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How to Find a Leak in an Air Mattress

An air mattress is basically an inflated sack made of rubber or plastic. Most of the air mattresses are made up of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) which is a type of a polymer, while other mattresses are also made of rubber. Air mattresses are inflated by pumping air into their valve with a pump or manually by mouth. These can be deflated when not in use in order to be stored easily without consuming a large amount.

They have many uses in daily life. For example, they can be taken along on camping trips for a more comfortable night of sleeping, a convenient option for when guests sleep over, or for fun with kids using it as a water toy. Air mattresses are also useful for people who suffer from back pain since the design can adjust itself according to body shape and weight.

However, special care has to be taken to avoid leakage in air mattresses as they are prone to developing holes. Air mattresses can be used for long-term when proper precautions are taken. A hole in an air mattress can be detected in a variety of ways.

The Best Ways to Locate a Leak in an Air Mattress

Research shows that almost 80% of air mattress problems are due to the punctures. These can minimize the life of the mattress as well as can be irritating when trying to use an air mattress. Maintenance and proper care must be taken to make air mattresses last longer. There is no way sure way to prevent holes because it depends on where the mattress is placed. The bottom surface may be rough, or the quality of the air mattress may be lacking. However, the holes can be detected at an early stage to avoid further loss and damage. Here are a few ways you can find a hole in your air mattress:

Using a piece of tissue paper

Any leak in the mattress can be found easily in minutes using a piece of tissue paper or foil. To do so, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Inflate your air mattress until it is full. Make sure that you are in a quiet area to test. Step 2: Place the piece of the tissue paper over the surface of the mattress starting from any corner.
  • Step 3: Listen for any hissing sound. Sitting on the mattress will help let out the air through the hole and to locate the hole.
  • Step 4: Continue to check the entire surface by drawing the piece of tissue paper over all the sides of the mattress.
  • Step 5: Once you find the where the hissing noise is coming from and where the hole is, place a mark next to it.

Using dishwashing soap or liquid solution:

Dishwashing soap can be used to detect holes in your mattress. However, this method is most suited for bigger holes. For this method, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Remove all the bedding from your mattress.
  • Step 2: Move into a wide open space with adequate lighting.
  • Step 3: Inflate your mattress all the way.
  • Step 4: Begin by inspecting where the valve is, since that is where most holes occur. For this:
  • Step 4.1: The valve plug should be completely inserted into the stem of the valve.
  • Step 4.2: If there is a problem with the valve, the hole will be unable to be patched.
  • Step 4.3: Once the valve is properly inserted, it is now time to look for the holes in the mattress.
  • Step 5: Fill a spray bottle with warm water and add liquid dish soap. Mix thoroughly to form a complete solution where bubbles will begin to form.
  • Step 6: Spray the solution on all sides of the mattress. If there is are any holes in the area being sprayed, it will automatically form a bubble.
  • Step 7: Spray around the valve and if there are any bubbles forming, check again to see if the seal is broken and there are any holes there.
  • Step 8: Look for holes in proper light, where the bubbles form.
  • Step 9: Mark the hole by using a marker.
  • Step 10: Let your mattress dry first before you can repair it.

Using your hands

You can use your hands to look for the holes and leakage in the mattress. For this purpose,

  • Step 1: Inflate your air mattress completely.
  • Step 2: Make sure that the room or any place where you are checking is properly lit.
  • Step 3: Move your hands all over the mattress by applying a little pressure. Any area having hole will release air, and you will feel it in your hands, or you will be able to hear a hissing sound.
  • Step 4: Another trick is that you can wet your hands continuously while checking. This way, you will feel the cold air on your skin and will be able to detect the hole easier.
  • Step 5: Slowly move your hands around all the sides of the mattress.
  • Step 6: Once you have found the hole, mark the location and deflate the mattress so that it may be repaired.

Checking leakage visually

One of the simplest methods for checking holes in an air mattress is by visual inspection. This requires a fully lit area where you are inspecting.

  • Step 1: Place a completely inflated mattress somewhere in your home, office, etc., where there is adequate light.
  • Step 2: Start from the bottom of the mattress where leaks most commonly occur.
  • Step 3: Carefully look for any holes on the surface of the mattress. The hole may be small and difficult to see.
  • Step 4: Press your hands against the surface of the mattress. You will easily be able to detect the area of the hole from where a hissing sound or air is coming from.

Submerging air mattress in a tub

Another method of finding a hole in your air mattress includes submerging it in the bathtub filled with water. For this option, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Partially inflate the air mattress. Make sure the value of the mattress is completely sealed so that no air passes through.
  • Step 2: Dip your mattress into the water by sections and apply pressure on each section.
  • Step 3: If there is a hole in that section that is dipped in water, bubbles will appear.
  • Step 4: Take the section out of the water and look for the hole where bubbles formed.
  • Step 5: Before repairing, allow the mattress to dry. After that, you can do the patchwork to close all the holes.

These are the methods which can be used to check for a hole in an air mattress. Some methods involve getting the mattress wet, so be sure to read the safety instructions to see if the mattress can get wet.


Air mattresses are a good way to have a comfortable option when you are on the go. They don’t consume much space when deflated and can be easily stored anywhere. They are multi-purpose and used all over the world.

Finding holes can be difficult, but the methods mentioned above should enable you to find the holes easily. Special care should be taken when owning an air mattress since their material can easily get holes. To avoid getting holes in your air mattress, keep it on a smooth surface. Using water in order to find holes can be damaging as there is the possibility that mold could grow when not dried properly.

It is best to invest in a high-quality air mattress rather than to spend time and energy repairing multiple lower quality ones. Better to purchase one of good quality than to waste your money and energy on a cheaper one. You can also ask your seller about the proper methods that should be taken to repair it.