Various types of water mattresses. Waterbed with floral comforter.

How to Straighten Waterbed Baffles

June 22, 2009
How Towaterbeds

Want to fix your messed up waterbed baffles?  This article can help if your waterbed baffling is balled up, bunched up, or has shifted out of place. Here’s how to straighten out a baffled waterbed mattress.

First off what is a baffle? It is a term used to explain waterbed mattresses inside wave control and support systems. Some are better than others so be sure to speak with a sales associate or continue to follow our blogs.

Most water bed mattresses use layers of fiber which are inserted to not only reduce motion but when strategically placed will add extra support for the body. To eliminate stress on the vinyl bladder many systems are not tethered or tied to hold them in position. Even models that are tethered in place can shift so do not be fooled. A simple pickup of one end of the mattress to assist and speed up the draining process can cause the baffled insert to slide out of position.

Fiber baffling shifts typically in 2 ways


  • It gets accordioned to one end
  • Bunches up in a big ball, wad, hump, or pile somewhere inside the water mattress.

You can drain the mattress with an electric pump, waterbed drain and fill kit, or gravity siphon. The mattress must be flat and light. You can even finish draining with a wet dry shop vac. To straighten a bunched up fiber or baffling system the mattress must first be drained thoroughly and completely to the comparable weight when purchased new approx. 50-60 pounds or less. Ideally two people will make the job easier due to the size and weight of these mattresses.

Folding a Waterbed Mattress Correctly

Once the mattress has been completely drained, remove the cap and plug or remove your draining device. This allows the air to reenter the mattress. You may need to add additional air by way of a shop vacuum or blow dryer. You will then need to locate the ends of the fiber layers either at the head or foot end of the mattress. Grab the vinyl and grasp the end of the fiber and lift as high as possible. This will allow gravity to do its work and the fiber should stretch back into its original position.

If the fiber is balled or wadded up in a big pile the job is one that may never bear the results you are looking for. This means the layer of fibers have not only shifted out of place but most likely have come apart and folded over and knotted amongst themselves. This can sometimes be straightened by using the valve as a periscope to look inside the mattress. Pieces, layers, and corners must be located and pulled back into their original positions. The more layers the more complicated this can be. To do this grasp the vinyl and the locate corners and edges of the inserted baffling. The insert should feel and look totally flat before filling the mattress up back up. This method of repositioning is slower and more tedious and usually bears results that are much less than acceptable to sleep on. If baffle delimitation has occurred and the layers have separated from one another inside the mattress, honestly you are looking at the need to purchase a new mattress.

If you live in the St. Louis Mo area and have had this happen, we can provide the service of fixing a messed up baffling system or giving you an honest evaluation of the damage. Call us at 636-296-8540 to schedule an appointment and get rates.

Need to know how to use a drain and fill kit?