How to Find a Leak In an Air Mattress (And Fix It)?

Best Way to Find a Leak in an Air Mattress-min


Trying to find a leak in an air mattress randomly can be like looking for a needle in the hay. Every proud owner of this mattress type can confirm that. Because these mattresses are made from plastic or rubber, sometimes a combination of both, they get punctured easily. The problem is, we don’t always remember where or how it happens. And although this can be a nightmare, there is a reliable method to determine where it leaks. 

Whether you know the cause and can approximately pinpoint the area, or gather clues by trying to remember, finding the spot takes time. That is unless you follow the following steps, which act as a fail-proof method in fixing your leaking air mattress. 

What is the Best Way to Find a Leak in an Air Mattress?

  • Check Common Leak Locations Visually

The worst-case scenario is that you don’t have a single clue about the location of the leak on your air mattress. Because this mattress is a great sleeping solution for any prolonged outdoor activity, this is perfectly normal. Not knowing where or how the air mattress got damaged is a pretty common problem, actually. Here’s how to find a hole in an air mattress

Finding leaks in an air mattress

First, inflate the mattress to its maximum size, and place it in a bright room or heavily lighted area. You can do it in your backyard on a sunny day, or in your room with a ton of lights. Whichever option you choose, make sure there’s enough light. 

Now for the hard part – checking for leaks on random places on the mattress. There aren’t any official common places where an air mattress gets punctured. However, you can use logic. Depending on where it happened and recollecting how it happened may give you some info or at least inspire you. From there on, focus on the side or back of the mattress. Also, check the seams and around the valve. The reason for focusing on these areas is that it is highly likely it got punctured from below, or side. It’s rarely gets damaged from the top. 

  • Use a Piece of Tissue Paper

Another method for finding the air mattress leak is by using tissue paper or anything similar. The goal is to use a lightweight paper that’s soft and therefore makes revealing the airflow direction easy. It’s advisable to do it in a well-lighted area, but it’s not a must. Just make sure there’s enough light to notice the tissue paper twirl as you get close to the puncture location. 

Place the mattress on a surface and apply pressure to it. From there, pull the paper across the mattress. At one point, you will see the paper twist and move as a result of pressured air flowing towards it.

Naturally, this means you’re close. Continue to move the tissue around until it shows the exact puncture point of the mattress.

It may take some time to find it in the first place, so go over the top side and bottom thoroughly. Remember to apply the appropriate amount of pressure. The more you squeeze, the better the airflow, therefore the easier it gets to find the hole.

  • Use the Dishwasher Soap

Use the Dishwasher SoapAre you still wondering how to find a leak in an air mattress? If you don’t want to look for the hole with a tissue or check common locations, there is another method. It’s quite effective, and all you need is dishwasher soap. The reason for using this type of soap specifically is due to its formula. It creates more bubbles than other types of liquid soap, and that’s exactly what we need — the more, the merrier. 

Start by placing the mattress on any surface in a well-lit room. From there, apply the dishwasher soap around the areas you suspect the leak is. As you use the soap, look for a spot that’s bubbling. This will indicate the puncture on the air mattress. You won’t get it from your first try, but the important thing here is to be persistent.

Apply the soap around the edges, seams, and valve. This is the most common place where the leak may appear. Have patience, and focus on the bubbles. They can be really tiny if the hole is small. You can also apply pressure on one side of the mattress as you use the dishwasher soap. This way, you’ll increase the airflow coming from the leak and make it more visible. 


  • Submerge Your Air Mattress in a Tub

If none of the methods mentioned above work in your case, or you want to skip to this one, here’s what you need to do. Start with the tub. Fill it halfway with water and get your air mattress. You can place the mattress in the bathtub once it’s fully inflated or deflated and then inflate it once it’s submerged. 

If you have a smaller tub, or can’t seem to fit the entire mattress in for different reasons, submerge it partially. Once it’s in the water, look for bubbles. They will indicate which part of the mattress is punctured. 

From there, pull it towards the surface as it is easier to see this way. Once you’ve found it, mark the hole with duct tape or a marker. You can also apply pressure on the mattress once it’s submerged. By doing this, the bubbles will be larger and easier to spot.

Therefore you’ll be able to find the leak much faster. If you don’t see the bubbles immediately after submerging the mattress in water, try to flip it or turn it on the side. Do this until you’ve checked every part of your air mattress, and you’ll find the leak eventually. 

Preventing and Fixing Air Mattress Leak

Preventing Air Mattress LeakOne of the best ways to fix the leak on an air mattress is by using a patch fix. You can find it almost every well equipped outdoor store. Look for it in the camping section or ask one of the employees working there.

To fix the leak, first, you have to clean the area around the puncture. Make sure you remove any dirt and dry it out thoroughly. You want the surface surrounding the leak to be as clean as possible. Once that’s done, cut out a patch at least twice the size of the hole. Use glue intended for rubber or plastic and apply it on both the surface and the patch.

Give it a couple of minutes to dry before you apply the patch. Now all you have to do is place a heavy object on it and wait for a couple of hours. Some glues work faster than others, so be sure to check the inscription. Once completely dry, your mattress is ready for use. 


Air mattress is an excellent choice for camping or any other outdoor activities, and it can also be used as a high-quality mattress for your guests. It’s lightweight, easy to store, and quite comfortable. The only problem is that it gets punctured easily. To prevent that, make sure to place the mattress on a soft surface, or isolate it from the ground in any other way. You can use a blanket or a sheet, make sure that the surface below doesn’t have sharp objects, broken glass, etc.

The important thing to remember is that even though you get a leak on your air mattress, you don’t have to throw it away. There’s always a way to fix it whether you do it yourself or send it for repair to your supplier. We hope that this guide will help you learn how to find a leak in your air mattress fast.