How to Stop a Squeaking Box Spring

Lorna Hordos

Locate and fix squeaks that seem be coming from your bed's box spring or foundation, using one solution or another.

It's bad enough that you lie awake making a mental to-do list for the next day, but to have to listen to a squeaking box spring complain every time you move may simply be too much. The annoying noise, however, isn't necessarily the foundation's fault, but more so what it's resting on. With a good ear and a helpful partner, you can track down the sound, and put it to bed -- wherever it's coming from.

    Bounce, Roll and Listen

  1. Have your friend or partner move about on the bed, while you stand or kneel aside, listening for the squeak. What you're hearing often isn't coming from the wooden box spring, because its wood and cardboard part don't squeak so much as produce a low-pitch grinding sound. Instead, the noise is probably coming from the metal frame that supports it and the mattress.

  2. A box spring with any outward metal parts, such as supportive metal corners or brackets, is an exception, but these parts are typically plastic -- and quiet.

  3. Tighten Loose Screws

  4. Remove the mattress and box spring from the frame. Tighten any of the frame's loose screws or bolts at the squeaky points, and check the rest for tightness, using a wrench or screwdriver accordingly. If you like, remove all the fasteners, and add plastic washers to help eliminate noise that might otherwise develop over time. While you have the mattress and box spring off, why not?

  5. Oil the Frame

  6. Push down a few times on each side of the frame to locate any additional squeaks, such as pivot points on a folding unit, or any headboard brackets. Spray multi-purpose or petroleum-based lubricant where metal rails or hardware attach to the frame.

  7. Quiet a Squeaky Box Spring

  8. Put the box spring back on the frame. If the foundation has outer metal parts, press down on the unit repeatedly, working your way around it to find any points that rub the frame, and make noise. Have your partner lift the lightweight foundation, while you spray a little oil on the frame, so that the parts slide quietly together rather than grind and squeak -- and keep you up.

  9. Tip

    Rather than oiling a box spring's metal corners, attach felt to them, so that they don't scrape against the frame, using an appropriate non-toxic adhesive for porous and non-porous surfaces, such as hot glue. Replace worn felt, as needed.

Quiet a Low-Pitch Annoyance

  • If you're hearing a dull, rubbing or chafing sound, like wood rubbing on cardboard, rather than a high-pitch squeak, the problem is likely coming from inside the box spring. To solve this issue:

    1. Remove the foundation's dust cover -- the light material covering the bottom -- by pulling out the staples or cutting the material open, and then stitching or pinning it closed later. Inside, you'll likely see supportive wood slats topped with a cardboard covering. When you move in bed, the mattress presses directly on the fabric-topped cardboard, which in turn rubs against the wood slats below and can cause an irritating sound, especially if there's any space between the wood and cardboard parts. 
    2. Run a bead of non-toxic wood glue between the cardboard and each wood slat or support to affix them together and eliminate the rubbing noise. Use the mattress' weight on top of the box spring to press the cardboard onto the wood slats while the glue dries. 
  • If you see a

  • detached or broken

  • part or parts -- springs, slats, bars, deck -- within the box spring, they're likely

  • responsible

  • for the noise. Replace the foundation, checking the warranty for any coverage.