Inflatable mattresses are convenient. You can use it for camping or as an extra bed for overnight guests. However, even a single leak can cause it to deflate, leaving you on the floor within hours.
To help you out, here’s a guide on how to repair an inflatable mattress. We’ve included instructions on making your patch, feeling for a leak, and more.
How to Find a Leak in an Inflatable Mattress
To begin, you might find the leak by inflating the air mattress to its full size. Then, listen carefully for a hissing sound from the area where there’s air coming out of the bed. Once you’ve located it, use a marker to pinpoint where the hole is so you know for the future.
However, if you’re struggling to locate a leak for air mattress repair, here are some easy-to-follow yet effective steps.
Method 1: Soapy Water
Fill a bucket with soapy water, ensuring that you use a lot more dish soap than you would if you were, let’s say, washing your care. You want to have a lot of large soapy bubbles. Ensure that you blow up the air mattress in an area with plenty of room on the ground around it. Then, inflate the inflatable mattress to its full capacity but not too much.
Using a wet sponge from the soapy water mixture, wipe the entire airbed, ensuring that all of the seams are wet. Apply a slight amount of pressure to the bed to help you find the hold. All the while, look out for any bubbles forming, which will happen once you glide the soapy sponge over the hole.
Once you see soap bubbles spitting out from the airbed, you know that you’ve found the patch with a hole. Then, use a marker or piece of tape to mark the area so you can amend the patch at a later date. If you’re using a pen, ensure that it’s waterproof to not rub off with soapy water.
Method 2: Tissue Paper
Another method to find a leak in air mattresses is by using tissue paper. Beginning at one end of the mattress, lay the tissue flat onto the surface and apply pressure to the airbed all around to direct the air to the section you’re focusing on.
Move the tissue over different parts of the airbed, focusing on the edges and bottom where leaks are more likely. Listen carefully for a hissing sound and look out for the tissue moving if there’s any air leaking from underneath it.
If the tissue is on an area where there’s a leak, you’ll hear a small sound and see movement. Similar to the above method—once you locate the leak, mark it to fix it later.
How to Fix a Leaky Air Mattress
After you have located the leak, it’s time to deflate the mattress. This is because any air left inside the mattress might prevent the adhesive from creating a tight seal, so you may need to make the air mattress repair again.
You’ll also need to ensure that the air mattress is clean and dry before applying DIY patches. You can gently scrub the area where the leak is. Apply some isopropyl alcohol to this section to create a clean and smooth surface before placing anything on top.
Method 1: Duct Tape
If you don’t have a patch kit and need to fix a leak in your air mattress, duct tape is a great solution. Cut a piece that’s big enough to cover the hole—applying it to a clean, dry surface.
Bear in mind that the tape can lose its stickiness after a while, so you may need to keep reapplying a new piece of tape. You can also apply additional tape at the ends for a more secure finish and hold the temporary patch in place.
— Mandi Tennant (@Mandiii_10ant) May 15, 2016
Method 2: Nail Varnish
To stop escaping air in your air mattress, use nail varnish for a temporary solution. Place the varnish directly onto the hole to create a film on top of the puncture. Please wait for the air mattress to dry, ensuring that you don’t move it in the process. Once dried, you may need to repeat the application. Up to six layers will usually do the trick so you can use your airbed again.
Method 3: Super Glue, Gorilla Glue, or Rubber Cement
Perhaps one of the best quick fixes for an air mattress with a leak is super glue. Squeeze the chosen hot glue directly onto the source of the leak, ensuring that you don’t leave any gaps. Once the glue has dried, add another layer of glue to the area to strengthen the patch. Then, inflate the mattress completely and check for a leak.
Method 4: DIY Patch Kit
You can make your own patch kit at home using a pool liner, PVC shower curtains, or the inner section of a rubber bike tire. In this DIY patch method, you need to:
- Cut a patch big enough to cover the entire hole. Add an additional inch on each side to provide a thorough seal. Furthermore, if you found more than one leak, repeat the process for the rest of the holes.
- Ensure that the air mattress has a clean, smooth and dry surface by applying some rubbing oil to the area with the hole. This way, you can prevent the patches from slipping away from the air mattress.
- Apply a generous amount of adhesive onto the shower curtain and stick it to the part of a rubber tire. Find the hole and seal this in tight using your patch. Firmly press down the patch onto the hole using your hand or a heavy object for several minutes. Alternatively, you may want to leave the air mattress to dry overnight to prevent more leaks.
Just used gorilla glue and a shower curtain to fix my air mattress – am I a diy-er now?
— Lexi is tired (@lookshesalady) April 12, 2020
How to Stop an Air Mattress From Deflating
Prevention is better than cure, so below is some advice for preventing air mattresses from forming leaks and deflating.
Don’t Overinflate It
The number one reason why people encounter leaks in mattresses is that they overinflate the airbed.
Adding too much air to the airbed can cause the material to strain, putting it under incredible pressure, making it more likely to damage.
Avoid Sitting On It
Once the mattress is set up, it can be tempting to want to sit on top, which can mean you’re adding high pressure to a particular area, which can lead to deflation. Besides, don’t jump on the bed, as this can result in further pressure—especially if you’re wearing clothes, which might have sharp objects that can contribute to rips.
How you position yourself on the air mattress makes a big difference in its longevity. Instead of lying on your side, lay flat on the bed to maintain its high quality. This way, you can evenly distribute your weight onto the airbed, which means you’re not applying all of the weight from your body onto one section.
As a result, it’s less likely to encounter holes. Tell your guests about this rest position because it’ll also help to keep the air mattress inflated properly during use.
Deflate for Storage
Another tip is to deflate the bed after using it. Leaving it pressurised when you’re not using it surprisingly puts the air mattress under a lot of strain, leading to rips and holes.
— Ashley Poma-Smith (@pomwaslike) September 19, 2016
Inflate It and Use It Later
Most people blow up their air mattress at the exact time they need it. Instead, inflate the air mattress and leave it for around 48 hours before using it at home or outdoors. This is important if you have a low-quality airbed with a cheaper valve and thinner seams and cells that require more time to stretch. Additionally, inflate the mattress without any additional weight, which can prevent holes from occurring.
How Do You Care for Your Inflatable Mattress?
Now that you know how to repair an inflatable mattress, finding out that your bed is leaking air won’t be as stressful. There are a variety of ways to find the hole and even more ways to patch it.
How did you fix holes in your air mattresses before? Did you make your own patch kit? Share your advice and recommended tools for readers in the comments.
Amy is a U.K.-based writer and editor with a penchant for helping consumers find the best home products for their needs, as well as providing easily digestible guides for living better at home. Her dedication to her work means she can usually be found elbow-deep in research or hunting down samples of the latest and greatest on behalf of her readers.
An avid DIYer herself, Amy’s passion lies in teaching others how they too can achieve their dream homes by tackling some of those pesky projects themselves! Whether it’s building furniture from scratch or turning an old dresser into a coffee table, Amy is always happy to share what she knows about making your house feel like home without spending a fortune.