Air mattresses are good until they start leaking. The first way to tell is your air mattress is leaking is it starts to deflate. The problem with a deflated air mattress is that it gets so uncomfortable to lie on and if it’s not repaired soon enough the damage could spread further. Luckily, most of the time, air mattress leaks are small are easily repairable without having to pay a professional to do it for you. And, the materials need to repair them are readily available and cheap. So, here is how to repair an air mattress:

Note: air mattresses lose air naturally so before going ahead to look for leaks, you can re-inflate it just to be sure that it is indeed leaking. Also, cold environments will result to your mattress shrinking, and it will soften. To prevent this, you can adjust the room’s temperature. Again, when inflated for the first time, air mattresses tend to “stretch” and might feel softer, but they soon adapt and become firm.

This article will focus on how to repair an air mattress using a patch kit, how to repair a mattress without a patch kit and tips on how to care for an air mattress.


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Step 1: Finding the leak

Finding the leak on an air mattress can prove to be a hard task especially if this is something that you have not done before. But, just to be sure that the mattress is indeed leaking, inflate it fully then give it some few hours to see if it will have deflated significantly. You can also sit on it to see how far it will sink because ideally, it should not sink more than an inch or two.

Check the valve

After you are sure that your air mattress is leaking, the first place to check for the leak should be the valve. Now, this is easy as you will just hold your hand few inches away from the valve and wait to feel if any air is escaping. The valve on air mattresses looks like a plug, and it is located near the air pump.

If after checking you notice that the air is leaking through the valve, you will need to call the manufacturer for a replacement because air mattress valves cannot be repaired at home.

Check the bottom of the mattress

The next place that you should check after the valve is the bottom of your air mattress as this is the second most common area where most leaks happen. Reason being, most of the time people forget to check the floor to ensure that there are no even the tiniest objects as with time and the pressure from the sleepers, such object will create leaks.

To check, re-inflate the mattress and let it stand on a wall in a way that you can easily examine the bottom side.

Listen for any hissing sound

The easiest way to locate the leak is by ensuring that the room is dead silent then listen for any hissing sound. You will need to move closer to the mattress as the sound might not be too loud. Pass your ear near every part of the mattress and turn to the top side if it’s not on the bottom.

Wet your hand

If you cannot trace the leak with your ear, don’t give up. There are several other ways to try and get it. Wet the back of your hand then pass it near the mattress very slowly paying attention to see if you will feel it get cold, as you will feel when you pour spirit on yourself. However, the room has to be warmer for this method to work. Otherwise, you won’t feel it. Alternatively, you can wet your lips as they are more sensitive and see if it will work.

Use soapy water

Your manufacturer might have warned against using soapy water on your air mattress as this could encourage mildew and mold but if you do it once and dry your mattress completely, there will be no harm.

With this method, you will want to mix water and soap without creating too much foam/bubbles. Then, get a cloth or sponge and use it to wipe the surface of the mattress with the soapy water. Do it slowly as you check to see if any bubbles are formed in the process.

Mark the leak using a sharpie or a pen

Any of the above methods will help you locate the leak and when you do, don’t be quick to move away before marking it because it might take you more time to find it. However, you will want to dry your mattress immediately if you used the soapy water method, even before you proceed to repair.

Deflate the air mattress

After marking the leak, deflate the mattress because repairing it when it’s still inflated could be hard and the air could get under the patch thus ruining the glue.


Step 2: Repair the Leak

Using a patch kit

This is the most common way of repairing an air mattress, and all you need is to buy a patch kit. Patch kits are available at most outdoor stores, and they are affordable. The kit contains sandpaper, glue, and patches. They are mostly in the camping section because they are mostly used for repairing tents, tires, bikes, etc. Alternatively, you can get a tire patch is the hole is too small.

Note: you can also get various air mattress repair kits online, but you have to make sure that they work on vinyl or plastic.

Sand away any flocking or the soft covering near the leaking hole

Using the sandpaper that comes with the kit, sand away the soft coating near the hole to reach the mattress’ plastic material. This helps in making the patch stick better. If you don’t have a sandpaper, you can use a wire brush.

Clean the sanded area

Once sanded, clean the area with isopropyl alcohol or some soapy water to remove any dust or dirt from sanding and dry it completely.

Cut the patch

The best way to go about cutting the patch is to make it a tad bigger than the hole. This ensures that you cover the hole and the area around it. If the patch is precut, choose one that’s bigger enough for proper covering.

See the manufacturer’s instructions on how to apply it

Some patches have a sticky side so you will just apply them directly but some will require you to use glue. Once you apply it, don’t remove it even if it is not sitting as you wanted, as long as it has covered the hole properly.

Press the patch down with your hand

This makes it attach firmly and also prevents air build up under the patch. You can also roll it down to flatten it.

Leave it for 2-3 hours

For the glue to dry and adhere firmly on the mattress, leave the patch for some time before inflating it. You can also put something on the patch to help with the process.

Inflate the mattress while checking if the repair worked

You can use any of the methods mentioned above on how to check for leaks and see if the patch stopped the leaking. Also, pay attention to see if the mattress is deflating after you have slept on it.


How to Fix a Hole in an air Mattress without a Patch Kit

Duct Tape

For a temporary fix, duct tape can help because sometimes the leak starts when you are not in a position to get a patch kit or send the mattress back to the manufacturer for repair. However, you should look for a lasting solution soon because the glue on a duct tape does not stick for long on the mattress’ surface.

Note: hot glue should bet be used to fix a leak on an air mattress because it will melt other parts of the mattress creating bigger holes.

Sand the area around the hole to reach the mattress’ plastic material

Just as you would do when using a patch kit, sand away the soft coat on the mattress. This enables the tape to be in contact with the plastic part of the mattress hence adhering firmly. You can either use a wire brush or sandpaper. Be careful not to overdo it.

Improvise a patch

If you have malleable plastic such as a shower curtain, cut a square piece from it but if you have a professional patch go ahead and use it. Ensure that the square patch is bigger than the hole such that it covers even the areas around the hole.

Attach the patch with glue

For this part, you will need stronger glue such as gorilla glue, super glue or krazyglue as they are more adhesive. Also, use a generous amount of the glue and cover the hole completely.

Hold down the patch till it adheres to the glue

Press and hold the patch for some minutes into the glue to allow it adhere firmly. Also, ensure the pressure is even and you can also smoothen it with your fingers and wipe off any excess glue. Only stop pressing when you are sure that the patch has completely adhered into the glue.  You can also place something on the patch to help with the process and give it some hours before inflating.


Taking Care of your Air Mattress

Repairing an air mattress might be easy, but you don’t want to add too many patches on it because it might not look so good and it might end up not functioning as it should. Now, for you to enjoy using your air mattress for a long time, taking proper care of it is not a must do no matter where you are. Most people buy air mattresses for outdoor use especially when camping, and the real danger lies in where they are going to set the mattress up.

First, when transporting it, squeeze all the air out by opening the two halves and rolling it up tightly. Second, close the valve then reroll it to get all the air out and open the valve to see if any air will come out. Repeat this till no more air comes out. This helps prolong the lifespan of the air mattress.

Third, get a pad for the air mattress. A pad creates a barrier between the surface where you will be placing the mattress and the mattress itself thus preventing any damage.

But, most importantly, even before placing the pad on the floor, inspect the area to ensure that there are no objects because even the smallest objects are capable of puncturing the air mattress.

Again, don’t leave your air mattress out under too hot sun or near any heat (be it fire or heater) for too long as this too will weaken it if not cause immediate damage.

Also, when inflating it, you want to inflate it completely because using it when it is half inflated weakens it and it might not reach its lifespan. And, do not over inflate it. Overdoing it will stretch it out, and once it reaches its elastic limit, it will burst. Some people think that because an air mattress is thick, it cannot burst from over inflation.

To avoid mold and mildew, keep your air mattress clean. However, if you happen to use any liquid, give it enough time to dry before packing and keeping it away. Also, most manufacturers warn that using water and soap to clean an air mattress will result in it having mold so you might want to avoid this. You can, however, use alcohol or just wipe the dirt with a dry cloth.


Final thought

Repairing an air mattress can be a simple task if you have all the necessary materials. However, locating the leaking hole could take some time, but luckily, this article shares several ways on how to go about locating it. But, remember to check your warranty or ask your manufacturer if repairing it yourself will result in you losing the warranty.

Easy Tips on How to Repair an Air Mattress
Tom Spark is a chair researcher, VPN expert, and a geek product extraordinaire. When he’s not spell checking his articles with Grammarly, he’s playing video games, watching too much Netflix, and deciding if he likes his current chair or not.

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