Sometimes, being the bigger person can be ineffectual at best or downright detrimental at worst. If your upstairs neighbors are determined to get on your last nerve, you should be allowed to aim below the belt. Luckily, even if that’s not your natural inclination, learning how to annoy your upstairs neighbors should be easy enough.
If you’re sick of hearing your neighbors stomp around over your head, there are several ways to make your displeasure known. Full disclosure: the legality of the methods we’re about to discuss may be murky at times. But don’t worry, it’s all in good fun — at least on your end.
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1. Cook Something Smelly
If you’re in the mood for a hearty lunch or dinner, cooking could be a way to express your indignation. However, this plan will only work if you know that your neighbors’ windows are open. Moreover, you’ll have to prepare something that will stink up the place before your neighbors think to shut the windows.
So what are some of the ingredients you might consider for this task? Well, if you want to actually cook, broccoli, asparagus, and fermented cabbage all have different but equally intense smells. Alternatively, you could purposely burn some popcorn, put them in a plastic bag, and hang that outside of your window, letting the pungent odor waft up to your neighbors’ open window.
You could take a similar approach to any fishy ingredients you happen to have on hand. Just think back to the time someone nuked their tuna sandwich at work and imagine doing something like that to your neighbors.
Of course, if you don’t want to stink up your own place or leave food hanging from your window, there’s another way to attack your neighbors’ sense of smell. Simply get a tuna sandwich and put it near their apartment door instead. Alternatively, you could crack some eggs in an air vent next to their door, letting them spoil over the next few hours or days.
But be careful: doing that could enrage the other neighbors on that floor and beyond. So before you do anything — make sure you don’t have an audience!
2. Prank Call Them
If you happen to have your neighbor’s phone number, ideally the landline, you could always launch a good, old-fashioned, prank call campaign. Once again, you’d have to be sure that they don’t have caller ID. If they do, you can use an online phone service that doesn’t leave a number behind.
Now, there are two ways to execute these prank calls. You can either do them as soon as you hear noise above you or wait until your neighbors are resting to unleash your wrath. Either way, you might annoy them enough to reconsider their disruptive ways.
3. Oil up Their Doorknob
Have you ever stepped in a puddle while you were wearing socks? If you want to provoke the same kind of disgust in your neighbors, you just need to get them to suddenly come into contact with a slimy surface. Applying a bit of vaseline or oil to their doorknob should do the trick!
The one problem with this idea is that some apartment buildings have surveillance cameras. Even if yours doesn’t, your neighbor could have a peephole camera or a private security camera pointed at their door. But even that is something you could get around with the right disguise.
On the other hand, if you want to make a more visible mess, you could throw eggs at the door instead. That’s something you should be able to do even from the stairwell, which should give you a chance to escape before you’re caught. No matter which of these options you decide to take, try to avoid smearing anything over the lock of the door. Remember, you want to gross your neighbors out, not prevent them from getting in and out of their place.
4. Sign Them up for Junk Mail
“I know where you live” is an effective threat for good reason. There’s a lot of things you can do with access to your neighbors’ address. Sign them up for a bunch of junk mail, order pizza for their apartment, and redirect any marketers that manage to enter the building to their floor.
Ideally, the subscription services you sign your neighbors up for should be free. You wouldn’t want to waste your money on revenge, would you? With that in mind, you can also overload your neighbors’ virtual mailboxes by signing them up for all sorts of newsletters.
On the other hand, if you go with the pizza plan, you’ll want to make sure the prank can’t be traced back to you. Use a food delivery app and fill in your neighbors’ information, down to the phone number! And if your neighbors decide not to pay up, offer to take the pie when the delivery person comes down the stairs.
5. Knock On Their Door at Odd Hours
Since you already know exactly where your noisy neighbors live, you might as well engage in a harmless round of doorbell ditch. Once again, cameras and nosy onlookers might be a potential threat. But if you manage to avoid those two, this prank might be the perfect way to teach your neighbors a lesson.
To make the most of this trick, you’ll need to be unpredictable. Don’t ring their doorbell or knock more than once at a time. Or, if you do, don’t do it at equal intervals — give the neighbors time to relax between your attacks.
6. Put Speakers up Against the Ceilings
Now, most of the suggestions I’ve made so far have been fairly generic. You could use them to annoy any of your neighbors — not just the ones that live directly above you. But the next few suggestions will be aimed at the surface you share with them, specifically — the ceiling.
This first tip in this category is fairly obvious. You just need to find a way to bring your speakers as close to the ceiling as possible and point them upwards. The only things you’ll need to pull that off is an extension cord and a tall piece of furniture like a cupboard or bookshelf.
When you have everything in place, put on your favorite song and crank it. Alternatively, if you want to maximize your neighbors’ annoyance, play What Does the Fox Say? by Ylvis or Baby Shark on repeat.
7. Hit the Ceiling With a Cane or a Broom
If you don’t want to bother with the elaborate speaker setup, you could always just use whatever you have to hit the ceiling and hope your neighbors catch your drift. Just try to use something that won’t damage the ceiling paint or drywall.
If you have a cane with a rubber on the bottom, you could use that to tap against the ceiling. Make sure you clean it before doing so to avoid leaving dirty streaks on the ceiling. You could also use the tip of a broom, though I recommend wrapping it in socks and duct tape to keep it soft enough to prevent damages.
8. Tap the Radiator Pipes With a Metal Spoon
If you see any exposed metal pipes heading up into your ceiling, chances are, your annoying neighbors can see the other end. To make the best of your circumstances, you’ll want to fish a metal spoon out of your cutlery drawer and repeatedly hit the pipes. That should make your neighbors pipe down!
9. Bounce a Ball Against the Ceiling
Do you ever get so bored you catch yourself bouncing a ball off the walls and ceilings? If not, you might want to make a habit of it. Find a decently bouncy ball, like the ones that are used for racquetball or a squishy stress ball. Then, take your frustration out on the ceiling.
Hopefully, your neighbors will make the connection between your stress levels and their volume levels. Before you know it, they’ll be quiet as church mice.
10. Set Up a Ceiling Vibrator or Thumper
Lastly, if you don’t want to put in all that effort physically hitting your ceiling, you could always use a mechanic substitute. A ceiling thumper is a machine that uses a motor to vibrate the ceiling on command. If your neighbors love dancing jigs right above your couch, this device should level the playing field.
If you decide to get one of these machines, you’ll set it up by pointing the vibrating part toward the ceiling and extending the bottom part of the rod to the floor. That should create tension between the two parallel surfaces, allowing the motor to vibrate the ceiling. Just touch the button on the remote control and you’ll be off to the races.
Before You Break Out the Home Alone Techniques
Before you use the nuclear option, take a step back. Ideally, thinking about the different plots we’ve discussed will be enough to take the edge off your anger. Now that you’re here, you might want to consider why the upstairs neighbors are being loud in the first place.
If you bang on the ceiling when your upstairs neighbors trip or drop a pan, you’ll be the bad guy. So don’t be quick to jump to conclusions! Take a moment to get to identify the cause of the noise.
Talk to the Neighbors
If the noise coming from the apartment above is a regular occurrence, you should discuss it with your neighbors. Try to understand why they’re being so loud. For all you know, they could be house-training a puppy or teaching their toddler to walk.
If your neighbors seem reasonable, talk to them about implementing a system for letting them know when they’re being noisy. As we have discussed, tapping on the pipes with a metal spoon may annoy them. But in this case, it could also be an agreed-upon signal. Alternatively, you could tap on the ceiling with a cane or even just text them when you need quiet.
For example, let’s say the noise you’re hearing is the result of your neighbors’ rich social life. You could get around that by simply asking them to inform you about future parties. Simply knowing what to expect can make the noise more bearable.
If your neighbors tell you their guests will be out by 10 pm, you won’t overreact if you hear music and conversation at 9:40. Instead, you’ll just assume everyone is saying their goodbyes. Alternatively, you can either make yourself scarce during that time or invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones.
Document the Noise
If it turns out that your neighbors aren’t willing to compromise in any way, you could take the matter through official channels. To do that, you’ll want to carefully document each instance of disruptive behavior. Write it down, record videos, and provide evidence that the upstairs neighbors are, in fact, the ones who are making the noise.
Now, keep in mind that your neighbors may consider your keeping track of their behaviors incredibly invasive. Still, if you think your peace of mind is worth getting into a fight with the people who live above you — by all means, document each hum.
Read up on Local Noise Ordinance Laws
Learning about local noise ordinance laws is the most important thing you can do when dealing with noisy upstairs neighbors. Many laws limit the hours during which people living in shared buildings or close communities can be noisy. Even during the day, being loud may go against the ”quiet enjoyment” clause of your apartment community.
Educating yourself about these concepts and how they’re enforced will help you understand your options. More importantly, it’ll prepare you for the next time you have to deal with unmanageable neighbors.
Ask the Landlord or Building Manager to Mediate
If your building has noise rules in place, you could take your problem up with the landlord or building manager. Someone is probably paid to handle tenant issues like these — so let them work on it. With some luck, they’ll be able to charm or threaten your neighbors into relenting.
If All Else Fails: Implement Some Ceiling Soundproofing Methods
What if trying to cajole, beg, or browbeat your neighbors into submission doesn’t yield the results you were looking for? Don’t worry, even after everything you’ve been through, there’s one last thing you could try. Use various ceiling soundproofing methods to make the surface impenetrable to the noise coming from upstairs!
Now, the article I’ve linked to should tell you everything you need to know about techniques that are applicable in this case. However, if you want to learn more about various professional soundproofing techniques and materials you could use on your ceiling, I recommend checking out a more in-depth guide instead.