Creative ways to find the hole in your air mattress

So, you are having problems with your air mattress?

repair air mattressYou have taken it out when a relative suddenly came to visit. Or your kid’s friend was suddenly staying for a sleepover. “No problem”, you thought, “I will just take the air mattress out in a jiff.” But there was a problem though.

We have all been there. And you needn’t worry. There is a quick solution to your problem. Patching an air mattress can be done at home, in just under an hour. For a few bucks at that. However, that is a story for some other time.

What we are about to talk about is finding the hole on your air mattress. That one hole that has been giving you headaches.

The process of patching is easy, but the one thing you definitely need to do extremely carefully is to find the exact position where your mattress is leaking. With some of our advice, that will be a piece of cake for you.

There are a few ways of finding that darn hole causing the air leak.

We will focus on the most reliable one, since we want to be certain that you are not going to be having the same problem again.

There are 12 basic steps that you need to follow.

We will describe them in detail, so you won’t have any trouble when actually performing them.

1. Firstly, strip yourair mattress of all the bedding and sheets. It mustn’t have anything on it that was not present in its original state.

2. When you’ve stripped the mattress of its bedding, move it to a bigger space, where you can manipulate it easier. It should be a larger uncluttered room. An outdoor space will do as well. There you can flip it, rotate it, move you mattress in any direction and any possible way, so you can inspect the mattress better for any damage possible.

3. Next on, you will fill your mattress with air. It is not recommendable to fill it to its limits, since it can lead to further damage. And we wouldn’t want that. It would be best if you could fill it by using your own breath. You can also use any designated machinery for filling air mattresses, such as an air pump, if there is one available.

You mustn’t use an air compressor though, since use of compressors cause even more damage to the air mattress. Don’t let anyone fool you into doing that.

4. Now that the mattress is full of air, you are about to inspect the mattress visually. When a mattress is in its full capacity, even slight damages can be distinctly visible to a layman’s eye.

hole in air mattress5. Soap up your mattress! This can be an activity your kids might enjoy as well. And you can make a fun moment out of it.

You will need to cover your mattress with soapy water. What you will need for this is regular dishwasher soap fluid that can be found in any household. And some water. You can spray the water infused with soap, if you have a bottle with a spray on it. It is highly practical and time-saving. If not, you can always use a rag. All you have to do in that case is mix water with the liquid soap, and then put a rag into that water. You then wipe the mattress with that soaked-in-soap rag.

If there is a leak big enough, after soaping up you mattress, and applying minimal pressure to it, soap bubble will appear on the spot where the mattress is leaking. When you see the bubbles, you have found your source.

6. if you have a large enough bathtub, you can fill it with water up to a half or two thirds even, and then submerge one part of the mattress. If it doesn’t reveal a leak, then submerge another part of it.

You should not fill your bathtub to its top, because you can flood your bathroom when you put the mattress in.

Also, if you are lucky enough to have a pool, you can use that for submerging the entire mattress.

7. Sometimes you can feel the leak with just the palms of your hands. The palm is one of the most sensitive parts of human body, and its sensory network can feel even the most minute irritation.

Move your palms above the mattress, and if you reach the place of the leak, you will sense a brush of air on them.

8. Another thing you should try is trying to “hear the leak”. Just put your ear down to the mattress and listen to anything strange. If you hear a high-pitched noise, you have found your leak.

9. Inspect the seams! The seams are the most common places of leaks in air mattresses. Most common places are top and bottom edges.

10. Move your mattress outdoors, if you already haven’t done that in step 2. Now that it is outside, put it on big surface, like a table. If the table is wooden, cover it with a soft fabric, such as tablecloth or a blanket.

11. When you get your mattress set on a table, turn on your garden hose. You will then carefully “water” your air mattress, as if it was grass on a hot winters night. Only you will pay close attention to the way mattress responds. Every few seconds, you might notice small bubbles of air appearing above the leak.

12. Finally, you have to check if the nozzle is the source of your problems. Inspect it, try applying pressure around it, check if it is tight enough.

And that would be our twelve-step program for Air Mattress Owners Anonymous.

There are alternatives to it, two of which are worth mentioning.

One is only for those brave enough. Alas, if you opt for this unorthodox way, you will need a glass of water, without any soap. You will poor it right through the nozzle, into the mattress itself. Then, you will additionally fill it with air. When the mattress is full, you will shake it about like a rattle, or some other toy you enjoyed as a kid. A wet spot will appear at the place of the leak.

After that, you should disinfect the mattress from inside, by using a liter of methyl hydrate.

Another alternative is for those who love their Smartphone. You can just install an app that measure decibels, and use it to track the leak.

Whether you are a thorough person that will follow all the 12 steps, or a gadget enthusiast, we hope we’ve covered all of your questions.

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James Menta

Camping Gear Reviewer at
Three things you need to know about James - he holds a degree in Materials Technology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, he is a zealot for the great outdoors and he can never find his glasses.       In brief intermissions between looking for his glasses, he is the Editor-in-chief of

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