How to Patch an Air Mattress

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a rolled up air mattress

The air mattresses are lightweight, very easy to inflate and deflate, and don’t take a lot of space when they are deflated. They are soft and nice to the touch but at the same time very practical.

Air mattresses manufactured by the market leaders like Intex or Bestway are made of a dense durable material called polyvinyl chloride. They often have a velvet-like coating that makes them very comfortable and also doesn’t let the bedding slip off them, in case you are using your airbed as a sleeping place.

Air mattresses vary in size, internal structure, and design but no matter what type and shape of mattress you have, you always have to check the airtightness of the seams and the valve. It’s better to inflate it right after the purchase and wait for about 12 hours to see if it keeps all the air inside.

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Air Mattress: Rules of Use

While there is no denying how useful they are, there is a common issue all inflatable items have. Sooner or later they get punctured or get damaged in some other way that makes them leak air and renders them useless. Luckily, there are ways to extend your air mattress’s life span:

  • don’t step on it and never allow using it as a trampoline
  • don’t drag it along the ground while there’s something or someone on it
  • if you place it on the ground, sand or grass, make sure there are no sharp objects (glass, sharp stones, etc.) under it
  • never let it lie in the sun, especially during the hot time of the year
  • don’t let your pets play on it, scratch or bite it
  • don’t clean it using a cleaning scrubber or abrasive cleaning products

But if an accident happened and you have a damaged, useless air mattress on your hands, don’t hurry to throw it away. You can still pinpoint the problem and fix it by yourself.

How to Locate a Leak in Your Air Mattress

Finding small tears, holes, and defects in an inflatable item as large as an air mattress takes time and might prove to be more difficult than you think. First, pump it up well but don’t overinflate it. Then check all the possible spots that can be leaking.

1. Bottom.

Pretty much any solid object can cause a leak if you let it lie on something – a stone, a twig or a dry stalk of grass, a nail head in your floorboards.

2. Upperside.

Watch out for the things you are wearing when using the airbed. Metal studs, earrings, piercing. A favorite pet’s claws or teeth might be another reason.

3. Seams.

Air mattresses tear at the seams sometimes when you overinflate them. The same might happen if your kids tend to play jumping and rolling on it and running over it.

4. Valve.

The valve can get clogged with dust, hair, or other kinds of litter. When this happens, it stops being airtight and starts leaking air.

5. Folds.

When you keep your air mattress folded and tucked away, it might lose its elasticity and this can lead to leaks along the fold lines.

Tactile Method

Inflate the air mattress and examine it. If you run your hands all over its surface, you may feel the air leaking out of one of the tears.

Soap Method

Make a foamy soap solution and apply it to the mattress’s surface using a sponge. You’ll see the soap bubbles in the leaking spot.

Immersion Method

Immerse your air mattress in water and watch out for the bubbles of air coming up to the surface.

However, quite often the valve is your usual culprit, so you might want to check it before everything else.

How to Patch an Air Mattress

If you did find the leaking spots, you need to know how you can fix the problem and what kind of means you have to use. Keep in mind that some tears require special treatment and should be patched by professionals. So if you doubt that the resources and skills at your disposal aren’t enough for the job, it might be a good idea not to try and do it yourself.

  1. First of all, you’ll need some PVC glue. Other types of glue, including superglue, might be not efficient enough in this case.
  2. You can use a thin sheet of rubber, a tire patch or a piece of leather as your patch material. Bear in mind that your patch must be larger than the tear you want to fix.
  3. Before applying the patch, degrease both the patch and the mattress’s surface with some acetone and let them dry out.
  4. Apply some glue to both the patch and the damaged area and let it dry a little. Then apply some more glue and press the patch against the tear. You can use a hair-dryer for the glue to cure faster.
  5. If there is a soft velour coating on your mattress, you’ll have to remove it carefully after you clean the surface with acetone.
  6. In case a mattress tore at the seam, it’s better to seal it from the inside. To do this, reach for the damaged part of the airbed through the valve opening using your hand or a long tool. Apply the patch on the inner side of the tear. As soon as the glue dries out, carefully return the patched part inside.

Patching Your Air Mattress: FAQ

1. Can I use super glue to patch an air mattress?

Yes, you can if you have absolutely nothing else at hand and there is no way you can get a more appropriate kind of glue. However, super glue is not the best option in this case because it gets very stiff once it dries out and when patching an inflatable item, you’d want your adhesive to be as flexible as possible. There are specialized types of glue that will suit the purpose much better. Try looking for PVC glues.

2. Can Flex Seal fix an air mattress?

Yes, it can but keep in mind that chances are it’s not a permanent solution. It might be a good option if you need to fix an inflatable item quickly and urgently and then just replace it with a more reliable patch later. Apply some Flex Seal to the torn area and press a cloth patch over it. Smooth out any wrinkles if necessary, let it dry out, and apply another layer of Flax Seal over it. Wait for it to dry again.

3. How do you find a leak in an air mattress?

Follow the instructions as described above. Use your hands, soap solution, or immerse the inflatable bed in water to locate the leaking spot. Remember that you’ll need to pump your mattress up till it’s fully inflated before doing this.

4. Can you sleep on an air mattress permanently?

An air mattress is a great option when you temporarily can’t afford to buy a more conventional bed or when you have guests and need an extra sleeping spot. However, it might not be such a good idea to use the air mattress as your permanent bed. First of all, unlike a regular mattress, it doesn’t provide the support your spine needs. It means that it can soon become, quite literally, a pain in the neck. Besides, whatever manufacturers may say, air mattresses aren’t designed to be permanent beds. Everyday use will make your air mattress’s lifespan much shorter.

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