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How to Find a Hole in An Air Mattress: (2 Methods)

We have all been there. You go to sleep on an air mattress and it all seems fine, but somehow by morning you end up on the floor with a deflated mattress.

Air mattress holes can be very small and hard to located. Luckily we have included 2 simple step-by-step methods you can use for finding and fixing a hole in your air mattress.


Quick Summary:

First Check the Valve

Before checking for actual holes check the valve to make sure the leak isn’t coming from there. Check both the valve itself and the perimeter around the valve where the valve meets the fabric.

Next Check for Holes (2 methods)

Method 1:

The Soapy Water Method (If your air mattress has a fabric layer on top then use Method #2)

Method #2:

The Tissue Paper Method

First Step: Check The Valve


Before we start looking for holes, you should first ensure that the value isn’t broken. Most leaks come from the value itself, rather than a rip or hole.

This is because valves are complex, and a single broken part can ruin the mechanism.

Step #1:

To check your valve, blow up your mattress as normal. 

Step #2:

Now lean down to the value. The bed needs to be in the same position as when you are sleeping, so don’t lift the value, or move it towards your you. Instead, move your body into place.

Step #3:

First, ensure that the plug is inserted properly. If you have a double valve system, make sure the plug is completely pushed in.

Step #4

Next put pressure on the mattress, and leave your hand near the value. If you can feel air coming out, you know that the plug isn’t properly sealed.

Step #5:

If the plus is leaking you may need a new plug or you could try stuffing or taping the plug until a replacement is found.

Step #6

If the plug is not leaking move your hand to the seal around the plug. This is where the fabric meets plastic. This area can easily rip or tear and cause a leak around the edge.

Again, use your hand to feel the air leaving the mattress when pressure is applied.

Step #7

If you cannot feel any air pressure, then your value is probably secure. Now you can search for holes.

No Valve Leak? Now Lets Check The Mattress for Holes

Method #1: The Soapy Water Method

NOTE: This method isn’t suitable for plush top air mattresses. This means mattresses that have a fabric top layer. If you use this technique on a fabric top air mattress, you could ruin the fibers.

If you don’t think water will mix well with your fabrics, move on to method two.

Tools Needed

Dish Soap: You can use any type of dish soap as long as it’s bleach free.

  • Sponge
  • Warm water
  • A permanent marker
  • Duct tape
  • A bucket

Step #1:

First, make sure that your bucket is filled with warm soapy water.

You need enough water to submerge your sponge, and enough soap to create a good helping of bubbles. 

Step #2:

Next, blow the mattress up as normal. Try to avoid over-inflating as this could rip the hole, making it harder to fix.

Step #3:

With your wet sponge, start wiping the mattress slowly, from one corner to the next. Make sure to wipe the seams as well as the surface.

Step #4:

Move slowly, and put pressure on different areas of the mattress.

The idea is to force air out of the hole. If your water trail goes over the hole, the air pressure will cause bubbles to form.

This is why you need to move slowly and with a keen eye.

Step #5:

Once you’ve found a hole, circle it with your permanent marker, and keep going. There could be more than one tear in the mattress, so don’t stop.

Step #6:

Once every area has been searched, go back to your marked locations. Wait for the area to completely dry, and then cover the marked areas with duct tape.

This method is simple, quick, and kind of fun.

Method #2: The Tissue Paper Method

This method can be used with any air mattress, but it isn’t as simple. You need to listen very carefully or have a large hole for this method to work.

Tools needed

Tissue paper (Toilet paper will work too)

A marker

Duct tape.

Step #1:

Find a quiet area and inflate your mattress as normal. Don’t over-inflate your mattress, as this can lead to ripping.

Step #2:

Start on one corner of your mattress, and lay down your thin layer of tissue. Cup the outside, and put pressure on the area around your tissue. 

While this is happening, listen for a hissing sound. You might even notice your tissue paper moving.

Step #3:

Once you’re sure one area is hole free, move on to the next. Don’t forget the seams or edges, as these are the areas most likely to rip.

Step #4:

Once you’ve found a hole, circle it with your marker and keep going. Make sure to check both sides of the mattress.

This method is difficult, as it requires a lot more concentration, a quiet environment, and thin enough paper to make the whistling sound.


Always check the valve first. A simple break in the mechanism could completely break the whole machine. Repairing a broken valve often costs as much as buying a new mattress.

If your leak is coming from this area, you may as well buy a new one.

However, if the air is coming from a hole in the fabric, then duct tape could solve your problems.

If you have a plush or fabric mattress, use the paper towel method. If it’s made from latex or water-safe materials, use the soapy water technique.

Soapy water is the easier method, as the air will create pockets in the water, leaving you with visual and even comical views of the hole.

The tissue paper method can be frustrating, especially if the hole is small.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Is My Air Mattress Deflating When There’s No Puncture?

You may have overinflated the mattress. If there is no value break and no hole, then you may have stretched the fabric.

Overinflating can stretch the fabric of the mattress making it harder to stay taut. 

If your mattress is technologically advanced it may prevent overinflating and reduce the mattress down to its correct inflatability.

You may find this pressure level uncomfortable due to personal preference.

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