How to Fix a Squeaky Bed Frame

A squeaky bed frame is never a pleasant thing. Not only can it ruin THE moment, but it can also wake you up each time that you or your sleeping partner switch positions during the night. Some people are tempted to buy a new bed frame all together once this obnoxious problem starts becoming more and more frequent.

However, that’s not really necessary, as the bed frame itself might not be actually damaged. So, is there any way in which you can fix this problem by yourself, without spending a fortune on a new frame or having to hire a professional to do it?

Determining the Cause

You can really figure out a solution unless you get to the source of the problem. It’s basic math. In some cases, it might not even be the bed that’s making all that noise: it could actually be the mattress.

But to determine that, you will have to take the mattress off the bed and place it on a clean surface of your floor. Sit on the mattress and move around a little. Lie down, get up, sit on the edge of the bed and check out for any unnatural mattress noises.

If you have an old coil mattress (especially one that doesn’t have individually wrapped coils), chances are that could be the source of the squeaking. Whatever the case, you need to rule out the mattress as a potential cause of this noisy problem.

In other cases, it could be neither the bed frame nor the mattress, but actually the box spring that’s making the noise. Try standing on top of the bed frame and moving around a little. Experiment with different positions and movements, like sitting on the edge, lying down and rolling around and even walking on top of the box spring. You could discover that this is actually the source of the problem.

Now that we’ve ruled out both the mattress and the boxspring, it’s time to test the headboard or the footboard of the mattress. Using your bare hand, apply pressure on the surface of the head or the footboard to see if there’s any noise coming out.

Move your hand around, pressing on the edges and the corners of these surfaces. Sometimes, it could be the posts of the bed frame that are making noise. Try rocking them to see if that’s where the noises are coming from.

Often times, the exact squeaking spot can be located right where the bedposts are connected to the frame itself. If that’s the case, you need to pinpoint the exact location of the noise in order to figure out where to go from there.

When everything else seems to be silent, it’s time to test the bed frame itself. In most of the cases, the source of the noise is the bed slats. Whether they are metal or wooden planks, the slats are those responsible for supporting the entire weight of the mattress, as well as the weight of the sleepers.

That’s quite a lot of strain, so it’s no wonder that these could eventually cave in under all the pressure. If there are any particular spots where wood rubs against other wood, the chances of a squeaking bed frame are even higher.

Once you’ve determined the cause of the squeaking, let’s see what you can do to stop this noise that’s getting on your last nerve.

Peace & Quiet

Depending on the source of the problem, you will need some (or all) of the following:

  • Screwdriver;
  • Wrench;
  • Washer;
  • Lubricant.

Step #1: First thing’s first: you have to discover what’s holding the bed frame together in the particular spot where the noise is coming from. For example, if there’s a screw in that particular area, you will need a matching screwdriver to remove it. Some bed frames are held together by bolts, in which case a wrench is the needed tool.

Step #2: A lot of times, a squeaking bed frame is caused by a loose joint and all you have to do is tighten it. You don’t need to take the bed frame apart to fix the squeaking. Sometimes, tightening a couple of screws and bolts it’s all it takes. Grab the appropriate tool and tighten them until they can’t be turned anymore.

Step #3: Occasionally, you may have a hard time tightening a bolt all the way. In such cases, a washer is your best friend. The washer is a little metal ring that goes between the bolt and the frame and helps fill the gap between these two objects.

Step #4: If the squeaking doesn’t disappear after following all these steps, you will have to take apart the joint. By using the appropriate tools, take apart the joint’s colts and screws, but make sure you place them somewhere safe, to avoid losing them. After that’s taken care of, separate the two joint pieces.

Step #5: Lubricant is typically the solution for squeaking joints. Grab a lubricant tube and apply it where both parts of the joint connect to each other. That includes flat surfaces, hooks and fasteners. The choice of lubricant is mainly yours. Some people like to use paraffin (which is a wax substance that’s solid enough to be rubbed on squeaky surfaces), while others prefer WD-40 – a spray-on lubricant that’s suitable for use on metal bed frames (the disadvantage is that it dries out in time).  In extreme cases, when there isn’t any lubricant at hand but you want to fix the squeaking ASAP, you can also use candle wax. Apply it is the same way as you would apply paraffin.

Step #6: Now that you’ve lubricated what needed lubricating, it’s time to reassemble the bed frame. Once the removed pieces are in place, you have to put back the bolts and screws and tighten them using the right tools (screwdriver for screws and wrench for bolts). Always make sure that they are tightly secured so that you don’t cause anymore squeaking.

Step #7: Of course, the final step of fixing something is testing to see if the problem is gone. Rock the bed to check for squeaking. Put the mattress back on the bed, roll over, sit on the edge and make sure that the source of the problem has been eliminated. If the squeaking still persists, you have to go back to testing different theories to determine where the noise is coming from.

The Non-Conformist Approach

As the internet is mighty fine place, we’ve discovered some MacGyver style fixes that can stop the squeaking and we’d like to go over them and see if they’re viable solution on the long run.

Alternative solution #1: Using old clothes.

Reddit users have found quite the ingenious fix for the noisy problem: adding old clothes on top of the bed slats. The idea is pretty simple: by preventing the mattress or the boxspring from rubbing against the bed slats, you could stop the squeaking, assuming that the friction is what’s causing the noise.

You can use anything from old t-shirts, socks or whatever clothes you don’t wear anymore (just make sure they’re clean; you wouldn’t want to replace the noise with a foul odor).

Alternative solution #2: Evening the uneven.

A potential solution for a squeaking bed frame could be caused by an uneven bed leg. When the leg of the bed doesn’t touch the floor, the bed rocks under pressure which could lead to noises.

By placing something underneath the uneven leg, you can prevent the bed from wobbling. Sometimes, a folded piece from a cardboard box will do the trick. However, this isn’t really a viable solution on the long run.

Alternative solution #3: Cork `n wood.

If you have a wooden bed frame, there could often be gaps in between the mattress and the bed frame itself, causing noise where in other contact points. Since the solution is to make sure that the mattress stays fixed in place, you can add corks to fill in those gaps.

Alternative solution #4: These books aren’t made for reading.

Sometimes, all it takes it to prevent the mattress from coming in contact with the bed slats. Remove the mattress and grab a book of an appropriate height. Place it on the squeaking slat and put the mattress back into place.

Bottom Line

“Oh, how I enjoy the noise this bed makes each time I reach out to grab the remote” said no one ever. There are a million different reasons why a squeaky bed gets on your nerves: aside from ruining intimate moments, it can also wake you up which, in turn, leads to inconsistent sleep and a lot of frustration the next day.

Thankfully, fixing a squeaky bed frame isn’t rocket science and most people have the tools needed to handle this problem in their own garage. If there are parts that need lubricating and you don’t have actual lubricant at hand, there are alternatives you can try that should work just as fine.