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How to get a Malm bed from IKEA to stop squeaking

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Find the source of the squeak and Fix it

If you own the popular Malm bead from Ikea, you may have noticed that over time it develops a squeak. At first it may not be bothersome, but over time, if it grows louder the creaking can disturb your sleep. This article explains possible sources of the squeak and how to fix it. Once quieted, this bed seems much sturdier, and your sleep, more sound.

To find the source of the squeak, you may have to employ some trial and error experimentation. The first possible cause of the squeak is looseness in the frame. There are four nuts that screw onto bolts at each end of the siderails and attach siderails to the headboard and footer. Tighten each of these bolts nuts with the wrench provided by Ikea. If you've lost the wrench, a standard set of wrenches should have the right size to fit it, although, you may have to remove the metal rail that holds the bed slats to get access to the nut.

Once the bed is tight, your problem may already be solve. Check for the squeak by putting the mattress back on the bed and rolling around. If there is no squeak, you are done. Happy sleeping. If the squeak persists, have no fear. There are other possible sources.

Remove the mattress once again. There are metal parts underneath the mattress, the center bar that gives support in the middle of the bed, and two small metal rods that come out from the headboard in a V shape. Grease these parts with WD-40 (I especially like this really cool WD-40 No Mess Pen, available here on Amazon) or other lubricant. Jostle them to work the lubricant into the crevasses and joints of the metal. Finally, tighten the screws on the rods.

Again, check to see if the squeak persists. If so, remove the mattress for the final time. This last step is more drastic as it involves altering the original design of the bed, but if you've read this far, you might be willing to do it.

The bed may still be loose despite tightening the bolts. With a drill and four long screws, add a screw at each corner of the bed at a toenail angle to better hold the headboard and footer to the side rails. This final step should make the bed feel solid, like one piece. If it doesn't, make sure the screws are inserted in such a way that catches the side rail and the headboard or footer.

The Malm is not a bad bed exactly. It certainly gets the job done for less than a lot of other beds, but the squeak may have you ready to chuck it. Before you do, try these steps. They will likely solve your problem, at least temporarily. If the squeak comes back, repeat the steps as necessary. All wood swells and shrinks night and day, season to season, so the fact that the bed loosens is not a reflection on your ability to put together furniture. It is inevitable. The most likely culprit, however, is not the wood at all. It's those darn metal pieces below the bed. Metal to metal movement, is an unpleasant and unwelcome sound. Fix it and sleep better.

Buy a New Mattress

While it is likely that the bed frame is the culprit and not your mattress, you might be in the mood to try something with less movement than a traditional spring mattress. Ikea, where your bought your Malm presumably, sells memory foam mattresses that would have little carry-through movement, but you are looking for an upgrade from those, or if you lack the truck you need to haul one from Ikea to your house, I recommend Casper. Their memory foam mattress is well made, light, and comfortable. They tout it as the perfect firmness, like a hotel bed. I find it a touch firmer than most memory foam mattresses. If you have shied away from foam in the past because it seemed too soft, this is likely perfect for you. To me it has the cradling of a memory foam, but feels like a spring mattress. One other plus, it is pretty light. I bought it to replace a latex mattress from Bed in a Box that was a beast to move.

This link to Casper's official site gets you $50 off your Casper mattress.

Ready to Ditch Your Malm?

Maybe you have had enough. You want to ditch your Malm bed, but you don't want to spend a lot of money. You can buy a basic metal bed frame on Amazon for as little as $37. I personally recommend one of the Structures bed frames that start at around $60. They are solid bed frames, made of metal, and virtually silent. You can put just about any headboard or shelf with it. Just be sure to cover the corners. They can be brutal to a shin.


Robert Dole from Chicago, Illinois on March 16, 2014:

I have a new king MALM bed purchased and installed in less than a week, and on the first night it already creaked.

Here are some sample videos:

Very disappointed with our purchase.

furniturez from Washington on August 08, 2012:

Great stuff - the general rule of thumb is to, when in doubt, tighten everything you can find and that should do it!

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