Sound is the sworn enemy of parents who want to get freaky when the kids are sleeping. It’s essential to keep things (relatively) quiet, but having sex in bed, when that bed has a squeaky frame or a noisy boxspring makes that nearly impossible, waking the child and sending them in with questions. So if your creaky bed is betraying you and your wife’s extracurricular activities, the question then is: How to stop a bed from squeaking?
READ MORE: The Fatherly Guide to Sex After Kids
To aid your quest for silence, we asked some bed and mattress experts how best to fix a squeaky bed. We were relieved to hear that it isn’t too hard. In most cases, once you find the source of the squeak, you can solve all your troubles with an Allen wrench, some WD-40, and an old T-shirt. And let’s face it: Fixing your squeaky bed is more comfortable than floor sex (albeit a tad less kinky), cheaper than buying a new bed, and less defeating than saving sex for the rare moments when you and the wife are home alone.
First, Find the Squeak
The source of a bed squeak can be like Daniel Bryan: hard to pin down. So the first step is to identify what part of the bed is squeaking through a process of elimination.
“You diagnose it by taking it apart, separating the mattress, the boxspring, and the frame, and putting force on all of them separately while listening for the noise,” says Bob Czepiel of Yankee Mattress in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Start by sliding the mattress onto the floor and giving it a test ride. “Mattresses don’t normally squeak,” says Joanne Cote, store manager at Mattress Firm in Hadley, Massachusetts. “If one did, it might be the steel coil inside, but I’ve never heard of that happening.” And if you have a foam mattress, the chance that it’s the source of the squeak goes from minimal to zero.
What’s more likely is that the unwanted noise is coming from the boxspring and/or the bed frame. “The boxspring is the most common source of a bed squeaking,” says Cote. “It’s either the boxspring itself, the wood on wood inside, or it could be the wood of the boxspring on the metal frame.” To test your boxspring, slide it off the frame and, again, gently sit or roll around on it. If you hear noise, there’s a good chance an old spring or chafing wood is causing the issue.
Next up: the frame. Put a little bit of weight on it and shake it gently, first from the sides and then from the headboard and footboard. It shouldn’t take long to identify any creaking or loose joints. Czepiel says you can also “put the bed back together again and lay down on it,” assuming there wasn’t an issue with the other components of the bed.
How to Fix a Squeaky Bed
Congratulations, you’ve identified the problem. Now what?
If it’s the mattress…
You can try to flip or rotate it in order to relocate the pressure points, but more likely than not, it’s still going to squeak. Hopefully, the mattress is still under warranty and you can return it for a replacement.
If it’s the bed frame…
Grab a screwdriver or Allen wrench and tighten everything you can, all of the bolts, nuts, and C-clamps. Add washers where bolts are loose and won’t tighten. Then spray all the connections down with WD-40 or a comparable silicone lubricant. You can also rub a candle or some beeswax on all the joints if you’re wary of chemical smells. Finally, if the wood slats on the bottom of your frame are the culprit, you can wrap each with a worn-out sock or an old T-shirt.
If it’s the boxspring…
You can start by rotating the boxspring, hoping to move the pressure point to the foot and alleviate the noise. You can also jam a book or a small piece of wood in between the squeaky spring and the mattress. If that doesn’t work, you’ve got a decision to make. If it’s under warranty (which it probably is, since most boxsprings come with a 10-year warranty), you can simply swap it out for a new one. That’s easy. If it’s out of warranty, though, you can either replace it ⏤ they come as cheap as $60 ⏤ or fix it. If you opt for the latter course of action, pull back the felt cover and lubricate each of the springs with WD-40. If it’s the wood, try the old sock method mentioned above. Either way, you’ll want to reattach the felt with a construction stapler.
And that’s it. Here’s hoping this advice aids your quest to prevent the bed from giving away your actions. Now, you just have to handle the 1,246,195 other things that will send kids into your room in the middle of the night.