An air mattress is a convenient and affordable option with many applications. Often used for camping, it works really well for guest sleepovers, taking with you to sleep at family’s, or even act as temporary bedding. And if you plan on floating in the pool with it, we won’t tell anyone.

Unfortunately, however, air mattress come with their lot of frustration, as they can easily get a hole in them, leaving you with a deflated and uncomfortable bed. Finding the leak can be a challenge, but by following easy steps, we are telling you how to find a hole in an air mattress.

After reading this guide, you will know how to quickly locate the hole and repair it in 3 easy steps.

Table of Contents

How Do I Know I Have A Hole In My Air Mattress

Once you have inflated your air mattress (also known as blow up mattress), it should hold its shape for several days. If you notice that your air mattress starts sagging and deflating within a couple of hours of blowing it, you may want to start looking into whether you have a hole in it.

You may also wake up to a deflated mattress, which would suggest and smaller, slower, leak in your mattress. Those holes may be more frustrating to find as they can be as small as a pinhole.

In more obvious cases, you may hear a whistling sound of air escaping your mattress. In that case, finding the hole in an air mattress will be a lot easier.

Step 1 - Check Your Air Mattress Valves First

The first step to find a hole in an air mattress is to check your valves. If, when first sitting or laying on your air mattress, you notice rapid deflating and/or hear air escaping the mattress, start by checking the valves.

Sometimes, a loose valve can be the culprit of a deflating air mattress. Check your owner’s manual to fully understand the kind of valve you are dealing with. Some are double valves, others need to be pushed in, some need twisting, etc. 

You may also want to check the connection between valve and mattress, as it is often glued and a hole may incur with wear and tear. Unfortunately, if the valve is faulty, or if you notice a tear around it, there is very little you can do to fix it. Check if your air mattress is still under warranty and file a claim if it is.

Step 2 - Inflate The Mattress And Listen For Hissing Sounds

Once you have ruled out your valves, and ensured all are secured, your next step in finding a hole in an air mattress is to inflate it fully, and to listen closely for any hissing sounds. Hearing a faint whistle is the easiest way to locate a leak, as the sound will be more audible as the air escapes from the hole.

Run your ear near the mattress, along all edges and both flat surfaces (top and bottom). Be very attentive and try to do this in relative quietness, as a small hole may only make a very faint noise.

If you find a hissing sound, try to spot check for a hole. Sometimes, the hole may be so small, that it may not be visible to the naked eye. In that case, slowly run your hand near the provenance of the sound. As soon as the whistling stops, your hand is on the hole. This will give you a smaller area to spot check for the hole.

Step 3 - Apply Soapy Water To The Mattress Surface

In some cases, you may not hear any hissing sounds. If that is your case, you are moving into step #3 of the process – apply soapy water to the surface of the mattress.

Mix some dish soap with water, and apply it to the mattress surface with a spray bottle or sponge. Using a rag or your hands will work as well, if you lack the alternatives. Work on a small area at a time and watch closely for bubbles forming on the surface, as it will indicate a leak.

We recommend starting along the seams, the valves, and any dip in the mattress, as these are the most common areas for holes and rips to occur.

Step 4 - Use A Piece Of Tissue Paper To Find The Leak

If the soap test fails, your next step is the tissue paper test. Inflate the mattress to its fullest again, and very slowly run the tissue paper over the surface of your air mattress, feeling for air escaping from the hole. When your tissue paper flutters or moves, you have found the leak. Mark the area with a pen or tape to not have to repeat the process, and to start fixing the hole in your air mattress.

Step 5 - Submerge Your Air Mattress In Water

When all else fails, and if you are very committed to finding the hole in your air mattress, you can try sticking in under water.

A few words of advice: if there is an integrated pump, or any electrical parts in or around your air mattress, DO NOT attempt to submerge your mattress in water. There is a risk of electrocution, as well as fatal damage to the air mattress. The label attached to your air mattress, as well as your user manual, should be check for any counter-indication, before putting your air mattress under water.

If all looks good, remove some air from your mattress to make it easier to push under water. Find a large enough body of water, such as a bath tub or a pool, and submerge your air mattress under water. If you are in the water with it, try to stand as still as possible, in order for any rising bubble to be noticeable.

If you do have a hole in your air mattress, you will notice bubbles rising to the surface of the water. Watch closely to find the origin of the bubble and mark that spot as the location of your hole.

How To Fix A Hole In An Air Mattress - In 3 Easy Steps

Once you have found the hole in your air mattress, you will want to patch it. Thankfully, most air mattress manufacturers include some patching material in the box.

Step 1 – Apply Patching Material To The Leak

Once you have located the leak, this will be your first step in repairing it. You can use the patching kit that comes with the mattress, or purchase patching material from a camping or outdoor store, or right here on Amazon for under $10. Cut a small piece of the patching material, but large enough to fully cover the hole and more, and apply it over the leak. Press down firmly to ensure a secure seal.

Step 2 – Let The Patching Material Dry

Allow the patching material to dry completely before using the mattress. This can take anywhere from a few hours to overnight, depending on the type of patching kit you have used. We personally recommend waiting at least 12 hours prior to laying on the mattress. Avoid inflating the mattress until the patching material has dried completely and looks securely attached.

Step 3 – Re-Inflate The Mattress

Once the patching material is dry and you feel ready to use your air mattress again, inflate the mattress fully and check for any additional leaks. If you find another leak, repeat the process from the beginning. If there are no more holes, your air mattress is ready to for sleep again.

How Can I Prevent Holes In My Air Mattress

The easiest way to fix a hole in an air mattress, is to not have a hole in your air mattress. I know it may sound easier said than done, but by practicing some simple steps, you may find that holes are avoidable:

Sharp Objects

Start by keeping sharp objects away from your air mattress at all times. It seems like a given, but if you are camping with your air mattress, you will soon notice that everything gets packed together, you may bring your fishing rod and cooking knifes inside the tent during rain, etc… and the easiest way to rip with your air mattress, is by proximity with a sharp objects. Keeping them away and separate may save you from a costly accident.

Do Not Over Inflate

There are 2 kinds of people in this world: those who over inflate, and the ones terrified of popping balloons who will never test the point of over inflation! While you should put enough air in your air mattress to ensure your back and spine get enough support from the mattress, try not to over inflate.  Over inflating your air mattress will put stress on its seams and around the valve, which will accelerate the wear and tear, and could lead to a hole.

Store Your Mattress Properly And Away From Extreme Temperatures

Most air mattresses are shipped with a storage bag. Keep that storage bag and always fold your mattress back up into its bag. You will prevent dust from creeping in, and keep rodents, mites, and other critters away from your possession. Also ensure that you are keeping the air mattress stored in regular home temperatures, and away from extreme temperatures, which will create stress on the mattress’ materials.

No Jumping

This one may be harder if you have kids, as, let’s be honest, an air mattress looks like an inviting trampoline! Keep everyone (kids, pets, adults…) from jumping on the air mattress, as it would put unnecessary pressure on it, and it was not designed to sustain that kind of stress.

How To Find A Hole In An Air Mattress

A leak in an air mattress is nothing short of frustrating, but with those simple tips and steps, you can quickly find and fix the hole in your air mattress. By diligently following the steps from this article, you can save money by repairing the mattress yourself, instead of replacing it.

Remember to take care when inflating and deflating the mattress, as this can cause wear and tear on the material and increase the risk of leaks. With proper maintenance, your air mattress can provide comfortable and convenient bedding for years to come.

If you are unable to locate the leak, or if it is beyond repairable due to wear and tear, check out this air mattress. It is our favorite on the market today. It offers value, 1-year of warranty, and very good quality, ensuring that you, and your guests, get the most comfortable sleep an air mattress can offer.


Most frequent questions and answers

You can find a hole in your air mattress by listening for hissing sounds, feeling for air escaping with your hand, using soapy water to create bubbles at the suspected leak, or submerging the mattress in water and watching for bubbles.

If you find a hole in your air mattress, you should patch it up as soon as possible. You can use a patch kit specifically designed for air mattresses, or you can use a DIY solution like duct tape or a bicycle tire patch.

Yes, you can prevent holes from forming in your air mattress by being careful with sharp objects, avoiding over-inflation, storing the mattress properly, and keeping it away from extreme temperatures.

To properly store your air mattress, you should deflate it completely, clean it thoroughly, and fold it neatly. You can then put it in a storage bag or container that will protect it from dust, moisture, and insects.

It depends on the size and location of the hole. If the hole is small and easy to patch, you can still use your air mattress. However, if the hole is large or in a critical area, it may not be safe to use the mattress until it is properly repaired.

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Laura Georgieff

Laura is a mother of three who did not sleep through the night for the first 5.5 years of her kids' lives. She is passionate about sleep quality and loves sharing her experience and knowledge of all thing bedding! It is her mission to help you make the best decisions when it comes to sleep and help you get the best deal on the market!

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