How to Find a Hole in an Air Mattress?

Romeo Vitelli
Romeo Vitelli
Expert Writer
Received his doctorate in Psychology in 1987, spent fifteen years as a staff psychologist in Millbrook Correctional Centre. In 2003 went into full-time private practice. read more
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Medical Advisory Team
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Includes well-known professionals, who together provide decades of sleep medicine experience that enables Talk About Sleep to fulfill its mission of creating access to high- read more
Last updated: August 31, 2023
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Air mattresses are convenient and useful items to have in the house, and they are lifesavers whenever you have guests at your place overnight. Not only are they easy to use, but you can also deflate them for easy storage. However, the smallest leak in your air mattress can prove a nightmare and can have your guest sleeping flat on the floor when the morning arrives.

If you have come here, this means you need to learn how to find a hole in an air mattress. Maybe you have a cat that scratches it, in which case you will probably start looking at cat-proof air mattresses. We have come up with a simple guide that helps you in finding a hole in your air mattress so that you can fix it quickly before someone has to sleep on it.

Find a suitable place to observe a mattress

How to Find a Hole in an Air Mattress?When observing an air mattress for leaks and holes, it is important to place it in a space that is free from any sharp corners or objects because you wouldn’t want your mattress to get damaged while you are actually searching for leaks. Another thing you need to consider about the place to observe a mattress is that it should have no wind or drafts that can move the mattress around. If you are outdoors, you can use the back of your trailer or camper or take the mattress inside a tent for inspection.

Once you have secured the location, place your air mattress and remove all bedding and sheets. Then, fill up the mattress with air to its maximum capacity with a pump, and be careful not to overfill it, as it may cause the mattress to burst or more leaks may develop. Now it is time for you to begin the search.

Most frequent leak places

Finding a leak or hole inside an air mattress is like finding a needle in a haystack, especially if you don’t have adequate light in your room. Therefore, choose a place where you have sufficient light so that you can inspect the surface of the mattress closely and properly. There are some common places in air mattresses where a small hole or leak often develops after you use the mattress or store it away for a long time.

The most common leakage points in air mattresses are around the seams or the valve area. Usually, a visual inspection will help you locate the point from where the air is leaking, but if this doesn’t do the trick, there are different methods you can explore one by one.

Methods of finding leaks

How to Find a Hole in an Air Mattress?All of the methods of finding leaks that you come across are quite simple and don’t require any advanced equipment or items that you might not have around the house. While checking your air mattress for leaks, your first and foremost goal should be to protect it from any further damage or tears, which is why you have to be careful with it.

Visual inspection

The first thing to do with your air mattress is to fill it with air and search for holes with your eyes. Usually, the valves or seams start to rip off, and that is where the air is usually coming out of. However, if you can’t find any sort of hole, then it may be too small to be detected using this method. If this method doesn’t yield results, you can move on to the next one.

Apply some pressure to it

The next step involves applying downward pressure on your air mattress. While it is still filled with air, push the mattress downwards and use your hand to feel around the surface of the mattress. You can start from one corner and slowly cover the entire surface until you find the leak. If there is a hole from which air is escaping, you will feel the air gushing out of it on your hand. However, this method might also not help you detect the hole from where the air is leaking out, following which you can move on to the next step.

Try to hear the hissing sound

If you have a quiet environment, you can also listen carefully for any hissing sound that may come from the air leaking from the air mattress. Typically, whenever there is a leak in any air-filled item, there will be a hissing sound when pressure is applied to it. You can place your ear close to the surface of the mattress and start to move around. As you get closer to the hole, the hissing sound will grow louder and more discernable. Once your ear is just above the leakage spot, you can also feel the cold air on your ear.

Use soapy water

How to Find a Hole in an Air Mattress?If the physical or visual inspection doesn’t reveal the leak, you can try some of the more advanced methods. You can pour soapy water or dish soap solution inside a spray bottle and spray it all over the surface of your air mattress. For this method, you will need to have the mattress fully inflated. You can start with spraying it at the valve and slowly moving away from it.

Leaking air will expand the soapy bubbles, and it will be easier for you to spot them than a simple visual inspection for holes in the air mattress. Make sure to be on eye level with the surface of the mattress so that you can closely observe any small bubbles.

Submerge it in your bath

Another way to find a hole in an air mattress is to submerge it into a bathtub full of water, but for this, you need to have a partially filled mattress. Also, make sure the mattress is waterproof. Otherwise, it can get ruined. Try to get most of the mattress submerged in the water, especially the valve and the seams. The escaping air from the hole will cause bubbles in the water and tell you where exactly the leak is. However, this method will require you to dry up the mattress completely and make sure it doesn’t have any water inside before you start to patch it up.

Tissue paper method

The list of methods that you can use to find a leak in your air mattress doesn’t end here because you can also use a less messy way to find out where your mattress is leaking from. This involves you filling up the air mattress as much as you can and then placing pieces of tissue paper or any other light paper on various spots on the mattress.

Then, you can start applying pressure on the mattress with your fingers, which will cause the air inside it to push outwards from the hole, and if any of the tissue papers are on the hole, this will cause it to push upwards. However, this method can only be applied if you have little to no draft in the room.

Add some weight to it

One uncommon method that you can try to find a hole in an air mattress is to inflate it and place a weighted object on it, like a paperweight or book. You can place it anywhere at random and observe how quickly the mattress deflates. If it deflates quicker than normal, the hole is quite close to the area where you placed the weight, and you will have a small section you can search. However, this process might take a few tries before you can actually find the leak, which is why it is one of the least used methods.

Sprinkle water with the garden hose

How to Find a Hole in an Air Mattress?Next up on our list is the garden hose method, which is quite similar to the bathtub method. You can sprinkle water all over the surface of the air mattress and observe if the bubbles are forming anywhere on it. If you notice any bubbles, you will have successfully found the leak. However, you will have to use a low flow of water; otherwise, you won’t be able to notice the bubbles since they might be quite small. You will also need to distinguish the water bubbles from those made by the air mattress. To solve this problem, you can use a water bucket instead of a garden hose.

Try baby powder

If you want to find the hole in your air mattress quickly and don’t mind making a mess, you can sprinkle baby powder all over the surface of the mattress. Soon enough, the air flowing out of the hole will cause the powder to blow up and create a cloud, which will help you locate the leak quickly. Before you get to fixing the leak, you will have to spend some time cleaning up the mess.

What to do with those leaks?

How to Find a Hole in an Air Mattress?Now that you have found a leak in your air mattress using the above methods, what do you do now? The first thing you need to do is to mark the hole with a piece of tape or a bright-colored marker so that you don’t lose track of it again. Again, you have to be careful not to puncture the air mattress with the pen or marker you use.

The next step involves patching up the hole to fix the leak, and you need a sealing material that sticks to the surface and doesn’t let air pass at all. You can find mattress repair kits from any hardware shop and stick the patch on top of the hole. Also, these products can be found online, like the Aqua Pro PVC Stitch kit.

You will have to ensure that the area around the patch is clean and dry so that the adhesive can stick properly and create a seal. Once the adhesive dries up, you can refill the mattress with air and check if there are any leaks.

Definite No-No’s

The first and foremost thing to consider is that you should start with the easiest and most mess-free method so that if it works, you can save yourself a lot of time and mess. Next, you should always avoid any materials or solutions that can damage the surface of the mattress. Also, if you are using the soapy water method mentioned above, don’t ever think of replacing it with any other sticky solution, like lotion or moisturizer. Not only will it deter your inspection, but it can also damage your mattress.

Final thoughts

While you are wondering how to find a leak in an air mattress, you might also have to consider the fact that your air mattress might have more than one hole, which means that it can be quite difficult or even impossible to repair. In such cases, it is best to save yourself the time and look for a suitable replacement. According to experts, here are  some of the best air mattresses Trusted Source The best air mattresses, according to experts - The Washington Post With the holidays on the horizon, it’s time to get guest-ready. That means testing out that old air mattress — and maybe finding a new one.  you can buy. One strong and durable option is the SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress, made from premium quality materials and doesn’t tear or rip easily.

If you are confident that you can patch up your air mattress and stop the leak, you have to be careful in handling and prop it up for inspection. Otherwise, you are at the risk of damaging it even further.


The best air mattresses, according to experts - The Washington Post
With the holidays on the horizon, it’s time to get guest-ready. That means testing out that old air mattress — and maybe finding a new one.
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