. One at a time, check all joints on the outside of your bed frame to ensure they still fit comfortably together. In addition to all bolts, make sure to also check locations where one part of your frame fits into the next.

    Use a wrench to tighten any loose bolts. If you come across certain bolts that are particularly difficult to tighten, add a washer between the frame and the bolt.

    Step 2: Cushion the Slats

    If the slats in your bed frame are responsible for the squeaking sounds, there’s an easy fix to the situation. Cushion the slats that sit between your bed’s foundation and the mattress, so that movement doesn’t automatically trigger the squeaking noises.

    Keep one goal in mind when cushioning your slats: prevent all running between the slats and the bed frame. Use small or moderately-sized cushions so that each slat is still parallel with the next. Socks, old shirts, sponges, and towels all make good cushions that can help mute otherwise squeaky slats.

    Step 3: Oil or Wax the Frame

    Metal bed frames can sometimes squeak. If your frame’s squeaks are keeping you from a good night’s sleep, lubricating the frame may quickly help end your issues. Consider a non-corrosive oil, one that you can easily apply to your frame with a rag or cloth.

    Focus the oil on any joints that currently squeak, or might begin to squeak in the future.

    If your bed frame is made out of wood, you can use wax instead of oil to achieve the same result. Make sure you use a wood-friendly wax option — like beeswax — to avoid harming the wood’s integrity.

    Step 4: Try Cork

    In a pinch, cork can also help you solve a squeaky wooden bed frame. Wedge cork between any wooden slats or joints that squeak to buffer the problem areas. This will help cushion the area and reduce the squeaking volume.

    In most cases, cork is best used as a temporary solution. After applying cork, consider other options to help you permanently reduce squeaking sounds from your bed’s wooden frame.

    Step 5: Add Floor Padding

    Often, squeaking sounds near the bed are coming from friction between the frame and the floor. To minimize these squeaking sounds, add additional padding between your bed’s foundation and the carpet, wood, tile, or other floor types below.

    Step 6: Get a New Box Spring or Bed Frame

    Sometimes your best option is simply to purchase a new foundation for your bed. If the squeaking noises are coming from within your box spring — or if your bed frame has fallen into disrepair — a new foundation is often the simplest route back to quality sleep.

    Fortunately, you can use this opportunity to identify the type of bed foundation that will improve your sleep. Whether you need more airflow, increased support, or extra height from your bed, the right foundation can help you sustain sleep until it’s time to get up.

    Purple Platform Frame

    Purple Platform Bed Frame

    Strong, simple and storage friendly

    Bed Frame Purple Sleep

    Purple Bed Frame

    Easy addition to any style décor


    About the authors

    Cecilia Gillen

    Cecilia brings over five years of writing experience primarily centered around lifestyle and health topics. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Media and Journalism from the University of South Dakota. She’s both an advocate for sleep and a night owl at heart.