How To Find A Leak In An Air Mattress?

Air mattress owners are mostly confused when it comes to noticing leaks. If you own an air mattress then you must have at some point wondered about how to find a leak in an air mattress. You get confused about whether or not to use a repair kit and if rubber patches are the right match for your mattress or should you opt for ones designed specifically for PVC in the mattresses. The first and foremost thing to keep in mind is that every heavy duty air mattress is bound to suffer from air leaks at some point.

​You can finally put these dilemmas to rest and follow this step by step guide to finding the leak in different ways. The great news is that you can get rid of this nuisance in less than an hour and it will cost you only a few bucks at that.


​Step-by-Step Guide

​You basically have to determine the exact position of the leak and with our advice that should not be an issue for you. Following are effective methods to finding a leak in your air mattress described in detail:


​1. For starters

You need to remove all kinds of sheets and bedding. You need to ensure that nothing other than the original form of the mattress remains.

​2. Secondly

After having stripped the mattress of everything unnecessary, you need to move it towards a bigger space. This will help you in manipulation of the bed with ease. Make sure the room or space is large and uncluttered.

You can simply take your mattress outdoors as well where you can move the mattress in whichever way. The idea is to ensure minimal damage and thorough inspection of the mattress.

​Filling Air in the Mattress

You will need the following:

  • Air pump or similar machinery
  • Big space/room

The method requires you to fill air in your mattress. Make sure not to fill it to its maximum potential since that can cause additional damage. The best way to go about it is to fill it using your breath but you have the option of using any machinery as well such an air pump. In case of an air pump, keep the process slow so that you can stop prior to reaching the full limit. Make sure to avoid air compressors as they can cause further damage to the mattress. This is a very common mistake.

​After filling the air, you can visually start inspecting the mattress. A mattress in its nearly full capacity has the ability to expose even the slightest of damages.

​Soaping Up Your Mattress

You will need the following for this method:

  • Big space/room
  • Liquid soap (dishwashing)
  • Water
  • Spray bottle or rag

This method requires soaping up of your mattress. You’re required to completely cover the mattress using soapy water. The soap used can be any dishwasher fluid in your house. Add some water to it and pour it in a spray bottle. The spray bottle makes the process more effective and time saving. The alternative is to use a rag.

In this case, you can simply pour the mixture of water and liquid soap and place the rag in it. Follow this step by wiping the mattress with the rag. Any big leak will create a soap bubble after the soaping up of the mattress and through applying of minimal pressure. After seeing the bubbles, you will be able to trace the source easily.

​Using a Bathtub/pool

​You will need the following for this process:

  • Large bathtub/pool
  • Water

​Provided that you have a large enough tub, you can simply fill half of it with water and the let one part of the mattress submerge in it. If you’re unable to detect a leak then you can move on to submerging another part. Make sure not to fully fill the bathtub to the top as that will flood the bathroom once you submerge the mattress in it.

​The alternative is to submerge the entire mattress if you have access to a pool.

​Using Your Hands

​For this process, you will need your hands and a big space/room.The most common way of finding the leak is to use your palms. The sensory network of your body has the ability to detect the slightest of irritations and you can find the leak by moving your palms all over the mattress. You will be able to sense an air brush in case of a leak.

​Using Your Ears

​You simply need your ears and a big enough space to manage the air mattress.

Some people find it effective to simply “hear” the leak. This process is quite simple and requires you to put your ears down and try to sense anything out of the ordinary. A leak is bound to create a high pitched sound.

​Make sure to cover the seams in your inspection. These are the most likely places for leaks in any air mattress. Emphasize on the top and bottom edges as these are most common sources of leaks.

​Using a Garden Hose

​For this method you will need the following:

  • Outdoor space
  • Large surface (Table)
  • Soft fabric
  • Garden Hose
  • Water

​Opt for taking the mattress outdoors, in case if you haven’t already done that in the second step. Make sure to place the mattress on a large surface such as a table. In case of a wooden table, use a soft fabric to cover it such as a blanket.

On getting the mattress completely set on the table, you need to turn on the garden hose. Make sure to be careful while watering your air mattress. You have to then, pay close attention to the manner in which the mattress responds to this water. After every few seconds, you should be able to see air bubbles appearing over the leak. That’s your source.

​Checking the Nozzle

​The final method basically requires you to check the nozzle as that can easily be the source. Carefully inspect it and apply controlled pressure around it. Ensure that the nozzle is tight enough.

​Modern Techniques

​Two modern alternatives to the above mentioned guide are as follows:

​1. For this one, you need a glass of water and the nozzle of your mattress.

​• You’re basically required to pour the water right through the nozzle and inside the mattress. The unconventional process definitely requires certain bravery on your part. After adding water, you can fill it with air as well.

• On making the mattress full, you need to rattle the mattress or simply shake it like a toy. This will cause appearance of a wet spot at the source of the leak. You should then disinfect your air mattress internally by using methyl hydrate (liter).

​2. Another method is for the Smartphone lovers out there

You simply need your Smartphone and to install an application on your phone that allows you to measure decibels.

​The application can be used for tracking the leak. Any gadget enthusiast is most likely to skip the aforementioned different methods and simply opt for this one; however, it all depends on preferences.

​Now that you have thoroughly covered both conventional and unconventional methods of finding a leak in your air mattress, you should no longer feel the need to throw away your investment. You can follow these simple and easy to work with guide lines to effectively detect the leak. These techniques are highly effective and will require less than an hour of your time.

Can you think of a better technique or any personal experience that you might have had with your air mattress leak? Don’t hesitate to mention and provide feedback in the comments. Good luck fixing your air mattress like a pro!

Lucy Gomez

Hi there, I'm Lucy Gomez, camp editor at I grew up in a suburb of Oklahoma and I have been camping my entire life. Camping in the wild is a way of life for me.

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