How To Find A Leak In An Air Mattress?

Air mattresses are one of the easiest, convenient and flexible item to store for people who frequently have guests showing up to spend a night. However, a small leak in an air mattress may result in lying down flat on the ground.

Finding leaks is an extremely difficult job, however, manufacturers come up with different ideas to find one. There are many methods to find a leak. The first most appropriate one includes the inspection of valves.

Others include:

  • Dish Soap Method
  • Inspect The Air Mattress
  • Submerge The Mattress

Interested in this Air Mattress? Check out the full review that we made here.

Inspection of Valves

Remove the bedding along with the sheets from your air mattress which allows you to see the tears and holes in the mattress. Place the bedding away to the safe place so that you can easily view the leaks and tears in the mattress.

Move the mattress to a place which offers you room to perform the maneuver. It allows you to walk around your air mattress, flip as well as inflate it. If you are planning to camp, then bring the air mattress inside the tent to make sure it’s away from the noise and breezes. However, you need to make sure that there is adequate light so that you can view the holes.

Fill the air mattress with air and avoid bursting it, as they are not manufactured in a way to be filled with extra pressure sources which include air compressors. Make use of an air pump or utilize your breath for inflating the mattress.

Now look for the valve before inspecting the entire mattress. The most common source of the leak is a valve. If you inspect the valve first, it will save you time as well as energy. However, make sure to insert the valve plug in the valve stem.

For the valves which have a double locking mechanism, insert the valve stem completely against the valve stop present behind it. If the valve has an issue, then it is unlikely to patch it. However, if you cannot seal the valve plug against the valve stem then insert a small, thin sheet of plastic which will offer you with an immediate fix.

If the plug is entirely inserted within the valve stem, and it is completely pressed in the stop, then you can look for the hole or leak present in the mattress.

Dish Soap Method

Add a small amount of liquid dish soap in a spray bottle combined with warm water. Mix it completely to ensure that you have even amount of dish soap spread all over the mattress. You can also use a soapy wet rag or a wetted sponge with soapy water instead of the spray bottle.

Wipe or spray the valves initially which will result in bubble formation over the surface due to air escape. You need to make sure the mattress is completely inflated.

Make sure to check the valve area first while performing any method for finding the leaks. If the bubbles are found near the valve, then inspect it properly to make sure it is perfectly sealed.

Spray on the mattress surface in a systematic manner i.e. initiate with the seams, and then cover the entire fabric. The leak will be identified with the formation of soap bubbles. Do not hesitate about the soap covering your mattress. You can wipe it off after you are done identifying the leaks and dry the mattress later.

Locate the leak with the help of a permanent marker as it won’t bleed over the wet surface of the air mattress. You can towel dry the mattress to locate the mark easily or use a felt marker or duct tape to make the mark more prominent.

Dry out the mattress by keeping it in the wind or place it under the direct sunlight for one or two hours. Keep in mind that the seam will take a long time to dry. If you forget to dry the mattress and store it, this will result in mildew or mold formation. So make sure it is 100% dry before you store it. It should be completely dried to use the adhesive patch for repairing it.

Inspect The Air Mattress

Inspect it visually while the mattress is completely inflated. You can easily visualize a small pinpoint hole if your mattress is fully inflated. Make sure to perform this method in the direct source of light.

Perform the method systematically, by inspecting the upper part of the mattress, then its sides and then inspect the undersides. Make sure to look for holes in the seams as it is the commonest site for tears.

Move your palm slowly over the mattress and feel the escape of air against the skin. Wet your hand with cool water and now feel the air escape as the increased evaporation rate will make you feel colder.

Apply firm pressure with your palm over the mattress and inspect the leaks with your ears placed along the mattress surface. The ears are sensitive to hear the sound of the escaping air when there are large holes.

Mark the leak in the same manner as mentioned above and ask the manufacturers to repair your air mattress.

Submerge The Mattress

Check your mattress label as it is directed by some manufacturers to avoid submerging the air mattress. The fabric gets saturated if you immerse it for long duration in the water. If the mattress is saturated with water, the seams result in deterioration which might also lead to the separation of the protective coating from the synthetic fabrics.

Inflate the mattress partially with air so that you can inspect the air bubbles escaping under the water.

Now submerge the valve stem in the bathtub or pool which is filled with water, but the valves should be closed. Apply slight pressure over the valve stem to force out any air from the valve.

Submerge the parts of fabric underneath the water to inspect for air bubbles escaping from the hole or leak. Do this in bits and pieces to identify the smallest area of leak in the air mattress.

Dry the mattress as mentioned above and repeat the steps to mark the area clearly. However, this method has a disadvantage of risking the air mattress to mold formation as the mattress cannot be completely dried from inside when submerged.

You may like to read about How to Choose a Mattress Fit for You?

Garden Hose Method

Utilize an outdoor table to perform this method. If you are using a wooden table then cover it with a newspaper, blanket or vinyl tablecloth as it is quite messy to wet a wooden table. In this method, you need to utilize the hose which uses a lot of water.

You can make use of a patio or deck to perform this method. Hook up the garden hose, now flood the air mattress with water especially around the valve area. Move slowly to inspect the minor leak and concentrate on the escape of air from the leaks. Inspect the valve completely to make sure it is properly sealed.

Make sure to look at the seams as it is the most common site for holes or tears. Mark the area as mentioned above after drying out the air mattress completely.


Finding a leak in the air mattress is a daunting task. Sometimes the holes are large and easily visible while at other times they are pinprick size and very difficult to view with the naked eye. 80% of the air mattresses lead to problems for the customers due to their punctures if you use sharp objects or it is exposed to the pet claws.

The most common location for the leak is stress point or seams so make sure to verify them initially before inspecting the entire mattress. The methods to find a leak in the air mattress will help you find out the leaks in 99% of the cases.

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