Finding a hole in an air mattress can be a daunting task. While the hole may sometimes be large and easy to spot, more often than not it is nothing more than a pinprick and invisible to the naked eye. There are several ways to pinpoint where the leak in your air mattress is coming from, but concerning ease, effectiveness, and the least mess, these are two of the best methods.

Unless your mattress has been exposed to sharp objects, or pet claws the leak is most likely in a seam, or stress point. Before trying the below methods, check any seals or caps. A bad seal or a cross-threaded cap can leak a significant amount of air in a somewhat short time. To check seals and caps, listen carefully for any hissing while forcing air pressure towards the cap, or seal. A hissing sound indicates an air leak.

Method 1: The Soapy Water Trick

**Do not use this method on plush top air mattresses**

What You’ll Need:

  • Any bleach free dish soap
  • A sponge or rag
  • Warm water
  • A bucket, pan, or dish to make your soapy water mixture in

Step 1:

How to Find a Hole in an Air Mattress

Fill your bucket with enough water to completely submerge your sponge. Add a good amount of dish soap; you should be able to produce large soapy bubbles when the water is sloshed or stirred.

Step 2:

Make sure your blow up mattress is in an open area, where you will have room to move around it. Start by inflating to its full capacity, but do not over-inflate it. The more air pressure there is behind your leak, the easier it will be to find. However, over-inflation can result in a larger hole, split seams, or stress tears at weak points. Make sure there are no electronics or other non-water friendly items in your workspace. (Cell phones, bedding, etc.)

Step 3:

Wet your sponge thoroughly and pick a starting point at either end of the mattress. Wipe the sponge slowly over in a straight line, making sure to wet the seams as well as the surface. Work slowly and apply pressure as you work, to force air towards the area you’re working on. Watch closely for any bubbles; bubbles indicate leaking air and that you have found your hole.

Use this process on every surface including top, bottom, seams, and sides. Once you have found your leak mark it with a piece of tape, or a marker, so it will be easy to find and patch later. The surface around the leak must be completely dry before patching.

Method 2: The Tissue Paper Trick

**Safe for all air mattresses**

What You’ll Need:

  • A piece of tissue paper (foil, single-ply paper towels, toilet paper, or a napkin can work as well)

Step 1:

Inflate your mattress in a quiet area where you will have room to move around it and flip it over. Starting at one end take your tissue and lay it flat on the surface area. Apply pressure to the mattress all around to direct the air to the area where you are working.

Step 2:

Work slowly, moving the tissue over every part of the bed, starting with the edges and seams; leaks are more common in these areas. Listen carefully for a slight hissing sound and watch for any air disturbance of the tissue. Make sure to do this over the top and bottom, as well as the sides. If the tissue is over the leak, you should be able to hear the faint sound of the air hitting the paper. If your leak is big enough, it may cause the tissue to move.

Step 3:

Once you have found the leak, patch it. If you don’t have a patch, mark the hole with a piece of tape, or a marker. This will ensure that you can easily locate the leak to patch later on.

Other Methods

Other methods to adopt of how to find a hole in an air mattress include the baby powder method and the submersion method. The baby powder method is very messy. It is essentially dumping baby powder all over any type of blow up mattress, then slowly inflating more. When more air is added, it will escape through the hole at a faster rate, which causes the baby powder to blow upwards making a small powder cloud and alerting you to the location of the leak.

The submersion method is relatively easy if you have a swimming pool, but can result in water inside your mattress, which is impossible to get out and leads to mold. It also cannot be used with air mattresses that have attached electric pumps. It is exactly what it sounds like, you submerge the mattress partially inflated underwater, which forces the air inside to try to rise to the surface. If you get air bubbles, you’ve found the leak.

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12 thoughts on “How To Find A Hole In An Air Mattress”

  1. I totally recommend the soap method. With plenty of suds and a little luck I was able to locate two pin holes ten inches apart in no time at all… Next up, the fastest way to find a needle in a haystack……burn it!!

  2. Could blowing smoke into the mattress while inflating be another way. Seeing the smoke leak should be quite easy. If possible what type of product will produce the effects of smoke harmlessly?

    1. Logically speaking, this could be a great idea which may work. However, i’m uncertain whether it will work for sure and neither can I comment on the type of smoke you could use.

      Many thanks

    2. I am just like… You could just blow in the smoke you are inhaling? 😉

      All jokes aside. You would literally need a smoke machine for this to work as you would have to fill it full.
      The problem is the volume of air in the mattress. By the time whatever smoke you managed to add into it would make its way to the hole it would dissipate.
      Smoke maker that they use on stages would be the only way. You would have to fill it completely.

  3. Idk…my brother can make the whole yard look like fog has settled in when he vapes…Ive wondered if he blew the same into the airbed, as I apply pressure to the diff sections of the mattress, would that not work-surely a lil would be seen escaping..😆

  4. I just found the leak with a tissue paper!!!! How satisfying to not have to throw an air mattress away! It took me less than 20 minutes. Thanks!

    1. Being in such an awkward place, you’ll probably not be able to repair it. You could try some DIY methods of repair, which may or may not work, such as silicone sealant or something stronger. Ask your hardware store specialist for the best products, hopefully, it might hold with something decent.

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