Can Bed Bugs Live On an Air Mattress?

Dealing with bed bugs can be a frustrating, stressful and upsetting experience — to say the least. If you’ve had to deal with them before, we know you can attest to just how unnerving it can be. While you likely already know that bed bugs can live in your mattress, this leaves many people wondering: Can bed bugs live on an air mattress?

Today, we’re going to look into exactly that. We’ll give you tips on recognizing them, how to avoid them, and even recommend some of our top air mattress picks to ensure you have a restful night’s sleep — bed bug free, of course.

Can Bed Bugs Live On an Air Mattress?

can bed bugs live on an air mattress

Yes, bed bugs definitely can survive on your air mattress. In fact, they can survive just about anywhere.

But there is some good news here: They’re nocturnal critters that prefer to burrow into the soft filling of your traditional mattress — however, your air mattress’ construction makes it somewhat inhospitable for them. Though many things can puncture your air mattress, bed bugs aren’t one of them.

That doesn’t mean your air mattress is totally safe. Bed bugs can crawl on top of your air mattress or lurk inside the crevices or under the edges.

Thankfully, because a quality air mattress is built with strong, modern materials, bed bugs will only be able to get on your air mattress’ surface. This makes a good air mattress a great alternative to a traditional mattress, as long as you clean the surface well and avoid cross-contamination from an existing bed bug infestation.

What to Watch For: Bed Bugs on an Air Mattress

Do you suspect that bed bugs live on your air mattress? Or your traditional fabric or foam mattress? There are a few warning signs you should look out for. If you notice any of these signs, you may wish to consider contacting your local pest control company—bed bugs are a job only for professionals.

Small Red Welts in Your Air Mattress

We hate to break it to you, but those are bites. While you’re sleeping, bed bugs can emerge from their hiding places. They’re attracted to your body heat and blood. While a few bites may be a mosquito, a large number of bites are a warning sign for bed bugs. Pay attention to your back and sides, as these are prime spots for bites.

Dark Spots on Your Mattress or Bedding

When you are changing your bedding, watch for small dark spots on your mattress or sheets. These can be blood stains, as well as bed bug droppings. If you notice these spots frequently appearing, you are most likely dealing with a bed bug invasion. Be sure to call an exterminator before you replace your mattress — unless they’re eliminated, they’ll just move right into your new mattress.

Bed Bug Eggs or Shells

Check around your closets, baseboards, and other furniture for tiny white-colored eggs, otherwise known as bed bug shells. These creatures shed their skins several times, and can lay hundreds of eggs over their lifetime. If you find these creepy things in your house, it means they’ve set up a nest somewhere nearby, and are likely burrowing holes.

How to Protect Your Air Mattress

can bed bugs live on an air mattress

It can be really easy to forget about your air mattress until you really need it, such as packing for a road trip, when your basement floods, or when you have a last-minute guest staying with you.

When these situations arise, you’ll want to have a clean air mattress to sleep on. If it’s left dirty, they can become a prime target for all types of bugs, including bed bugs, as well as dirt, grime and bacteria.

Thankfully, cleaning an air mattress is a fairly simple process. It also helps protect you from bed bugs getting on your air mattress. If you follow this simple procedure, your air mattress will stay cleaner and last longer. 

Unplug Your Air Mattress

Avoid any electrical shorts to your mattress, especially if it comes with a built-in air pump. It may also make it easier to clean and inspect for bed bugs, dirt or stains.

Remove Any Bedding

Strip the mattress of sheets, blankets, and any covers or pads. Try to leave your air mattress inflated, so you can clean without wrinkles, creases or gaps.

Break Out The Vacuum

Remove dust and debris if there is any visible dirt. Don’t scrub too hard, as you may actually push the dirt into the surface of your mattress.

Quick 50:50 Clean

You can create a gentle and effective cleaning solution with some mild soap and water, a 50:50 water-vinegar solution, or diluted rubbing alcohol. Just wipe down your mattress with a damp cloth and be sure to reach every surface. Carefully make sure no moisture enters your air mattress, as this can lead to mold or mildew.

Let It Dry

Be sure to give your air mattress plenty of time to dry, between 3-5 hours, or preferably overnight. Putting your mattress away with any residual moisture is a surefire way to attract mold and provide a damp, dark habitat for pests!

The Best Air Mattresses

Whether you are finding a new air mattress of your own, or stocking a guest bedroom, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the best-quality air mattress for your money. These air mattresses are built to last, and hold up well to even everyday use. Here are a few of our favorites:

King Koil with Built-In Pump

Available in three sizes, this high-quality air mattress has features like a soft, quilted top layer, and even a built-in pillow. This mattress inflates in under two minutes, and stays inflated all night. The 1-year warranty will help you sleep easier, too.

EnerPlex Queen Air Mattress

Another one of our top picks, the EnerPlex provides 16 inches of surprising comfort, and removes the hassle of inflation with a built-in air pump. Crafted with long-lasting PVC, this mattress can stand up to regular use. This mattress also features a great level of affordability as well.

EZ INFLATE Air Mattress

Another great mattress with a built-in air pump, the EZ INFLATE really lives up to its name. Rated to hold up to 300 lbs., this mattress inflates in under 2 minutes and can easily be topped up in seconds.

Bottom Line

While bed bugs can survive on the surface of your air mattress, you don’t need to worry about them burrowing beneath your head. With some simple cleaning and prevention steps, your air mattress can be a safe place to sleep for many nights to come.  

For more of our top-quality air mattress picks, check out our guide of the best air mattresses for everyday use.

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