How to Find a Leak in an Air Mattress

How to Find a Leak in an Air Mattress

If you have ever woken up on the ground thinking you had gone to sleep on an air mattress I have news for you, your mattress has a leak. Instead of having to replace an air mattress over and over again, try learning how to find a leak in an air mattress.

The tiniest hole can leave you lying on the ground within a few hours, defeating the purpose of the air mattress. Inflatable products like an air mattress, are very likely to tear. 

Learning how to find a hole in an air mattress can be a challenging task to tackle. The smaller the leak, the harder it will be to find its location. These methods will help you find holes and leaks in your mattress. While some of these are more conveniently done at home, there are also methods that can help you find leaks when you are out camping. Try whichever method is most convenient for you or test them all! 

Tips Before You Start 

  • Before starting, make sure you have good lighting and enough space to inspect and move the air mattress. 
  • Strip the mattress of any bedding or pillows to facilitate movement. 
  • If you are out camping, try to find a way to provide good lighting inside the tent and try to stay away from noise caused by wind. 
  • Looking into the best camping air mattress is also convenient if you’re planning a camping trip, it minimizes the chances of getting a leak.

Inspect The Valve 

Camping tent during the night

Leaks are typically found within the air mattress valves. Start your inspection in the valves first since this may be where your leak is located. Inflate your mattress enough for it to not pop and cause more leaks. Next, secure the valve stem using a valve plug. Make sure the valve is tight and stays in position, if it isn’t, you’ve found a leak. A small plastic bag could be used to secure the seal. This should solve your valve leak. 

Use A Dash Of Dish Soap 

If the leak wasn’t in the valve, you’ll probably want to check the entire air mattress. The dish soap method is an easy way to check it. You’ll need a mixture of water and a small amount of dish soap poured into a spray bottle. In case you don’t have a bottle, either a piece of cloth or a sponge will do if you wet them with your mixture. 

Work your way into sections as you coat the mattress with your mixture. The leak will release air bubbles, and you’ll be able to find a hole. If you suspect there are multiple holes or just want to make sure there aren’t more, continue to coat the mattress with your mixture. Search the mattress for any more bubbles. Make sure to mark the area where bubbles were formed. Wait till the air mattress has dried before you try fixing the leak. 

Need A Damp Hand? 

If you need to know how to find a leak in an air mattress, a damp hand could help you. You might not have running water when you’re camping, but you’ll more than likely have access to some type of water. The water on your hand can make it easier to feel air coming out of the holes. Move your damp hand over your air mattress as you search for holes. Having someone press the mattress can make this a quicker process. This will encourage air to come out of the leaks. 

Use Your Ears 


If you’re out camping, you may not have dish soap or running water to try the dish soap method. Instead, put your listening ears on as you prepare to search for any leaks. You’ll need a quiet space for this method to work since you’ll be listening for leaks. 

Check the valves first and then move into the seams. Press your ear close to the mattress as you search for whistling or other air-generated sounds. This method may take up a lot of time and requires patience. It’ll pay off once you find a leak!

How to Find a Leak in an Air Mattress Using Other Tools 

Believe it or not, tissue paper and foil can help to find a leak in an air mattress. This type of material should move or even make a noise whenever air released from the hole hits it since the material is lightweight. This method also requires you to section the mattress. Press on the mattress as you work your way through. 

Pro-tip, the larger the piece of paper or foil you are working with, the more area you are covering and the faster you can find any holes.


Teaching yourself how to find a leak in an air mattress isn’t as challenging as it sounds. Experiment with the method that seems easiest to you, and you’ll surely be able to find a leak. If you’re already at it, it may be a good idea to check the entire mattress. You may be surprised to see there are several leaks. Make sure to mark your leaks, so you can come back and fix them or match them up. A marker or piece of tape can help you mark the holes in your air mattress.

Written by Daisy Gonzalez-Quezada 

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