Having an air mattress is a great way to house extra guests; until they're ready to turn in, and it won't stay inflated! There's nothing worse than finding out that your air mattress has a leak right when you're ready to use it. Luckily, we've done the research and found many ways that you can fix the hole and make your air mattress almost as good as new.
The basic steps for fixing an air mattress are:
- Find the hole
- Cut a patch to cover the hole
- Use adhesive to attach the patch to the air mattress
- Allow it to dry
You can use duct tape, strong glue, a hot glue gun, or a patch kit. The specific repair method will depend on the materials you have available.
Some materials will patch it up temporarily so that you can get another night or two of use out of your mattress. Others can fix it permanently. Keep reading to find out more about how you can repair your mattress with the materials and time available to you.
What are the basic steps for fixing an air mattress?
Many types of glue will work well for fixing an air mattress (see below). You will also need a piece of thin, flexible plastic (shower curtain liner is ideal) or strong, flexible tape to use as a homemade patch. Here are the steps for using this method:
Step 1: Find the hole.
See our instructions below for how to find the hole in your air mattress.
Step 2: Cut the plastic or tape that you will use to make a patch.
You will want to cut a piece that covers the hole with about a half-inch extra around the hole on all sides.
Step 3: Apply glue to both the patch and the mattress.
Lay the mattress down on a flat area. It might help put it on an ironing board to isolate the area with the hole. Apply the glue carefully, in a well-ventilated area, to both the patch and the mattress.
Step 4: Allow time for drying.
Some glues dry quickly, while others take some time. Look at the instructions on your glue. If your glue takes several hours to dry, put something flat and heavy (such as a pile of books) on top of the patch to help it stay in place while it is drying. If you need to speed up the drying a bit, you can use a hairdryer, but make sure to use it on the coolest setting and not get it too close to the mattress or the patch. Check the label of your glue first to make sure that using a hairdryer is safe.
What kinds of glue can you use to fix a hole in an air mattress?
Gorilla glue, rubber cement, epoxy, or super glue can all be used.
Check the drying time on the instructions of your glue. Some glues dry much faster than others.
Do not use regular household glue like Elmer's school glue or a glue stick. These won't be strong enough to hold a patch under pressure when the mattress is inflated.
Can you use Flex Seal on an air mattress?
You can use Flex Seal as glue to attach a homemade patch, as described above. Flex Seal alone may fix a small hole temporarily, but it's recommended to use it along with a patch. Flex Seal works well with duct tape-- see the instructions above for fixing an air mattress with duct tape.
How do you fix an air mattress with duct tape?
Duct tape will not fix an air mattress permanently, but it will probably give you at least a few nights more use. If you have some quick-drying glue, this will make the fix last longer. Cut a piece of duct tape that's a little larger than the hole, adding glue to the sticky side if you have it. Cover the hole, then cover the area with 3-6 crisscrossing strips of duct tape. If the hole is small, you should cut the tape in half lengthwise so that the overlapping strips are about the same width as the first piece you used. If you want to fix the hole more permanently later, you can remove the duct tape, clean the area, and use a patch kit as described below.
Is Gorilla tape good for an air mattress?
Gorilla waterproof patch and seal tape works on vinyl and can be used similarly to duct tape. Do not add glue to the tape. Gorilla tape may damage the air mattress when removed, so don't use it if you plan to apply a patch kit later.
Regular Gorilla tape is not recommended to use on air mattresses.
How do you fix an air mattress with a hot glue gun?
This solution works best if the air mattress is leaking along a seam. Use glue guns with caution! If the glue is too hot it could melt the air mattress. Be careful not to let the glue gun itself touch the air mattress. Let the glue out slowly along the seam to allow it some time to cool before coming into contact with the surface of the air mattress. For a tiny crack or tear along a seam, the glue alone may be sufficient, but it doesn't hurt to apply a plastic or tape patch as described above.
How do you fix a hole in an air mattress with a patch kit from the manufacturer?
Your air mattress may have come with a patch kit. Or, the manufacturer of your air mattress may have patch kits that you can order online. Check the website of the company that manufactured your air mattress. You can order patch kits on Amazon from some popular air mattress manufacturers, such as Intex. A patch kit designed for a vinyl pool float will work for an air mattress as well. If you have a patch kit or can order one (and have time to wait for it to arrive), follow the instructions that come with the kit.
Can you use a bike tire patch kit on an air mattress?
Almost any type of patch kit can be used to fix an air mattress. Tire patch kits can be used, and if you're a cyclist, you likely have a bike tire patch kit lying around. Or, you can order generic patch kits. Ensure that the patch is large enough to cover the hole, plus about half an inch of space around it in each direction. Then follow the patch kit instructions.
What is the easiest way to find a hole in an air mattress?
Before you can repair the hole, you have to find it! If the hole is big, you may be able to find it by visually inspecting the air mattress. However, most leaks are caused by small holes. If it's not apparent to you where the hole is, follow these steps.
First, put your mattress in a quiet spot and inflate it. Holding your head a few inches from the surface, listen for a hissing sound. Move your head and the air mattress so that you can find the spot where the air is escaping. You can gently press down on the mattress to make the air escape faster to make it easier to hear.
What if you can't find the hole by listening?
If you aren't able to find the hole by just listening, wet the back of your hand and move it all around the surface of the air mattress, about an inch from the surface. Pay attention to see if you can feel the air escaping. An alternative to this method is to tear a long strip off of a piece of tissue paper or facial tissue and move it around the surface of the air mattress, watching to see where the tissue flutters due to the air escaping from the mattress.
If these methods don't work, you can also use soap to help you find the hole. Cover the air mattress with a thin film of soap using a wet bar of soap, a soapy sponge, or a washcloth. Press down on the mattress and look for bubbles forming where the air is escaping.
What do you do first when you find the hole?
If you have used soap to find the hole, you will need to be sure to rinse off all the soap. Then, clean the area where the hole is. You can first clean it with soap and water if it's very soiled, but the last step of cleaning should be using isopropyl alcohol. Make sure that it dries completely. Use a permanent marker to mark the spot where the hole is.
What if the hole is on the fuzzy side?
Some air mattresses have a velvety, soft surface (flocking) on the side meant for sleeping. Usually, holes will be on the mattress's underside, and flocking won't be an issue. However, if you found a hole on the top of the mattress and it is flocked, you will need to sand off the velvety covering to the vinyl underneath. Use fine-grain sandpaper to clear about a half-inch border around the hole. If you don't have sandpaper around, you can try using a cardboard nail file for this.
Why is my air mattress deflating but has no holes?
It's possible that your air mattress has deflated a bit but that it doesn't have a hole. If your mattress is new, it will appear to deflate some after you first inflate it. This is the material stretching out in response to the internal air pressure.
If you move the mattress to a colder area, it will also appear to deflate because as the air inside it cools, it will take up less volume.
It's also possible that the valve cap wasn't tightened fully. Reinflate your mattress, check all the valve caps carefully, and lie down on it. If it continually becomes softer and softer until you're lying on the ground, it is leaking.
What is an air mattress made of?
Most air mattresses are made of vinyl, also known as polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Hopefully, these steps helped you fix your air mattress! If you've tried one of these methods and your mattress is still leaking, check again to see if there are any additional holes. You can also check out this post for additional ideas on mattress alternatives.
For some other ideas on making your guests comfortable with limited space, read about how to combine the guest room and nursery.