How to Patch Up an Air Mattress?

An inflatable mattress, also known as an air mattress, is perfect for nights when you have company and you need an additional bed, or when you go camping. However, over time, air beds can develop small holes on the surface of the mattress or on its stitching (probably from sharp objects). Even a single hole can cause your air mattress to deflate, which is why you need to repair the hole on your air bed in order to use it again.

Luckily, inflatable mattress patch up is usually an easy process that you can do by using either a DIY patch method or an air mattress repair kit. Continue reading to learn the right steps to take when patching up a leak in your inflatable mattress, because in this article, you’ll find some tips that can be quite effective for patching up your inflatable mattress to full functionality.

How To Find Out Whether Your Air Mattress is Leaking or Not?

Before you remove the beddings from your air mattress and look out for leaks, there is one thing that you need to keep in mind: no inflatable mattress holds air indefinitely. You’ll naturally need to reinflate your inflatable bed whether or not there is a hole.

For instance, cold air can cause your air bed to shrink. As the temperature in your house decreases during the night, your air bed will most likely soften a little bit as the temperature decreases. You can prevent this if you put a space heater by your air bed. Also, an inflatable mattress needs to stretch after it’s bought. Don’t worry if your air bed feels a little bit soft shortly after you’ve inflated it the first several times, as your mattress will adapt after a short period of time.

In order to detect whether your air mattress has a leak or not, you need to inflate it and if, after a few minutes, it’s severely deflated, then your air mattress definitely has a leak. Sit on your air bed after you’ve inflated it, as it should not sink more than 2,5-5 centimeters (1-2 inches) under your weight.

If you still aren’t sure whether your air bed is leaking or not, inflate it and leave it throughout the night with a weight on it, such as several books. If in the morning your mattress is deflated more than a little, you definitely have a hole in your air mattress. Once you’ve established this, it’s time to find the leak in your air mattress.

But before you start your inspection of the entire mattress, check out the valve that’s holding the air in the mattress. Put your hand on the valve and feel if the air is getting out. If this is the case, then your mattress doesn’t have a hole, instead, it’s leaking from its valve. Unfortunately, the mattress valve is quite hard to repair at home, so you can use your warranty and call the manufacturers to order a replacement.

How to Find the Leak in Your Air Mattress?

Once you find out that your inflatable mattress is really leaking, it’s time to find the hole from where your air mattress is leaking. Let’s go over four effective methods that you can use to find the leak in your air mattress: the quiet method, the dish soap method, the bathtub method, and the tissue paper method.

The Quiet Method

Silence is quite handy when it comes to detecting a hole in a leaky air mattress. In a silent area,  inflate the leaking air mattress to its maximum range. Put some pressure on various parts of the air mattress and listen extremely carefully for a light hissing sound.

At the same time, try gently running your fingertips up and down the stitching on your air mattress, because touch is more truthful than hearing. If you’re lucky enough to find the hole on your leaky air mattress, circle it using a pen, or even better, a permanent marker.

The Bathtub Method

Maybe the most trustworthy method of finding a leak is by dipping your air mattress underwater. To do this, you need to fill up your bathtub halfway and submerge your air mattress in, one part at a time, applying pressure using your body.

As the weather in your bathtub settles, you’ll be able to see a small stream of air bubbles floating to the surface from the location of the leak. After you find the leak in your air bed, mark it using a pen or a permanent marker, but don’t stop dipping your air mattress because usually there are more leaks than one. Therefore, continue dipping your air mattress until you have found all the leaks.

The Dish Soap Method

First, you need to fill a bucket with soapy water, and make sure that you put a lot of dish soap in it. You’ll want to have plenty of huge soap bubbles. Make sure you blow up your inflatable mattress in a location with plenty of room on the ground around your mattress. The next thing you need to do is to inflate your air mattress to its total capacity.

Wet a sponge with the soapy water mixture and wipe the whole air mattress. Make sure that all of the seams are wet. Apply a small amount of pressure to the air mattress in order to force the air out the hole and find the air mattress leak. At the same time, look out for any soap bubbles forming, which will occur as soon as you glide the sponge over the leak.

Once you spot soap bubbles fizzing out of your air mattress, you’ll know that you have found the hole in your inflatable mattress. And finally, using a permanent marker or a pen, mark the location of the leak you have to patch up.

The Tissue Paper Method

Another method to find a hole in your inflatable mattress is by using tissue paper. Starting at one end of your mattress, put the paper tissue on the surface of the mattress and apply pressure all around to direct the air to the area you’re focusing on.

Move the paper tissue over various locations of your inflatable bed, and pay more attention to the bottom and edges where holes are more likely to appear. At the same time listen carefully for hissing sounds and look out for moving tissue when there’s air leaking beneath it. Once the paper tissue is in a location where there is a hole, you’re going to hear a hissing sound and spot a movement, so just mark the location using a permanent marker or a pen.

How to Repair Your Leaking Air Mattress?

There are several methods that you can use to repair your leaking mattress and here are some of them.

Use a Mattress Patch Kit

Patch kits can be found in almost all outdoor stores. Each patch kit contains: sandpaper, patches for bike tires, air beds, and tents. Ensure that the patch kit works on vinyl or plastic. Now, all you need to do is follow these few simple steps:

  • Deflate your air bed completely, you don’t want air to get under the patch and ruin the glue, so leave all the air out of your air bed before you start patching it up.
  • If the leak is on the soft side of your air mattress, you need to remove the soft covering before you stick your patch, otherwise your patch won’t stick. So, using a sandpaper, gently remove the soft coating until the hole is surrounded only with plastic.
  • Use alcohol or soapy water to clean the area with the hole from dirt, debris, or dust, and fully dry the area.
  • Cut out a patch that is approximately one and a half times bigger than the leak.
  • Apply the patch according to the directions of the manufacturer, because the patch can function in two ways: you need to apply special glue and then put the patch over the hole or you can just apply them as stickers.
  • Firmly press down the patch and hold for about half a minute or more.
  • Leave the glue on the patch to dry for approximately 3-4 hours. Don’t inflate your mattress until the glue is fully dry.
  • Inflate your air bed and check for leaks again.

Make Your Own DIY Patch Kit

It’s quite easy to make a DIY patch kit, all you need is the inner section of a rubber bike tire, a PVC shower curtain, or a pool liner. Now, all you need to do is to follow these simple steps:

  • Cut a patch from the shower curtain, the pool liner, or bike tire that is big enough to cover the entire area where the hole is, adding an additional 2,5 centimeters (1 inch) on every side to provide a thorough seal. In case you’ve found more than one hole, repeat this process for the rest of the leaks.
  • Make sure that your inflatable bed has a smooth, dry, and clean surface by putting some rubbing oil to the location where the hole is, preventing the patches from slipping away from your inflatable bed.
  • Apply adhesives, such as rubber cement, gorilla glue, or epoxy, according to the instructions, because every adhesive can be applied differently. Make sure that you have put a generous amount of the glue in order to make the seal tighter.
  • And finally, firmly press down the patch on the hole with heavy things or simply with your hand for a few minutes. You can also leave your inflatable bed to dry completely throughout the night and inflate it the next morning.

Use Superglue

You might find superglue quite helpful for patching up an inflatable mattress that has thin and tiny punctures with two edges you need to adhere together, such as cuts from knives and scissors.

You can just squeeze superglue above the hole using stitch-like motions and apply superglue to the puncture. After the first layer of superglue is dry, apply another layer until the entire puncture and at least 2,5 centimeters (1 inch) around it is covered.

Now, inflate the air mattress and check the puncture. This method is very useful for patching an air mattress when you’re camping and you don’t have a repair kit by your side. 

Patch a Hole Using Hot Glue Gun

You might find this a little bit controversial, however, a hot glue gun can be quite helpful for patching up your airbed, although it’s only a temporary solution because the seal can last only for about a week or so. So, if it’s an emergency and you don’t have patch kit, you can use this method:

  • Find the leak on your air mattress and mark it using a permanent marker or a pen.
  • Put the glue stick into the gun and leave it to heat up.
  • Squeeze the glue gun trigger and dab a tiny blob of the hot glue on the leak, sealing it fully.
  • Leave the hot glue to cool down and check whether the hole is sealed up by inflating your airbed.

You can use a hot glue gun for tiny leaks that don’t need a patch. Be careful while using a hot glue gun, though, as you don’t want to make another (even bigger) hole.

Use Duct Tape

Duck tape is another thing that you can use to patch up your air mattress when you don’t have a repair kit or any adhesive by your side. All you need to do is to cut a piece from a duct tape that is big enough to cover the hole and some space around it and apply the duct tape on a decreased mattress surface.

Keep in mind that the duck tape glue tends to lose its grip after a short period of time, so if your plan is to use this repair method, you’ll end up repatching the leak on a regular basis. This is a good temporary solution until you buy a strong adhesive or a repair kit to patch up the leak permanently.

Concluding Thoughts

As you can see, patching up a leaky air mattress isn’t really challenging. However, finding the leak in your air mattress can be a little bit tricky, but the leak on your mattress is as good as done once you find it. You only need to have several basic materials and a bit of time to patch up your air mattress.