How To Drain a Waterbed Mattress

If you have a waterbed you need to move or replace, the hardest part of the job will be draining the waterbed mattress. There are two basic methods to do this. The first, and easiest method, is gravity forced draining. It involves nothing more than a coupling, garden hose, and a place to drain the water. The second method uses a siphon pump rather than gravity. It's a better option if the bed is in a basement or other location which prohibits gravity drainage.

Gravity Forced Draining

Gravity forced draining does just what its name implies: it uses gravity to force the water from the mattress to an outlet lower in height. If your waterbed mattress is on the same floor as the bathroom, the tub drain is the best option because it is located near the floor, whereas the drain hole of the mattress is usually six to ten inches off the floor.

If your waterbed set includes a coupling that allows for attaching a garden hose, you're set to go. If not, you'll need to contact your local waterbed dealer to get one. With coupling in hand, follow these steps:

  • Unplug the mattress heater.
  • Fold back the cover and the sides and corners to expose the mattress.
  • Run a garden hose from the bathtub or window to the bed and attach it to the coupling, running it underneath the foam bolster.
  • There should be a drain hose attached to the mattress which can be lifted above the level of the mattress. Pull it up, remove the plug, and attach it to the coupling.
  • With everything attached, lowering the drain hose back to its original position will start the draining.

An alternative to the bathtub method is to run the garden hose out the window, all the way to the ground. By stretching out the hose you maximize the water flow. Some people also connect their garden hose to an outside water faucet and run water up into the mattress for fifteen seconds or so, then disconnect the hose from the faucet and begin draining. This is said to force air from the hose up into the mattress, creating pressure that will speed up drainage.

Siphon Pump Draining

This method of draining a waterbed mattress requires a special pump available from a waterbed dealer. It's the only way to drain your mattress if you have no outlet lower in height. The process is similar to gravity forced draining in terms of setting up:

  • Unplug the mattress heater.
  • Fold back the cover and the sides and corners to expose the mattress.
  • Run a garden hose from a kitchen or bathroom sink to the location of the bed.
  • Connect the siphon pump to the sink faucet and garden hose according to the instructions included with the pump; make sure all fittings are tight.
  • Connect the other end of the hose to the mattress fill valve.
  • Your pump should have both a fill and drain setting. Using the fill setting, turn on the water for ten to fifteen seconds. This forces air from the hose into the mattress.
  • Shut off the water, switch the pump to “drain” mode, and turn the water back on.
  • Let it run until your mattress is empty.

Regardless of which method you use, the whole process will take at least a couple of hours. You may need to coax it along by lifting and folding the upper portions of the mattress as you go. When all is said and done, you should be able to remove the empty mattress with little effort.