Squeaky floors: anyone tried the talcum/baby powder fix?

Does it work?

It’s one of those old household tips (do some of us remember Hints From Heloise?) for older homes with squeaking stairs or floor slats: work talcum powder into the cracks, which apparently lubricates the wood enough to temporarily silence the rubbing.

Here’s one example:

Has anyone here tried it? (Is it just one of those things that gets passed around without anybody ever testing what’s been claimed?) I understand that there’s some sweeping up of a powdery mess, and that it’s not a permanent fix or magical cure for structural issues. But as a short term solution, have Dopers witnessed any improvement with this fix?

wouldnt graphite be a more appropriate solution?

It may work but often squeaking is caused by by the seasonal expansion and contraction of wood floors which over time pulls the fasteners (nails/staples) slightly loose. Walking on the floor causes downward flex and friction at the fastener that produces the squeaking sound. One way to reduce/eliminate this is to face nail/countersink the floor from above or drive in screws from below if possible.

Amazon has a kit using break away screws allowing you to reattach the floor to the subfloor from above.


Correction to the above kit on Amazon. This kit is designed to attach the floor to the floor joists as opposed to the subfloor and locating the joists may be a challenge. Usually they’re spaced 16" to 24" on center and tend to run parallel to roof rafters directly above. The spacing should match the rafter spacing.

Where does one obtain graphite shavings? It’s mentioned in every DIY guide, but talcum powder is available at any grocery store, and even most corner stores or bodegas.

Never seen graphite for sale like that.

Powdered Graphite. Near the locks/key cutting desk in many hardware stores.

CMC fnord!

I’ll look for it, CMC and thank you!

(Still wondering if anyone tried the baby powder trick, though. It’s one of those “use what you have lying around” suggestions, of course.)

Given how messy graphite is, are you sure you should be spreading it all over your floors?

I’ve tried it on squeaky shoes, and it works - sometimes the issue is my orthotics rubbing against the inside of the shoe.