You toss and turn. The squeaking keeps you up all night. You're crabby and tired in the morning. It might be time to update your bed frame, mattress, or box spring.
Luckily, "update" doesn't have to mean "spend lots of money to replace." Before diving head-first into such an investment, try some easy DIY solutions first. Examine all parts of your bed to figure out the culprit. Then look into some of these traditional and unconventional remedies. They could end up saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
When troubleshooting the cause of a squeaky bed, the first and easiest place to start is the mattress. When was the last time it was flipped or rotated? If it was more than a few months, it's due for a change.
Flipping the mattress's head to the foot can alter the bed's balance. Perhaps this little tweak is all you need to stop an annoying squeak.
The root of your squeak could be pressure placed on the box spring by way of the mattress. Adding a mattress topper should help distribute the pressure, preventing it from reaching the squeaking springs. Even if this buffer doesn't stop the noise entirely, it will soften it by reducing the pinpoint compression. Plus, the extra layer of padding offers additional comfort while dampening the squeaks.
Take your mattress and box spring off the frame. Place a blanket over the box spring and lie on it. If it squeaks, then this is the source of your problem.
If you're comfortable with your Jack-of-all-trades abilities, you can perform minor surgery on the box spring. Flip it over and cut a small incision in the fabric. Spray a lubricant or penetrating oil onto the springs and any other metal parts. Seal the sliced fabric with heavy-duty staples.
Adding plywood to your bed is a stepped-up version of a mattress topper. It provides a similar effect but improves sturdiness rather than softness. Sandwiching quarter-inch boards between the mattress and box spring enhances support.
By stiffening your mattress, you'll reduce pressure, distributing it more evenly across the wood, which will absorb the strain, lessening compression and flex on your box spring. And just like a mattress topper, it will dampen much of the residual noise. This is a useful trick to get more life out of a squeaky box spring before investing in a replacement.
Your mattress or box spring could be rubbing against a portion of your bed frame, causing the irritating squeak. After removing everything from the frame, add a buffer: old socks or clothes work well, in addition to cork and felt. Place this makeshift liner over the points of the frame being rubbed. It'll stop the noise by reducing friction.
When your mattress and box spring aren't the cause of your squeaking, the next place to investigate is your bed frame. This includes your headboard and footboard, if applicable. There are many moving parts to a metal or wooden frame, and one or more of these areas can be the culprit.
Inspect all joints. Loose bolts and screws are common causes of squeaking. If you find any that wiggle, grab a wrench or screwdriver and tighten them. For bolts, adding washers between their heads and the bed frame will provide a better fit that's less likely to squeak.
Just like loose joints, tighter areas can cause squeaking, too. In the event you discover a place that's rubbing together, adding a lubricant can quiet things down. But all methods aren't the same, as distinct furniture materials require specific products.
Place a protective layer on the floor under the area you're treating. For metal frames, spray the offending spot with penetrating or lubricating oil; cooking oil can also act as a temporary fix till you buy a better product. Wood grating is best resolved with wax. Coat the contact points with candle wax, then repeat the process several times to create a layered effect.
Don't forget about the legs when you're checking your frame for squeaks. Aside from having bad contact joints, your bed's legs may not be evenly touching your floor. Fold a piece of fabric and place it underneath the shorter leg. Build up this area until it's on par with the height of the other legs.
Your floor could be the offender, too. Uneven floorboards aren't uncommon, especially in older structures. The fix is the same as an uneven leg, or you can relocate your bed to a better spot.
Some beds have casters on their legs. Though they're a convenient way to move furniture with ease, casters are a notorious source of squeaking. But you don't have to get rid of them if they're the reason for all those annoying sounds. Caster cups are a cheap and simple way to reduce or eliminate squeaks. Placing one under each wheel will also improve grip and keep your floors safe.
If you have exercised all these options and still can't figure out or resolve your problem, it might be time to open your wallet. Fortunately, by this point, you have pinpointed the root cause. Unless you feel inclined to do so, you won't have to invest in a mattress, box spring, and new bed frame all at once — just replace the squeaker. This is great news for any budget-minded person.