How to find leaks in an air mattress?

If you ever experienced your air mattress slowly deflate and became inconvenient and less supportive in the middle of the night then you already know it is not a good experience to hold on.

To search for a leak in an air bed might seem like an exhausting task. Maybe the leak is bigger and easy to spot, but often it tends to be nothing more than a pin-sized one which is not much noticeable for the naked eyes. More likely you will find the leak in a seam or stress point unless your bedding has already been exposed to sharp things or pet claws. As a matter of fact, there are plenty of ways to find where the hole is directed in your bed.

Before you start trying the steps we will talk about in this article you should check for seals or caps. Because any kind of bad seal or a crooked cap is possible of making a leak which will release a significant amount of air in a short period. You need to listen carefully for any hissing sound to find any seals and caps while you attempt to force the air pressure towards them.

Table of contents

  1. Check for the normal deflation first
  2. How to find any leak in an air mattress?
  3. How to cover up a hole in an air mattress?

Check for normal deflation first

No air mattress stays inflated for a long time. Slowly, they will always let the air out. But new products tend to deflate much quicker on the first night as their materials stretch and adjust in place. Remember that this situation is not an issue because it is normal.

Until you find any leak to resolve, your bed should be able to stay totally inflated over the night. But if you see any deflation happens just a few hours after you have inflated it then it is possible that there is a hole somewhere.

How to find any leak in an air mattress?

Before you place your air bed you will need to be careful to consider keeping it safe from sharp objects that are capable of puncturing the rubber or plastic material. When you finally find the leak, you need to mark it and then try to repair it before the condition gets worse.

There is a chance most of the time you will find the hole near the valve, so at first check there. You also have to ensure the fact that the valve is secured enough before you start checking for the leak. If you miss this step then the air will likely breakout from the areas around the valve.

Check with your eyes

This step is the simplest of all and the most obvious one. You will need to begin by inflating your bed in a bright or well-lit room. Natural lights are the best choice for the matter. Then look closely and attentively the whole portion of your mattress including both sides and bottom.

You need to be slow and careful while looking to find any punctures. Still, if you are not being able to find any hole or leak you can sit on your bedding and concentrate to hear for a hissing sound which will indicate that there is an outbreak of air.

Use your hands

The second step is to use your hands to look for leakage or holes in your mattress. After inflating the air bed in a well-lit room try to listen for the hissing sound of escaping air. Then try to feel the area around where the sound seems to be coming from. When you find the leak you need to mark it with a piece of tape.

Dish soap

Using dish soap to identify the affected area of your bedding is a good idea, but it works best mostly on bigger leaks. You need to fill a spray bottle with a bit of liquid soap and warm water and then shake it a bit to make some bubbles. Then as like other steps after inflating the air bed, spray the water over the whole surface.

Then spray some more around the valve area in the mattress and look closely for any bubbles to form and if you see one then it means there is a hole. Again, mark the spot with a piece of tape. Then let the bed dry for a while before you start repairing it.

Use tissue

A piece of tissue paper will come handy in this case. You may use one to look for a leak in your air bed. After making your bed you can start in one corner by putting a piece of tissue paper on the surface. Then sit on it to listen for a hissing sound in case of any air escapes. You can draw the tissue paper over each side of the mattress to search for the leak. If there is any leak then you will see the tissue is moving.

Water method

To do this step, first, fill your bathtub with water and then follow the steps below. You need to inflate the bed partially, then dip the sections of it in the tub. You have to apply pressure to parts of the material to force the air out from any existing leaks.

If the submerged section has a leak on it then you will clearly see bubbles coming out. After finding the hole, mark it and let it dry for a while before repairing the bed.

All these steps we have discussed above are pretty simple and easy to carry with, and they are also safe to check your air mattress for any sort of leak or hole. Though, before following these methods you need to check the instruction manual of your product for safety purposes.

Question mark with idea text

Did you know?

If you are planning a road trip, an air mattress might come in handy. However, sleeping in your car will require different preparation. Check out our useful article to get to know the best practices.

How to cover up a hole in an air mattress?

The possible best way to fix a hole in your bedding area is with a patch. Usually, these air mattresses come with patches. But once you start using your bed these are easy to get lost or get misplaced. There are few choices in the market in case of picking a patch kit if you happen to lose the original.

You can choose to purchase a vinyl patch kit to fix the holes you find. Another one is a bike tire patch kit which is an alternative that should hold up on an air bed. You have the option to choose a little piece of a shower liner with super glue or something similar strong adhesive to hold it in place.

As we have discussed above, after following those steps and spotting a hole you can mark the place with tape or put a circle around it by using a permanent marker as it will be easy to find again. You should not stop after you find the first leak, because it is possible that there are multiple holes on your air mattress. So you need to keep looking to ensure that you find them all. If you want to know the detail about how to patch a hole on an air mattress read carefully what we are going to discuss below.

Prepare the surface

Having a neat and clean surface of your bedding will make sure that the patch you are supposed to use will work perfectly. First, you need to wipe up the area around the hole with a damp cloth or use a clean cloth with a bit of all-purpose cleaner. Then you need to let the area dry fully before you start patching it. Otherwise, the adhesive will not be able to stick.

Shape the patch

The patch you are going to use may need some cutting as the material needs to be the right-sized one for perfect use. The size of the patch should be larger than the leak so you can have plenty of space to adhere to the mattress and do a better seal. Remember that the patch should not be a lot larger than the hole. The approximate perfect size is to make it about 1/2 inch bigger than the leak on every side.

Make your own patch kit

You can easily create your own patch from a shower or pool liner. For this, any thin plastic object should work. While making your own patch, keep in mind to make it large enough so that it completely covers the leaky area and overlaps it in real to ensure the airtightness. As your adhesive, you are allowed to use superglue, gorilla glue, contact, rubber cement, etc.

Apply it

It is important to choose the perfect patch before applying. Remember that patches like “bike tire repair kits” are self-adhesive. And other kinds need you to apply a different adhesive to the patch. You need to add lots of adhesive to the patch from the center out to the sides. This will help it patch the hole and stay in place.

At first, you have to press the patch in a solid way over the hole. Then you can place books, weights, or any kinds of heavy items over the leak. The item needs to be placed on the top of the patch for at least eight hours or longer to help the adhesive adhere to the material. After that, you can examine the area by pressing softly. Then you can try to listen or feel for air from the patched area.

Duct tape

It will only work as a temporary solution. As the glue on the duct tape will slowly go away,  so you can only use this method until you gain the capacity to repair it with a more permanent fix. Also, before applying a patch don’t forget to clean off all the residue from the tape.


When you are on the go, the only possible comfortable option for you is bringing an air mattress, as it will not take much space for deflation and you can easily store it anywhere you want. These products are made for multi-purpose around the whole world.

Yes, trying to find micro-holes may seem difficult, but the methods we have discussed above should enable you to find the holes easily. Also, don’t forget to take special care of your air mattress, since leaks can easily happen on these materials. If you want to avoid getting puncture holes in your air bed, you should keep it on a smooth surface.

And it is always the best decision to invest in a high-quality air mattress rather than spending time and energy repairing old lower quality products. If you are interested to know more stuff about these products then you can check our articles about the best air mattress with built-in pump and best air mattress brand.


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