How To Find A Hole In An Air Mattress

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Air mattresses are a great choice when it comes to usability, portability, and convenience. Be it extra guests or plans of camping, air mattresses always come to our rescue.

But what if you start sinking and land on a flat base in the morning?

Quite uncomfortable!

A leak in a mattress can lead to such a situation. The best-known air mattresses are also prone to leaks.

Locating the source of the leak is like finding a needle in a haystack and then repairing it can be a challenging task, but in our article, we will help you with different methods to find and repair holes.

How to Locate the Hole

The following methods can be used at your convenience to locate a leak in an air mattress-

Method 1- Checking the Valves

Step 1- Remove the bedding from the air mattress. The leak might be very minute which might get missed due to sheets. Keep the bedding in a separate place.

Step 2- Shift the mattress to a place that allows movement. We might need to rotate, inflate, deflate, and flip the mattress which requires an adequate amount of space. Also, make sure the place has enough light to make the smallest defect visible.

In case you are camping, it is advisable to keep the mattress inside a tent away from the breeze and various sounds.

Step 3- Pump in maximum air. We can use our breath or an air pump to fill the air. High-pressure sources such as air compressors should not be used to inflate. Manufacturers warn not to overinflate the mattress as that can lead to the bursting of the mattress.

Step 4- Inspect the valve- Valves can be a main source of leaks so it is recommended to first inspect the valves rather than other parts. Make sure that the valve plug is fitted tightly into the valve stem.

If there is a problem, the valve plug will not completely seal with the stem. If the plug is completely pressed against the stem then we can move ahead to check the rest of the mattress.

Method 2- Dish Soap Method

Step 1- Take a spray bottle with soap water. A sponge or bubble soap can also be used in the absence of a spray bottle.

Step 2- Spray or wipe the fully inflated mattress. Always start with the valve zone and make sure the valve is correctly fitted.

Step 3- Spray or wipe the entire mattress in a systematic manner and locate any bubbles. A leak will be exposed by bubble formation. A word of caution here, the soap water usually does not affect the mattress but checking your mattress manual or label is recommended.

Step 4- Once you locate the leak, wipe the area with a towel and mark it using a permanent marker. You can also use duct tape or felt marker.

Step 5- Dry the mattress in sun or wind for an hour or two. This will not only make the adhesive patching easy but will also protect the mattress from mildew and mold.

Method 3- Examining the Mattress

Examining the air mattress for leaks
Examining the Air Mattress for Leaks

Step 1- Visually investigate the mattress. This should be done with a fully inflated mattress and in a lighted area. Make sure to check the seams of the mattress which are a common spot for leaks.

Step 2- Gently move your hand on the parts of the mattress. You will feel airbrushing through your palm. This can also be done with wet hands as escaping air will make it feel colder.

Step 3- Press the mattress and listen for escaping air. Escaping air makes a hissing sound and our ear is more sensitive to escaping air.

Step 4- After finding the leak mark it for further repair. Check the other parts of the mattress also as there might be more than one leak.

Method 4- Submerging the Mattress

Step 1- Before proceeding with this method, kindly check the label as some manufacturers recommend not to do so. Submerging the mattress will make the fabric saturated. The synthetic fibers as coating might also begin to separate.

Step 2- It is instructed not to completely inflate the mattress as air escaping under the mattress will not be visible. Full inflated mattresses are difficult to submerge in a pool or bathtub.

Step 3- After submerging, check for any bubbles which are caused due to leaking air. After that partially dry the mattress and mark the leaking area. The mattress should be then dried completely before any repair work.

Method 5- Garden Hose Method

Step 1- In an open area, place the mattress on a table or a deck. Cover the surface with paper or vinyl tablecloth if it's made of wood. Get a hose pipe with a free flow of water.

Step 2- Flood the valve area with water and move the mattress slowly as the leak can be visible only for a few seconds. Double-check the valve fitting as bubbles can erupt due to loose valves.

Step 3- Repeat the above steps with a slow stream of water all over the mattress. Pay attention to the escaping bubbles.

Step 4- As soon as you locate a hole, wipe the area, and mark it. Continue the process further as there can be more than one leak. Dry the mattress in sun or breeze after completion of the entire process.

Once the leaks have been identified, we should proceed to repair the holes which lead to the leaking of air from the mattress. Several, self-doing methods are available to repair the mattress leaks.

How to Patch an Air Mattress

Patch an Air Mattress using a Glue

Method 1- Using a Patch Kit

Step 1- Many air mattresses come with a patch kit, if not we can buy them at a very cheap rate from camping and repair stores. It contains numerous patches, glue, and sandpaper. You can also get special patches precisely for your mattress.

Step 2- Completely deflate the mattress so that the air caught inside does not ruin the effect of the glue.

Step 3 – Flocked mattresses have a soft layering or covering. It needs to be removed with sandpaper around the hole so that the patch sticks properly.

Step 4- Clean the area with soap water or isopropyl alcohol to remove any dirt around the whole. Post cleaning, dry the area completely so that the adhesive works efficiently.

Step 5– Cut out or use a patch that sufficiently covers the area. For maximum coverage, the patch size should be 1-2 centimeters extra from each side.

Step 6- Paste the patch. This process can be done in two ways. Firstly the patch comes as a sticker that can be directly placed on it. Secondly, an adhesive is needed to be applied first before placing the patch. Either way, place the patch and do not replace it for a better result as this will eventually lessen the stickiness.

Step 7- Apply hand or heel pressure on the patch to make sure that it firmly sticks to the mattress surface.

Step 8- Let the sticky patch dry for 2-3 hours. You can place a flat, heavy object to ensure that pressure is given at all times.

Step 9- Repeat the steps for all the leaks. Once dried inflate the mattress and check again for any air escaping by placing your ear near the patch. Leave the mattress inflated overnight for better results.

Method 2- Using a Hot Glue Gun

Step 1- After finding the hole, clean the leaky area with soap or isopropyl alcohol It removes the dirt so that the glue can show effectiveness.

Step 2- Insert a glue stick into a low-temperature glue gun. You should check on the temperature specifically as a higher temperature will just escalate the problem and create a bigger hole.

Step 3- Plug the glue gun and allow it to heat up fully. Remove any tape that was used to mark the leak.

Step 4- Squeezing the trigger of the gun, gently allow a dab of hot glue to drop over the leak. This will help to temporarily repair the hole in an air mattress. Be careful and make sure the nose of the gun does not touch the mattress.

Method 3- Using Duct Tape

Step1- This process also starts with the cleaning of the area around the hole. After drying, pour epoxy glue or rubber cement over the hole. Allow the material to dry completely.

Step 2- Cut a piece of duct tape that is long enough to cover the hole and slightly around it. Place and press it firmly over the punctured area

Step 3- Run your fingertips over the duct tape to squeeze out any air bubbles caught while placing the tape. This also allows the tape to lay flat over the surface.

Step 4- Place extra layers of tape at different angles in a similar manner. Inflate the mattress and re-check if the air is escaping from the leak.


Quick way to Fix a Leaky Air Mattress on Camping


When it comes to air mattresses, leaks are inevitable. Even the high-quality mattress with time can become susceptible to a leak. We are sure that utilizing one of the above methods will help you to find and repair a leak in your air mattress even in case of an emergency.

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