Feeling your mattress slowly deflating at night? That is the worst sleeping experience you can ever have. There is only one reason for that—there’s a leak in your air mattress.
But before you throw out your leaking air mattress, there’s one thing that you should know— it can be fixed. You can save your mattress simply by patching over its leaks and tears. Once you do this, your air mattress will be back to its normal inflated self.
How to patch an air mattress? Read this simple tutorial to know how!
The 3 Tried and Tested Methods on How to Patch an Air Mattress
Below are the steps and materials that you would need to fix your leaking air mattress:
What You Will Need:
- Bucket of water
- A teaspoon of dishwashing liquid
- Sandpaper or wire brush
For Technique #1:
- A Patch Kit
For Technique #2:
- Shower curtain
For Technique #3:
- Duct tape
Step #1: Make sure that there is a leak.
You should understand the fact that the best air mattress for everyday use loses air naturally so the deflation may either be due to cold temperature or leak. To determine if it is a leak, it is recommended that you fully deflate then inflate the mattress.
If the mattress deflates within just a few minutes, it is most likely that it leaks. Another thing that you can do is to sit on the mattress for a few minutes. If the mattress sinks for more than 2 inches, it also indicates a leak.
Step #2: Locate the leak.
There are plenty of ways on how you can look for the mattress’ leak. Here are some of the things that you can try:
First, check the air valve of the mattress. Place your hand in front of the valve and feel if the air is escaping the valve. If the leak is in the valve, it would be best for you to contact your manufacturer so you can have the mattress replaced.
If the problem is not in the valve, stand the fully inflated mattress on its side. After that, put your ears 2 to 3 inches from the mattress to listen for a slight, hissing noise that indicates a leak.
Pro Tip: Start your search on the bottom part of the air mattress because most people leave pointy things underneath their beds.
If you can’t find the leak yet, you can wet the back of your hand and run it against the mattress. When you get to the part where there is a leak, the air that escapes from it will cause the water to evaporate, making your hands feel cool.
Another great idea is to use soapy water to search for the leak. You can do this by adding a teaspoon of liquid soap to a small bucket filled with water. Soak a sponge in the bucket then gently use it to wipe the mattress down. You will see bubbles forming in the area where there is a leak.
Once you have found the leak, make sure to wipe the mattress dry as the accumulation of water in the mattress may lead to the formation of mildew and molds. You should also leave it out in the sun for 1 to 2 hours.
To know how to properly do this, watch this video:
Step #3: Mark the leak.
Once the mattress deflates, it would be impossible for you to find the leak again. That is why you should circle the hole using a Sharpie.
Step #4: Patch the leak.
Here are three of the most effective ways on how you can patch an air mattress:
Technique #1: Use a patching kit.
You can find this kit in the camping section of any outdoor store. This is the easiest and most effective way to patch an air mattress.
The kits are cheap and contain sandpaper, glue, and patches and are designed to fix the leaks on bike tires, tents, and air mattresses. If the hole in your bed is just small, a bike tire patch will do. When buying patching kit, make sure that the one you will buy is explicitly designed for plastic or vinyl.
Step #1.1: Deflate the mattress.
It is a must that you get rid of all the air in your mattress as the glue of the patch will get ruined if it comes in contact with air.
Step #1.2: Sand the mattress.
If the hole is at the top part of the mattress, it is a must that you remove the soft covering that surrounds the hole. This is important because the patch in your kit won’t stick to that smooth surface.
What you need to do is use the sandpaper in the kit to sand away that soft covering gently.
Step #1.3: Clean the area surrounding the leak.
After removing the soft covering, proceed on cleaning the bare area using either soapy water or alcohol. This is done to ensure that there would be no debris, dirt or dust that may prevent the patch from sticking to the mattress.
Thoroughly dry that area before proceeding with the next step.
Step #1.4: Cut the patch.
Cur the patch to a circle that is one and a half times larger than the leak.
Pro Tip: If the patches are already pre-cut, you should choose the one that is larger by 1 to 2 centimeters than the hole.
Step #1.5: Apply the patch.
There are two types of patches. The first one is applied the same way you would use a sticker. The second one is attached to the mattress with the use of a special glue that is also included in the kit.
Pro Tip: To know how your patch works, make sure to check the manufacturer’s directions that are stated on the kit’s label.
Using the heel of your hands, press down the patch with gentle yet firm pressure for 30 seconds. If the patch fails to stick to the mattress, you can use a rolling pin to flatten it against the mattress.
If the patch is applied using a glue, you should lay a heavy object on top of it and let it dry for 2 to 3 hours.
Technique #2: Using a Durable Patch
If you noticed the leak at night and there is no way that you will be able to buy a patch kit, this is your next best step.
But before you do this, you should understand the fact that any DIY fixes on your mattress may void its warranty. Most manufacturers would suggest that you go for a patch kit. But if the bed is already beyond its warranty, this is a repair technique that you should try.
Step #2.1: Remove the soft felt that surrounds the leak.
Same with the first technique, you would need to remove the soft felt at the surface of the mattress as this can prevent your patch from sticking to the mattress. However, you do not have to remove all of it, just the ones on the surface surrounding the hole of the cushion.
You can do this by lightly scrubbing the area using either sandpaper or wire brush.
Step #2.2: Cut a patch from your shower curtain.
Since you do not have a patch kit on hand, you can improvise. You can do this by cutting a rectangular or circular patch that has one extra centimeter on its sides.
Pro Tip: If you do not want to destroy your shower curtain, you can go for anything that is thin, plastic or malleable. One good alternative would be a tarpaulin.
Step #2.3: Glue your DIY patch to the mattress.
Apply glue around the hole of the mattress. Place the DIY patch over the glued surface and apply even and steady pressure to help it stick to the mattress. Use your fingers to smoothen out the patch. If the glue oozes from its sides, wipe it down using your fingers.
Pro Tip: Make sure that you use a strong adhesive that is specially formulated for vinyl and plastic surfaces.
Step #2.4: Let the glue dry.
Place a heavy object over the patch and let the glue dry for about 6 to 8 hours. You can use books and other heavy objects but avoid pointed, sharp objects as those may further ruin your mattress.
Technique #3: Using Duct Tape
This is the easiest and fastest way to patch an air mattress and is another excellent option if you do not have any access to patch kits. After all, there is no need for you to deal with glue when you choose this technique. Also, almost all homes have duct tapes on their toolbox.
However, you should keep in mind that this solution is just temporary as the duct tape may come off after a few months.
Step #3.1: Make room for the duct tape.
If again, the leak is at the top portion of the mattress, you would need to remove the soft coating of the mattress. This time, you would need to sand a bigger surface of the mattress to make way for the duct tape.
Afterward, you should clean the mattress surface by wiping it down with alcohol. Let it dry for a few minutes.
Step #3.2: Cover the leak with duct tape.
Cut duct tapes into strips that are a few centimeters bigger than the leak that you are trying to cover. Instead of covering the hole with just one strip of duct tape, I recommend that you use at least four strips of tape and arrange them to resemble the asterisk shape.
Pro Tip: Keep in mind that the duct tape may fall off, so it is recommended that you replaced it with a stronger patch when you gave the time. Make sure to clean the residue that the tape may leave behind when you remove it.
How to Properly Care for Your Air Mattress to Prevent Leaks
As they say, prevention is always better than cure. That is why it is vital that you carry out extra precaution when caring for your mattress. With that in mind, here are some maintenance tips to keep in mind:
Look at your surroundings.
Before you plop your bed down on the floor, make sure to check that it is entirely free from anything that can potentially pop and blow up your mattress. This means that there should be no thumb tacks, stones, scissors, or any sharp items that can destroy your beloved air mattress.
If you are inside your home, you should sweep or vacuum the floor before setting down the mattress to it. If you plan to use the mattress outdoors, pick up and throw the sharp sticks and stones that are lying around the ground.
Put your air mattress away from appliances.
Aside from sharp objects, other things can damage your mattress. The most common item would be excessive heat. It can melt away the material of the mattress and may cause unwanted holes on its surface.
Because of this, you should keep the mattress away from campfires, heat vents, and heaters.
Inflate the mattress only to its proper capacity.
It is essential that you fill the mattress with the right amount of air. When too much air is put inside it, the seams of the mattress will be subjected to pressure which may ultimately cause a blowout.
The biggest problem that you would encounter when using an air mattress is leaking. Lucky for you, there are lots of ways on how to patch an air mattress. The best method, of course, is to use a patch kit as it is more convenient. Plus, it will not void your mattress’ warranty.
But if you have no other choice, using either duct tape or a durable patch would be enough to do the trick.