Use Dish Soap and/or a Garden Hose to Locate Leaks in an Air Mattress

Use Dish Soap and/or a Garden Hose to Locate Leaks in an Air Mattress
Photo: OSDG, Shutterstock

After years of sleeping on low-quality air mattresses, you finally decided to invest in a good one. Maybe it even has special features — like a built-in air pump, or being thicker.

You’re confident in your purchase, until one morning, after going to sleep on the air mattress, you wake up in the middle of what feels like a pool float that needs more air. Somehow, the curse of the air mattress has struck again.

Sure, it could be an issue with the valve, but it could also be a hole. And despite being incredibly annoying, these holes can be really hard to find. In an article for BobVila.com, Tony Carrick shares two methods for locating the leak. Here’s what to know.

First, check the valves of the air mattress

While your leak could be the result of a hole, there’s also a chance the air valves aren’t properly secured (some have a double lock, requiring you to push them in twice). As long as you’re in the area, also check the material around the air valves for any rips or tears, Carrick explains. If everything there looks normal, it’s time to find that hole.

Use dish soap to find holes in an air mattress

Add some dish soap to a spray bottle full of water. “The dish soap makes the solution more viscous, allowing it to stick to the surface of the mattress long enough for you to find the leak,” Carrick writes.

Then, spray the solution on different parts of the inflated mattress, starting with where it’s more likely to leak, like the area around the valve, and then the seams. You’ll know when you’ve hit a hole, because the solution will start bubbling up, and/or you’ll be able to see where the air is escaping.

As long as you’ve gotten this far, you might as well continue to spritz the mattress, in case there are multiple holes, and as a way to clean the whole thing. When you find a hole, mark it using piece of duct tape or a permanent marker, so you know exactly where you need to patch it up.

Spray the air mattress with a garden hose

This method is pretty similar to the one involving dish soap, and in fact, you can always start with the dish soap and then spray the mattress with a garden hose — not only to rinse it, but also to help identify any rogue holes you may have missed.

Make sure the mattress is as fully inflated as it can get, and sitting on a flat surface, like a patio or driveway. Then start spraying the hose (using a sprayer attachment, or blocking part of the opening of the house with your thumb, so it’s a fan of water and not just a stream) on different sections of the air mattress. Again, if you see bubbles forming in any particular area, do a closer investigation, because there’s a good chance you’ve found a hole.

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