Why Does My Mattress Squeak?



The main reason your mattress squeaks is old or damaged inner springs. And unfortunately, there’s no way you can fix a squeaky mattress. What can start as a small inconvenience often turns into an unbearable frustration. Squeak, squeak here. Squeak, squeak there, and pretty soon, you’ve got a squeak, squeak everywhere.

Why torture yourself? It’s probably time for a new mattress.

Do you have a squeaky mattress, squeaky box spring, or squeaky bed? If you don’t have inner springs in your mattress or box spring, it’s most probably your bed frame or the floor.

For example, 100% memory foam mattresses or 100% latex mattresses do not use springs. However, it’s not always easy to tell if your mattress has springs inside. Hybrid mattresses use a combination of springs and other materials to provide support and comfort.




Why do springs squeak?

Mattresses and traditional box springs use coiled thick gauge steel wire. Over time, and especially if the steel used is an inferior grade, the coils can rust, and when this happens, the spring can squeak at the attachment point. When you calculate the number of attachment points and the number of coils, it can be in the thousands. That’s a whole lot of squeak every time you move.


How to prevent squeaking

The best quality innerspring mattresses use properly tempered steel and a thicker gauge of wire for their springs. Some manufacturers even treat the steel with an enamel or plastic coating. This significantly reduces the possibility of developing squeaks. 

The thicker the wire and the tighter the wind of the coils, the firmer the support is produced. The number of coils and the placement of the coils also affect the comfort and support. Better quality mattresses use different spring rates and configurations to create different levels of support in different areas of the mattress.





So, can you fix a squeaky bed? Yes, you can fix a squeaky bed, but you cannot fix squeaky bed springs. If you know for sure that it’s not your mattress or your box spring, then it could be several other factors. To be sure it’s not your mattress or your box spring, try taking your mattress off the box spring and see if it still squeaks.

If it still squeaks when you lay on your box spring, then you might be able to get away with just a new box spring. This is kind of risky because your mattress might be on its last legs. If you spend all that money on a box spring, your mattress might start squeaking soon.



Common sources of squeaks

Often the squeaking can come from a headboard and footboard. Check all the joints and pay particular attention to where the headboard and footboard are attached to the lower bed frame. Often the attachment point isn’t properly seated. It might look okay, but it may need to be jostled to test it.

Remember, there’s a lot of weight on these attachment points when you’re in bed, so a light jostle may not reproduce the squeak. Carefully apply some weight to it.




Metal bed frames vs. wooden frames

Both types of bed frames are good, and both can wear out over time. Here again, it’s difficult to tell just by looking at the bed frame. Even just a little bit of wear is enough to cause it to squeak. You must put enough weight on it if you want to find the source of the squeak. Be careful when you do this. It can be dangerous.

Even if you are handy, trying to find the source of a squeak can be frustrating and unsafe. You may want to have a professional examine it for you.


Many of today’s bed frames include wooden slats that are held together with fabric straps. These slats can cause squeaks when they slide ever so slightly on the supports. It’s too difficult to see, so you might want to cover the support frame with a strip of painter’s tape. This will work as a gasket in between the support frame and the wooden slat.


Could it be a squeaky floor? Definitely. When you consider the entire weight of the bed and the people in it is concentrated on just four or more points where the bed frame sits on the floor, that adds up to a lot of pressure per square inch.

When you have a hardwood floor, all this pressure can cause just enough movement for the edges to rub together and cause a squeak. It can be the same if you have carpeting in your bedroom. The subfloor is often composed of waferboard or plywood. A loose nail or joint can cause a squeak that originates from under the carpet.


How to prevent your bed from squeaking

Even if you cannot completely stop your bed from squeaking, you may be able to reduce noise. If it’s a metal component that’s causing the squeak, use a tiny drop of oil. This is a very light oil, but it works wonders on squeaks.

Some people use WD40, and although it’s an excellent product, it’s not really designed to lubricate for a long time. The WD in the name actually stands for “water displacement.” It’s a wonderful product.




How about squeaks from wood? Do not use oil. It will work temporally, but it might make a mess. Use wax instead. Rub candle wax or use furniture wax on the area in question, and your squeak will vanish.

If the area is difficult to access or if it’s the floor that’s causing the squeak, you might want to try a sprinkle of talcum powder. It won’t last forever, but you will get some relief.


Weigh your options

It might not be complicated but trying to track down the source of a squeak can take a long time. It may not be worth your time or the headache. Even if you do pinpoint the source, the common fixes don’t last forever. Sooner or later, you will need a new mattress, if not a new mattress and bed.


Another factor is your own weight may have increased over the years. It’s not fun to talk about, but it is common, especially here in the US. Even if you decide to keep your bed and mattress, it is well worth your time to investigate what’s available in today’s marketplace. The number of material and technology advances is impressive.


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