How To Find a Leak in an Air Mattress (And What To Do Once You Find It)
Air mattresses are great when it comes to convenience, portability, and usability. They offer an excellent place for guests to sleep, or a comfortable bed for a night camping.
Even the best air mattress can be prone to leaks. Finding the leaks can prove challenging, especially if you're not entirely sure what you're doing.
Well, we have good news! We're here to help!
Here is the most effective way to find a hole in an air mattress.
Before you can find the leak, you first need to give yourself adequate light and space to move around an inspect the mattress. If you're camping, the best place to do this is inside a well-lit tent, away from wind noise.
Once you have a good spot picked out, inflate the air mattress as much as it can go without being over-inflated. You want the mattress to be firm, but obviously don't want to worsen the leak or cause the air mattress to burst.
Now that you've got the air mattress leak detection area set up, it's time to start searching!
The "shut up and listen" Method
If you don't have access to running water or soap-like if you're camping, the "shut up and listen" approach to finding the leak in your air mattress is your best bet.
As the name suggests, find the quietest area possible and get your ear very close to the air mattress. First, inspect the valve area, listening closely for any whistling or sounds of air moving.
If the valve area is fine, move onto the seams. These two areas are by far the two most common areas for an air mattress to leak. If you don't see any visible abrasions on your mattress, odds are the leak is either on the valve or the seams.
If you've pressed your ear up against all the seams and valves of the air mattress, its time to move on to the other areas to locate the leak, take your time, the hole has to be somewhere!
If you have access to more tools, the next method is much easier and quicker.
If you're not having much luck, you may want to consider buying a new mattress. Check out our list of the best air mattresses for camping.
The Soapy Water Method
If you have access to soap, water, and a small spray bottle, this method is much quicker and easier than simply listening for the leak.
Fill the spray bottle with mostly water and a dash of dish soap, or any other bubbly soap. Shake the bottle, so everything mixes together and begin by spraying the most common areas for leaks - the valves and the seams.
The soapy water will bubble if there's air escaping, so go slow and watch carefully after you spray an area.
Once you've found the leak, mark it with a permanent marker or a bit of tape. This makes it much easier to find it again in the future.
If you're confident, you've found all the leaks in your mattress, wet down a towel with water to wash away the soap.
Leave the air mattress outside to dry for a few hours. If you put the mattress away while it's wet, you're almost guaranteeing that you'll have mold/mildew problems in the future.
Patching An Air Mattress
Never try to Macgyver patch your air mattress. Each mattress is different, and most manufacturers either offer instructions on how to patch the mattress, may suggest you send it in for repair or sell brand-specific patches.
You want to make sure the repair will last you a long time, so don't skip this step. Look up the brand of air mattress you have and see what specific steps you need to do in order to get it patched correctly.
When it comes to air mattresses, you should expect a leak at some point. Even the highest quality air mattresses will degrade over time and become susceptible to leaks.
If your air mattress deflates within a few hours of being blown up, the best way to fix it is to find it, then follow the steps given by the manufacturer to patch it properly.
Now Its Your Turn!
Have you had issues with an air mattress deflating? Did you have another method for finding and repairing the leak?
Let us know in the comments section below!
Courtney is the reason The Sleep Shop exists. She’s a Seattle native with a passion for healthy sleep. She graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a major in marketing. She started The Sleep Shop to help friends and family choose a good mattress, and helped grow the site to what it is today. She does most of the product testing and reviews.