Solved! How to Find a Leak in an Air Mattress?

Several kinds of mattresses are available in the market. But if you are looking for one that is portable and allows you to use them outdoors, then air mattresses are best suited for the purpose. They are light, and they can be inflated and deflated with ease. All you need is a pump and blow it up whenever you need them.

However, air mattresses are also prone to leaks. Imagine carrying your mattress to the camping site, only to find it sagging as soon as you put your weight on it. Air mattresses are prone to tearing along the edges or the valves. There might also be tiny holes in the mattress that may not even be visible initially.

But just because there is a leak in the mattress, it does not mean you have to discard it. You can find the leak and also fix it. The leaks happen when the fabric gives away due to wear and tear. Or, it gets pricked by branches and rubble when you are out camping. Unless there is an irreparable tear, you can find small leaks in an air mattress and use DIY methods to repair them.

Steps to Find Leaks in Air Mattresses

The first sign that your mattress leaks air is that it will start deflating through the night. If you move systematically, you can easily find leaks in your air mattress. Finding the leak makes the rest easy. Here is what you should do.

Remove all Bedding

Remove all Bedding

Although this seems obvious, you should strip the mattress of all bedding. Do not assume that the leak is only around the edges. So remove all bed covers and sheets before you start your inspection. Carry your mattress to a well-lit area and ensure no sharp objects are around.

Pump in Air

When you start your inspection, if you find that your mattress has already deflated a little, it would help if you first filled the mattress with some air. Do not pump in extra air; the mattress may pop around the leaking edges. If the seams burst, you will have a much more challenging problem.

Valve Inspection

Valve Inspection

The valve is a small hole meant to pump air into the mattress. Sometimes, air leaks because the valve has not been sealed off properly. Check if the valve is firmly lodged inside the stem and it is closed. The stem that has the opening to which the mouth of the pump attaches should not be wobbly.

Some mattresses have a double-locking feature. The first lock operates when you push the valve into the mattress, and the second lock operates when the valve is pushed into the stem. Check if both these locks are working properly and are fully intact.

Visual Inspection

You may notice the leak if you bring your mattress into a well-lit area. You may see wear and tear in a particular area or catch an edge that looks different from the others.

Turn over your mattress and thoroughly review the entire area to check for minute tears or holes.

Check the Seams and Edges

Check the Seams and Edges

The seams and edges of the mattresses are most likely to be affected when a mattress shows signs of wear and tear. Run your hand along the seams and edges slowly.

Do so in a quiet area, especially in a closed room with no air blowing in from the outside. That way, you are more likely to feel air escaping from the mattress.

Listen for the Leak

Even if you cannot feel it at first, you may hear a soft hissing sound of air leaking through the small hole, which might help you locate the tear. That’s why it is important to inspect in a quiet place.

You can fill up the mattress to the optimal level and press down on it to listen to the sound. If two people inspect the mattress, one may press down, and the other may check to see if the air leaks.

Using Dish Soap

Using Dish Soap

If all physical inspection methods fail, and yet you can still see the mattress deflating, it is time to move on to other steps.

The dish soap method is very effective. All you have to do is spray some dish soap on the surface of the mattress. Do so in parts, taking one half of the mattress at a time.

Start with the area around the valve, then move to the seams and the rest of the mattress. Spray the dish soap and apply some pressure on the inflated mattress. The leaking air will cause the soap to bubble on the surface, helping you identify the leak.

Since the soap is dense, you can inspect it for a considerable period, and it will not dry immediately. Do not worry about your mattress getting wet. Since air mattresses are mostly made of polyester materials, unlike regular mattresses, the soap can be easily wiped off later.

Spray a generous amount of dish soap, and watch for air bubbles. When you notice the air bubble, mark the area with a permanent marker. This method is ideal for inspecting leaks on other kinds of inflatables as well, like pool floaties.

Submerge the Air Mattress

Submerging the air mattress will help you find leaks in the mattress because of the air bubble it will release. However, first, check the label to ensure the material is waterproof and you won’t damage the bed by submerging it in water.

Then, if you have a pond or a lake nearby, you can carry your mattress over and try submerging it. If not, you may use your bathtub at home and submerge the mattress in sections.

Start with the area around the valve. Submerge the area and slowly press on the mattress. Any air leaking out of the mattress will cause air bubbles. Once you locate the area from where the air is leaking, use a permanent marker to locate the area.

Ensure you check the air mattress’s weakest area near the seams.

Garden Hose Method

Garden Hose Method

If submerging the mattress is not an option, you can use the garden hose method to check for bubbles. Use the hose to drench the mattress in sections and try to check for air bubbles before the water runs off.

It could be difficult for a single person to handle, so try to get help. One person can drench the mattress while the other checks for leaks. Once you have located any air bubbles, use a permanent marker to mark the area.

How to Fix a Leaking Air Mattress?

Once you have located the leak in an air mattress, it’s time to fix it. Leave the mattress to dry so all the water you used to check for the leak evaporates.

Then focus on the areas you marked with the permanent marker, and it is time to patch up the mattress. Here are some ways of doing it.

Patch Kit

Patch Kit

You can use a patch kit from the store. These kits have everything you need to patch tires, air mattresses, and other inflatables. They have patches you can glue on the affected area, which is good enough to seal the leak.

Glue Patches

Next, you can use patches from similar materials that your air mattress is made of, like spare bits of polyester. Ensure that the affected part of the mattress lies flat on the ground after deflating it.

Then use super glue to attach the patch to the air mattress, fully covering the torn area. Leave something heavy on the mattress so the patch does not curl up while drying and lies flat.

Duct Tape

Duct Tape

You can use strong duct tape directly over the affected area. However, you must ensure the mattress does not get wet too much, or the duct tape might come off. Use duct tape to seal the leak and cover an additional inch to the sides to prevent the tear from extending further.

Once you have used any of these methods, inflate your air mattress again and check if any air is leaking or if your mattress is deflated considerably again.

How to Prevent Leaks in Air Mattresses?

Prevention is better than cure, so avoiding situations where your mattress might be prone to damage is best. While you cannot do much about the gradual wear and tear, you can do a few things to avoid tears and leaks in mattresses. Here are some things you can do:-

  • Do not inflate the mattress too much by pumping too much air. That will put pressure on the seams and may cause them to burst, leading to leaks. 
  • Keep sharp objects away from your air mattress. So if you are taking your mattress out for camping, ensure you are not packing it with knives and scissors. 
  • While laying out the mattress, make sure the ground is clear as possible and no twigs and branches may poke the bed. 
  • Protect your mattress by using bedding above and below. It will reduce direct abrasion of the mattress surface and will prevent leaks in the long run. 


Here are some commonly asked questions that will help you understand how to deal with air mattress leaks in a better way.

Is it normal for air mattresses to leak?

Every air mattress will release some air over time, and you will have to inflate it again. However, if you find yourself almost touching the ground after one night’s sleep, you have a leak that must be fixed.

Will the use of water damage air mattresses?

Not really. Most air mattresses are made from polyester material. They will not be affected if you use the dish soap method or the garden hose method to look for a leak in the mattress.

What to do if the air mattress deflates without a visible hole?

There may be cases when you find your air mattress deflating drastically, but there are no visible holes. It could be because the tear is so minuscule that you cannot locate it. You can use the dish soap method thoroughly to check for the leak, but if you still cannot find it, it is time to change your mattress.


Air mattresses are not as expensive as regular mattresses, but they still cost a reasonable amount. Suppose you use your air mattress frequently because you go camping or spend time outdoors. In that case, investing in a high-quality air mattress made from durable material is worth investing in.

Despite that, if your air mattress starts leaking air after a considerable period, you can use the methods to check for the leak and fix it up, thereby prolonging the life of your mattress.

Sarah Wagner

I'm Sarah Wagner, and I founded Sweet Island Dreams in 2022. It's a blog dedicated to helping people mental vacation virtually anytime they want. By providing information about the best sleep of your life, I help people drift away to paradise without ever having to leave their bed!