How to fix a squeaking bed frame

You’ve had a long, busy day, you’ve relaxed with a warm bath and a mug of cocoa and you’re about to tumble into a soft, comfy bed. What could possibly go wrong? Well, how about a bed that squeaks alarmingly every time you climb into it, or if you try and move once you’re under the covers? If your bed lets out squeaks and groans every time you move, it can be very difficult to relax properly and get that all-important quality night’s sleep. A squeaky bed isn’t just annoying – if it starts to impact on your sleep patterns then it can have a real effect on your health too. If you share a squeaky bed with your partner then it could be twice as bad.

The obvious answer is to get rid of that squeak, but how? Here’s a quick guide to hunting down that squeak, and stopping it once and for all.

Why do beds squeak?

All beds, whether they’re made of wood or metal, have joints. If these joints start rubbing against one another because they’ve come loose over time, the friction between the two surfaces as they rub together will cause that characteristic squeak. This is why you’ll usually get the same squeak every time you move in a certain way. That is a good way to track down exactly where the squeak is coming from – the first part of any solution.

Other reasons could be broken bed slats, old or broken mattress springs, or even the bed being uneven (a real problem in older properties where the floor may not be as ‘flat’ as you’d think!). You could also discover that the cause of a squeak is the bed or headboard rubbing against the wall, or a headboard that hasn’t been fitted properly and is loose.

How do I stop that wretched squeaking!?

Don’t panic, we should be able to help you sort out any of these issues and banish those squeaks once and for all. All of these are relatively simple to sort out, although bear in mind that the older the bed, the more likely you’re going to have to take radical action to get a squeak-free night’s sleep, including possibly replacing the bed completely.

Firstly, let’s deal with the really easy ones.

Step 1: If you find the cause of your misery is a loose headboard or one that’s rubbing against a wall, then all you need to do is pull the bed a couple of inches away from the wall, and make sure the screws holding the headboard onto the frame are done up tight. You’ll usually find that the screws have a metal washer that sits between the head of the screw and the body of the bed. You can replace these with rubber washers if you prefer, but making sure the screw (which is usually a crosshead screw) is done up tight should stop the noise.

Step 2: On old metal beds, you can go around with that screwdriver and make sure everything is tightened up properly. In fact, this is a good thing to do on a regular basis to prevent any damage to the frame. If your bed has casters on the feet (more common with older models) then they may need a little drop of three-in-one oil to banish any squeaks.

Step 3: If the bed is on an uneven floor then you may need to do a bit of levelling up. Break out the spirit level and some pieces of plywood and, just like you would with a rickety table, pop a piece under any corner that’s a bit wobbly.

Fourth on our list are broken slats and springs, these are a bit more serious and could mean a little bit of financial investment to sort the problem out.

Step 4: A broken bed slat can be replaced, but make sure you get the right size (measure twice, cut once, as any carpenter will tell you!) or it could give way on you.

Step 5: If your bed frame is sprung then a broken spring may be difficult to replace and could indicate that the bed is coming to the end of its natural life.

If the squeak is a broken spring in your mattress then you can either flip the mattress (if it’s a double-sided version), or it’s time to bite the bullet and buy a new one.

It’s impossible to put a price on a good night’s sleep – don’t let a squeaky bed ruin your slumbers.