How to Patch an Air Mattress: 3 Easy Methods


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If you have an air mattress, you’re going to have to patch a hole at some point. It’s just inevitable. Even the smallest of holes in the air mattress can quickly turn it from a comfortable bed to a deflated mess. This can be a real pain (literally) when it happens. 

While a lot of folks might just toss their air mattress out when it leaks or sags, there’s no need to do that. With little time and effort, you can easily patch up an air mattress and get it back to working condition.

Here, we will show you a few DIY ways to locate and patch your air mattress with or without patch kit so that you can get back to sleep in no time!

How to Patch Hole in an Air Mattress

How to Find a Leak in an Air Mattress?

The first step is to locate the hole in your air mattress. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it can be pretty tricky. If the hole is small, then it might be barely noticeable.

The most common methods of finding a leak in your air mattress are messy. But before you jump into that, try this first step.

1) Check the Obvious Locations

The valve, seams, and built-in pump are the most common leak areas on an air mattress. Looking closely in these areas can save you a lot of time. If the valve is loose or not appropriately inserted on the stem, it’s probably the source of your leak.

Press on your inflated mattress hard enough to hear hissing, whistling or blowing sounds coming from the sides and seams. Wherever the sound is coming from, that’s the source of your leak.

If you check all the above areas with no success, use any following methods.

2) Use Dish Soap

You will need dish soap, water, a spray bottle, a sponge, or a wet rag for this method.

First, mix the soap and water and put it in your spray bottle. Dip a sponge or wet rag in soapy water if you don’t have one.

The next step is to spray the soapy water generously over your air mattress and watch for tiny bubbles.

Wherever you see the little bubbles is the location of the air leak. Once you have spotted the leak, mark it with a permanent pen and deflate your mattress before patching it up.

3) Submerge Your Air Mattress in Water

First, partially inflate your air mattress. The next step is to submerge the bed in a pool or bathtub filled with water. Ensure that the valve is closed before dipping your mattress in the water.

Carefully inspect your mattress as you watch out for bubbles because the bubbles will show you the source of the leak.

Note that most manufacturers do not recommend this method because you might do more damage to your air mattress. Therefore, check the label first for instructions.

4) Use a Garden Hose

You need a garden hose, water, and a wooden surface to place your air mattress for this method.

Inflate your air mattress and place it on a wooden surface. Ensure you cover the surface with plastic paper or vinyl cloth to avoid wetting the wood too much.

Connect your garden hose to a water source and start spraying the mattress. Start with the valve area and move slowly around the mattress, pouring water looking for bubbles. Be keen because it takes a second to miss the bubbles, especially if it’s a tiny hole.

5) Use Tissue Paper

The tissue paper trick can also work with foil, a napkin or single-ply paper towels. The first thing to do is inflate your air mattress. Take a piece of tissue and work slowly, moving the tissue paper around the mattress.

Start with the common leak sources described in step #1 and then move along to the rest of the mattress.

Flip the mattress and do the same thing at the bottom side. Listen for hissing sounds and watch for any air movement of the tissue. These signs will indicate an air leak.

You have found the source of the air leak. Now it’s time to patch it up. You can use any of the methods described below.

How to Fix a Leaky Air Mattress with a Patch Kit?

A patch kit is a small set with glue, sandpaper, and patches that you can use to fix bike tires, tents, and your air mattress. Most air mattresses come with a patch kit, but you can buy it from any outdoor equipment store if you don’t have one.

Follow these steps to fix your leak with a patch kit:

  • Deflate your air mattress completely.
  • Use sandpaper to remove the felt coating or flocking until you are left with plastic.
  • Use soapy water or isopropyl alcohol to remove debris or dust around the leaky area.
  • Cut your patch 1-2 centimetres bigger than the hole to cover all areas.
  • Apply glue according to the manufacturer’s instructions and apply it over the hole.
  • Put pressure on the patch for 30 seconds or more to ensure that it is firmly attached.
  • Let the glue dry for about three hours and inflate the mattress to see if the hole is fixed.

If you don’t have a patch kit, you can make one at home using a shower curtain or malleable plastic or use the following methods.

How to Fix a Hole in an Air Mattress Without a Patch Kit?

1) Use Duct Tape

Using duct tape is more of a temporary solution because the glue will lose its grip over time. However, it works well for a quick fix.

All you have to do is cut a big enough piece of tape to cover the hole on your air mattress. You can use duct tape on an inflated or deflated mattress as long as you know the source of the leak.

2) Use Nail Polish

Like duct tape, nail polish is not a permanent solution for fixing your leaky air mattress.

Why? Because it loses its viscosity with time and can come off. 

Follow the steps below to fix your leaky air mattress with nail polish.

  • Sand the leaky area to remove flocking.
  • Clean the area with water and wait for it to dry completely.
  • Take a nail polish, preferably gel nail polish, and apply it over the hole.
  • Use a UV light for 10-15 seconds to dry the gel nail polish.
  • If it’s not dry, repeat the above process as needed.

3) Hot glue

Hot glue is also a quick method of fixing a leaky air mattress, but it’s not advisable. Unlike the other techniques, a hot glue fix will only last you a week, and it might melt the soft areas around the hole, making the problem even more significant.

A patch kit is the best method to fix a leaky air mattress, so if you are a frequent host, it is wise to stock up on this functional tool.

Tips to Take Care and Extend the Life of your Air Mattress:

  1. Avoid wearing jewellery or shoes while using the air mattress.
  2. Do not put anything sharp on or near the air mattress.
  3. Store the air mattress in a cool, dry place when not in use. Avoid storing it in direct sunlight or in a humid environment.
  4. Do not overinflate or underinflate the air mattress.
  5. Use a mattress protector: If you’re going to be using your air mattress on a regular basis, consider investing in a mattress protector. This will help keep it clean and dry, and it will also extend its lifespan.
  6. Inflate it regularly: If you don’t use your air mattress often, make sure to inflate it at least once a month. This will help keep the material from drying out and cracking.

Wrapping Up

Patching an air mattress hole is a pretty simple process. Just be sure to use the proper materials and follow the steps outlined above. A patch kit is pretty much the best method to fix a leaky air mattress, so if you are a frequent host, it is wise to stock up on this functional tool. 

And if your air mattress is beyond repairable, consider investing in a new one. We have reviewed some of the top air mattresses on the Australian market to help you make a decision. Sweet dreams!

James Lee

James Lee

James is the content director at WhatASleep, a certified sleep science coach from Spencer Institute and our in-house sleep product expert. Over three years, he's personally tested hundreds of mattresses. He likes to keep his reviews simple, objective, and straightforward so that the readers don't have to go through decision fatigue which is often the case while shopping for sleep products.

He hails from Sydney and has a journalism degree from the University of Queensland and an MBA from Melbourne Business School.


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