How To Find a Leak in an Air Mattress

Are you wondering why your air mattress is becoming flat or deflating? This is probably because there is a leak in it. In this article, we will show you how to find a leak in an air mattress.

Finding a leak in an air mattress can be a daunting task. It requires patience, endurance, and most importantly, sensitivity.

how to find a leak in an air mattress
The Sleep Judge, Flickr. com

Be that as it may, an air mattress is flexible as well as comfortable for sleeping. This is because it contains air which is pumped in through its valve.

Air mattress is an inflatable sleeping pad that serves the same purpose as traditional mattresses.  It has a peculiar nature and is made up of textile-reinforced rubber or polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC.

It can be used conveniently in emergencies. Also, it can be used as camp beds because of its lightweight and portability.

It is important to note that an air mattress is delicate and if not properly handled can be faced with hazards. Most commonly, it experiences leaks. A leak, no matter how small, can deflate the mattress. It is therefore important to always check for leaks before using it.

To find a leak on an Air mattress, remove the mattress cover. Move the mattress to an open and quiet space. Inflate the mattress using an air pump. Check the edges, seams, and valve first. Proceed to check the bottom and the top systematically. Use your tongue to feel and your ear to listen for escaping air. Do this carefully and consciously until the leak is found. 

What Causes Leaks in Air Mattresses?

Leaks in air mattresses can be caused by the following:

1. Improper handling

2. Temperature change

3. Excess pressure

4. Design

5. Opening of the valve

6. Inadequate maintenance

How to Find a Leak in An Air Mattress—Materials and Tools Needed

To find a leak in an air mattress, you need the following:

  1. Open space
  2. Flat surface
  3. Air pump
  4. Spray bottle
  5. Towel
  6. Liquid cleaning solution or dish-washing soap
  7. Permanent marker or Duct tape
  8. Tissue paper
  9. White   powder
  10. Bathtub
  11. Quiet environment

These materials are largely dependent on the method you decide to use. However, the uses of these materials will be discussed briefly below.

Open Space

Open space means a space that is free from obstacles or obstructions. A workable area that can provide an adequate chance for you to maneuver as you search for leaks on your mattress.

You should make sure that this space is clean and serene.

Flat Surface

Flat surfaces are usually best to help you find a leak on the air mattress. This is to provide a suitable platform. If you do not have a flat surface, you can as well use the floor or any surface comfortable and suitable for you. 

Air pump

Air pumps are used to produce the air that is required for inflating your air mattress. It is a machine that is affixed to the valve. This enables air to be pumped into the mattress.

If there is a leak, the air in the mattress will not be sufficient to find out where it is. This is because the air mattress is no longer balanced.

Air pumps, therefore, make it easier and faster for air mattresses to be inflated. There exist some self-inflating air mattresses that do not require the use of air pumps.

Buy Electric Air Pump on Amazon

Spray Bottle

This usually provides ease when looking for leaks using the soap method. It helps to regulate the quantity of liquid that will be used in the process.

The size of the spray bottles you use depends on your choice and convenience. Your spray nozzle can be in the form of a shower can that has a regulator. 


This is majorly used to wipe the surface of the air mattress from dirt or debris after finding the leak.

It helps to prepare the surface of the leak for patching. It is always best to use a cotton towel. This is because paper towels might leave some particles behind after cleaning.               

Liquid cleaning solution or Dish-washing soap

This is used in the soap method to find a leak on an air mattress. This can be used to identify a leak on it. As a result of the delicate nature of air mattresses, they require the use of mild detergent. It should not contain ingredients that can be harsh and dangerous.

Look out for cleaning solutions that contain surfactants, enzymes, foam regulators, formulation aids, optical binders, linoleum, and other ingredients that make it suitable for air mattresses. Try not to use a cleaning solution of low quality as this can damage your air mattress.

Buy All Purpose Cleaning Solution on Amazon

Permanent Marker

This is used to mark the spot of the leak after it has been discovered. It makes it easy to identify the affected area on the air mattress.

Alternatively, you can use duct tape to make it easier. The primary objective is to mark the leaking spot after deflating the mattress. This is because patching cannot be done on an inflated air mattress.

You can use a color slightly different from your air mattress. This is important so as not to cause a dissimilarity of colors on the air mattress.

Tissue Paper

This is used for the tissue paper method of finding a leak on an air mattress. It is a light, flexible, and soft paper that is mostly used as a toiletry. Surprising as it may seem, it can also be used to find leaks on air mattresses. 

White powder

This is used in the powder method of finding leaks on air mattresses. It is readily available in stores and supermarkets. And it provides an easy way to find leaks on air mattresses.


This is majorly used in the submerging method. It serves as an avenue to hold water that the air mattress will be submerged in.

If you have a swimming pool, it can also be used as a submerging option to find a leak on the air mattress. 

Quiet Environment

This is particularly important to find a leak on the air mattress. This is because it is a tricky process that requires commitment, alertness, consciousness, and sensitivity.

In a quiet and serene environment, you will be able to detect the slightest sound or movement from the air mattress. It is therefore necessary that you choose an environment free from noise and distractions. 

How to Find a Leak in an Air Mattress – Basic Steps

You can find a leak in an air mattress by following these steps:

Step 1: Strip the air mattress of the bed covering or bed cover

Step 2: Move it to open space. This will help you maneuver around the air mattress

Step 3: Inflate the air mattress with an air pump; make sure you do not over inflate it. It should be about 90% full. This creates an allowance for you to detect escaping air.

 Step 4: Check the edges, seams, and valves. There could be a tear or leak around the valves or seams.

Step 5: Flip the mattress to the bottom and check it carefully

Step 6: Inspect the air mattress using the hand and ear technique

Step 7: Proceed to use other techniques until the leak is found.

Step 8: Mark the spot with a permanent marker or duct tape

Step 9: Deflate the air mattress. This will enable you to patch the leak comfortably

Step 10: Patch the air mattress. This is done with the aid of a patching kit.

Video Title: How To Find A Leak And Patch An Air Bed Mattress Correctly

This video shows how to find a leak in an air mattress.

Alternative Ways To Find A Leak In An Air Mattress

There are other ways you can find out if there is a leak in your air mattress. You can employ these methods:

1. Soap and water method

2. Decibel App method

3. Garden hose method

4. Submerging method

5. Inspection method or Feel method

6. Smoke method

7. White Powder method

These methods can be combined in one way or the other until the leak is found. You should know that there is no one-method-fits-all approach when it comes to finding a leak on the mattress. 

You should also check out the user’s guide of the air mattress to know which method will be more suitable for it. The brand or design, size, and quality of your air mattress go a long way to influence the choice of technique that will be used to find a leak on it.

The methods and techniques will be discussed extensively as you read on.

Soap and Water Method

This method of finding leaks involves using a mixture of a liquid cleaning solution or dish soap and water. To use this method, do the following:

1. Mix warm water and liquid soap

2. Pour into a spray bottle

3. Move the air mattress to an open space, if possible, a quiet place outside.

4. Inflate the mattress with an air pump

5. Spray the sides, edges, and valves. The leak might be around this area

6. Move to the bottom and top of the air mattress.

7. Check for bubbles and foams on any area as you spray

8. After identifying the spot, mark with a marker, chalk, or duct tape

9. Deflate and dry for about 30minutes before you proceed with patching.

This method can be messy at times, especially if the leak is hidden. It is particularly effective for finding leaks. It is also one of the oldest methods. However, not all air mattresses can use this method.

Decibel App Method

This is one of the most recent and easiest ways to find a leak on the air mattress. To use this method, do these:

`i. Download the Decibel App with your smartphone

ii. Move the air mattress to a cool and quiet place

iii. Inflate the air mattress

iv. Run the decibel app, and move the phone through the surface, valves, seams, and edges of the mattress

v. Be observant as your phone will vibrate if it detects any sound coming from the mattress

vi. Locate the spot and mark with a marker or duct tape

vii. Deflate and proceed with patching using a patch kit.

This is a dry method of searching for leaks on an air mattress. 

Garden Hose Technique or Method

This method is almost the same as the soap and water method. You can use this method by following these steps:

  1. Get a flat surface like a wooden table outside the house or the patio. 
  2. Move the air mattress to the flat surface
  3. Position a hose and flowing water to spray on the air mattress
  4. Inflate the mattress with an air pump
  5. Spray water on surface starting from the valves
  6. Move to the seams, edges, bottom, and surface systematically
  7. Look out for bubbles, foams, or sound from the mattress
  8. After identifying the spot, dry the area with a towel.
  9. Mark the spot with a marker or duct tape
  10. Leave it to dry in sunlight before deflating and patching it.

This method may not produce many bubbles like the soap and water method. You must therefore be very observant before the bubbles disappear. This method is also susceptible to the brand and design of the air mattress. This is because not all air mattresses can be sprayed with excess water. 

Submerging Method

A leak can be found on an air mattress by submerging it into a pool or bathtub. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Fill your bathtub with enough water, if it can contain your air mattress or rather use a swimming pool
  • Inflate the air mattress with an air pump
  • Submerge the air mattress in water halfway. Do this carefully so as not to allow excess water into the mattress
  • Leave for 1 minute and bring it out. 
  • Observe the seams, edges, valves, and every part of the mattress carefully
  • Look out for bubbles and streams. If you notice any, that is the spot.
  • Dry with a towel and mark the spot with a marker or duct tape
  • Leave to dry before deflating and patching

The submerging method requires extra care and caution. This is because if excess water gets into the mattress, it will take a long time to dry. Also, it may lead to the growth of algae, mold, or mildew inside the air mattress. 

Inspection or Feel Method

This technique is the most common and simplest. It can be done in two ways – using the hands and the tongue. You can follow these steps:

1. Remove the bed covering on it

2. Move it to an incredibly quiet and neat open space

3. Inflate it

4. Place your hand and ears 2 – 3inches away from it

5. Carefully check the valves, seams, and edges

6. Listen with rapt attention for any sound of air leakage

7. Flip to the bottom and do the same

8. Continue until you can feel the air on your palm or hear a sound

9. Mark the spot with a marker or duct tape

10. Deflate and patch the leak with a patch kit.

Alternatively, instead of using your palms, place your tongue 2-3 inches away from it, move around the edges, seams, and valves until you can feel the moisture on your tongue. You can also request the assistance of someone. This will make it easier to confirm the leaking spot.

Smoke Method

This technique involves incorporating smoke alongside air when the mattress is being inflated. For this technique, do the following:

  • Get a smoke machine or smoke maker
  • Move the air mattress to an open space
  • Inflate the air mattress and generate smoke simultaneously 
  • Fill it with enough smoke. This is to ensure that it does not dissipate before the leak is found
  • Shut the valve tightly
  • Observe every part of mattress diligently to find any sign of escaping smoke
  • Mark the spot and deflate
  • Patch with a patching kit.

This technique might seem difficult, but if done properly, it can effectively be used to find the leak on it. However, the disadvantage of this process is the possibility of trapping enough smoke into the mattress. It could also be risky and affect the durability of your air mattress.

White Powder Method

The white powder method involves coating it with powder in a bid to find the leak on it. To use this method, do these:

  • Move the mattress to an open space
  • Deflate it and smear with white powder around the seams, edges, valves, and surface
  • Pump air into it gradually with an air pump
  • After filling it, observe the surface of the mattress
  • Look out for signs of a splash or splatter of air on the powdered mattress. That is possibly the leaking spot.
  • Mark the spot with a duct tape
  • Deflate again and patch with a patching kit.

This technique can be quite stressful and messy. However, depending on the size of the air mattress, it can be quite easy. It also requires careful observation and sharp eyes to identify where there is a sign on it.

How Can You Prevent a Leak in an Air Mattress?

You can prevent a leak in an air mattress by doing the following:

1. Adequate Maintenance: This involves having a good storage space for it when not in use.

2. Using a Space Heater: Air mattresses deflate when the air in them is condensed due to temperature change. A space heater will make the temperature warm, causing it to retain its shape.

3. Stick to the user’s guide: Air mattresses come with manuals guiding usage. This will enable you to know the dos and don’ts of the mattress.

4. Avoid placing excess pressure on your air mattress. 

5. Do not open the valve often. This will prevent the valve from wearing out on time. Make sure it is properly sealed after filling with air.

You can get a space heater to always keep the environment warm.

Buy Oscillating Space Heater on Amazon

Here are some detailed articles you may find useful:

How to Find a Leak in An Air Mattress- 4 Helpful Tips

Here are some helpful tips when finding a leak in an air mattress.

  1. Check out the warranty of the air mattress. If it has not expired, you can as well return it to the manufacturer.
  2. Understand the way your air mattress works.
  3. Allow your mattress to stretch for at least 48 hours before using it
  4. Always place your mattress in a place free from any object that can cause leaks on it.

In conclusion, having discussed how to find a leak in an air mattress, you can decide to choose quality brands or designs that are less susceptible to leaks or holes. You can also try using self-inflating air mattresses.

As stated earlier, finding a leak in an air mattress is not quite difficult, if you can follow the procedures judiciously.

How to Find a Leak in An Air Mattress — Related FAQs

Should you deflate an Air Mattress Daily?

An air mattress should not be deflated daily. It can remain inflated for at least 2-3 days. This is because inflating and deflating your air mattress daily can cause tension on the valves, edges, and seams.

You can make your air mattress last longer by giving it room and enough space. This can as well affect the durability and quality of your air mattress.

Also, the valve can begin to wear out with constant opening and re-opening. As much as possible, do not deflate your air mattress daily.

Why are Air Mattresses So Uncomfortable?

Air mattresses can become uncomfortable because of a change in temperature. At night when the temperature changes and becomes cooler, the air in the mattress condenses.  As a result, the air mattress can lose its shape making it uncomfortable for you.

Continuous usage of air mattresses daily can also be uncomfortable. It can cause back pain, stiffness, or general body pains.

To make it more comfortable, you can make use of a space heater while using it. This will help to stabilize the temperature as you use it as night.

How Do I Stop My Air Mattress from Deflating?

To stop your mattress from deflating, do the following:

  1. Buy a quality brand or type of air mattress
  2. Inflate it with an air pump 
  3. Do not over-inflate it 
  4. Leave it for about 48 hours without using it. This will give it room to stretch out.
  5. When using it, keep it inflated 
  6. Deflate it when not in use
  7. Store in a good storage space
  8. Do not use it for a prolonged period
  9. Avoid exerting excess pressure on it
  10. Lie in a proper position while using an air mattress. Avoid sitting on it, as this might cause pressure on only one area of the mattress.

How can I Fix a Hole in An Air Mattress?

Fixing a hole in an air mattress is not difficult if the hole has been discovered. You can do this by following these simple steps:

  1. Get your patching kit ready. This contains scissors, adhesive or glue, patch, and clean towel
  2. Deflate your mattress after identifying the hole
  3. Clean the spot with a clean towel and soapy water
  4. Cut out the patch you want to use
  5. Rub the glue or adhesive on it
  6. Place it on the hole. Make sure it dries and sticks perfectly to the air mattress.
  7. Re-inflate the mattress and check for any area that still needs to be patched.

With these steps, fixing a hole in your air mattress will be easier and faster.

Buy Air Mattress Patch Kit on Amazon

Can Duct tape be used to Fix an Air Mattress?

Duct tapes are used to temporarily fix an air mattress.  This is because it is sticky and can serve as an improvised glue to fix an air mattress.

Duct tapes are so handy and can be used to cover holes or leaks that are not too porous. The glue in duct tapes cannot permanently stick to plastics. They can wear out or dry out over time.

However, in cases of emergencies, they can serve as a quick alternative to fix your air mattress.

How Long Does an Air Mattress Last?

An air mattress can last for more than 10 years or more. It is an asset that can last long if properly maintained.

The durability and lasting force of an air mattress depend largely on the design or brand, temperature, level of use, good storage, proper maintenance, and adequate care. Make sure you deflate it when it is not in use.

A good air mattress can, therefore, be used for a minimum of 8 years before a new one can be acquired.

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