How to Patch an Air Mattress: A Simple Do-It-Yourself Guide

Air mattresses are some of the best options for a good night sleep. In fact if they are inflated to desired firmness, there won’t be any doubt to a fantastic sleep. Nonetheless, after a long duration of use, an air mattress might give in to wear and tear.

It might end up with a broken pump or a leaky hole. Leaky holes are some of the most common problems though. They will mess up with your inflation speed and more importantly you’re the firmness of your air mattress.

Luckily, leaky holes are nothing to worry so much about in an air mattress. They are easy to fix and the mattress can be patched up in no time. In this post I will show you the different ways of how to patch an air mattress. So next time you can DIY.

Finding the Leak

Before you fix the leak you need to find it. Finding the leak on your mattress is no brainier. Here is what you must know and do to find a leak.

Understand Your Mattress

You have been using the mattress for some time. It is important that you know how your mattress behaves. Generally speaking I must tell you that all brands of air mattresses will lose air naturally. (best platform bed frames)

Therefore, before you actually decide on stripping the covers of your air mattress off and start on determining the leak understand this phenomenon.

What do I mean? Well, you could be stripping your mattress to look for holes when ideally it is the firmness that has gone down naturally. It is important that you consider this fact and eliminate it first before you continue with your search.

How Does a Mattress Lose Air Naturally?

The phenomenon is really simple. When the temperatures are low and you have cold air your mattress shrinks. This happens mainly when the house temperatures drop during the night. On the contrary, the opposite is true; if the temps go up, the air expands and the mattress retains its firmness.

Even so, the best way to fix this problem is by having a space heater around your air mattress or in your bedroom.

Another explanation to why air mattresses lose air naturally is this. When your mattress is still new, it will need time to stretch out into its exact shape and volume. This means that it will take a while before it fully gets into shape.

Don’t be surprised. Just give it this grace period to stretch out by inflating it and topping up every day. Nonetheless if the flaccidness persists, then I guess it is time to strip the mattress and check for a leak.

How to Patch an Air Mattress : Step by Step Guide (Find an Leak)

I want us to address the elephant in the room; how to find the leak. Finding and air mattress leak isn’t a big deal really. I hope this step by step guide will show you exactly that.

Step I: Find the Ideal Space

For starters, make sure you find an adequate space for your air mattress. Use the space to lay out the air mattress before you move to the next step. Make sure the space is free on any sharp objects that might puncture the mattress.

Step II: Inflate the Air Mattress

Now strip your mattress of its covers and inflate your air mattress to full capacity if you want to test for a leak. This is important as you will be monitoring the rate of air loss in your mattress using different methods.

Step III: Check the Valve

The air mattress valve is crucial at holding in the air. In case the valve leaks, the mattress will not retain its firmness. To check if air is escaping through the valve, simply hold one hand over the mattress valve.

You should be able to feel for escaping air as it hits your hand. If you don’t feel any form of air loss, it will be time to experiment for the leak. However if the valve is faulty, don’t attempt fixing it, use your warranty instead. Call your manufacturer and order for a replacement.

Step IV: Experiment for the Leak

There are many ways to experiment for a leak on an air mattress. Some will suggest licking on areas to be very sure air is escaping. Nonetheless, the best options with optimum results are these.

Leave Your Mattress Fully Inflated

Once you have inflated the mattress to full capacity, leave it for several minutes maybe one hour to see if it’s severely deflated. If this happens, the likelihood of having a leak will be high and so you should move to fixing it.

Sit on Fully Inflated Air Mattress

You can also sit on the mattress once you inflate it to full capacity. If upon sitting you notice that the mattress has sank more than 1-2 inches then you could be looking at a potential leakage again.

Leave Weight On Top of Mattress Overnight

However, if you are not sure if it is a leak or not, you can allow your mattress to remain inflated overnight with some weight on it. And if by morning you find it a little more deflated then you could have a leak.

Search Manually for Any Hissing Sounds

In addition to that, you can search manually by listening keenly to any signs of air loss. If you realize any form of hissing sounds that point to loss of air – it’s a leak.

Use a Tissue Paper Roll

If this doesn’t work for you, use a tissue paper. Roll out a tissue paper on top of the mattress surface and watch out for any push from an air jet. This shouldn’t be hard as tissue paper is often very light.

The Soapy Water Trick

Finally, for very tiny holes that you won’t be able to observe, here is the best remedy. Wet the surface of your air mattress using soapy water. Make sure you do it lightly so that the mattress will be easy to dry.

As you apply the soapy water lightly, watch for any bubbles. Air bubbles will mean loss of air from your mattress and a leak.

How to Use the Soapy Water

  • Fill a bucket with water
  • Add a few drops of the liquid dish washing soap.
  • Create leather out of it
  • Dip in a sponge
  • Take the sponge and slowly wipe down the air mattress surface.
  • Do it systematically – starting near the valve, through the seams, to the underside and top.
  • Watch keenly for bubbles forming to determine a leak.
  • Wipe the soap and be ready to fix it.

NOTE: When searching for the leak, it is important to lean your mattress on the wall. Make sure it is on an upright position with its bottom side facing you. Most punctures often occur on the bottom of the air mattress due to rough surfaces and unnoticed sharp objects.

Step V: Mark the Leaky Hole

Once you have identified the leak, it is important to mark it before you lose it. You can either use a marker pen and circle the leak or simply put an “x” on it. This should be done quickly before the mattress deflates. In case you leave the mattress to deflate it will be impossible to see the leak again.

NOTE: For those who used the soapy water trick here is what to do. Once you find the leak, take a towel and quickly dry leaky area then mark it.

Now that we have found the leak I will give you the best options on hole. However, before we get down to that, there is something very important that I want you to know.

Before patching up your air mattress, it is important to ensure that the mattress is completely deflated and dry. The people who used soapy water trick should pat the mattress with a towel and leave it out for at least 1-2 hours.

Method I: Using the Patch Kit

The first best method by use of a patch kit. Patch kits are readily available in malls and hardware. They are usually small camping set glue, sandpaper, and the patches for tents, air mattresses, and bike tubing.

Remember to look for a patching kit that will work on vinyl or plastic. Most air mattress surfaces are usually made out of the vinyl material.

How to Use a Patch Kit to Fix a Leak

  • Deflate air mattress completely. Stops air from getting under the patch and ruining glue.
  • Sand the leak and any soft area around it
  • Clean and then dry the sanded area around your leak.
  • Use soapy water to clean until you can feel no dirt, dust, or debris.
  • Dry the area completely before you continue
  • Measure a patch one and a half times larger than the leaky hole.
  • Cut a patch out – for pre-cut patch use a piece that gives you ideal space around the hole.
  • Apply the patch – Follow the manufacturer’s directions. Most manufacturers want you to apply the special glue before attaching the patch.
  • Apply even pressure to press down the patch until it sticks.
  • Let the glue dry for 2-3 hours.
  • Apply a heavy but flat object on the patch to maintain the pressure.
  • Once the glue is dry, inflate your mattress and listen for any escaping air.
  • If the air doesn’t escape the leak is fixed and your mattress should maintain its firmness.

NOTE: You can always use the heel of your hand to apply the pressure when applying the patch. You can hold on for 30 seconds or even more until the patch is firmly attached. If the heel of your hand doesn’t work for you, go with a rolling pin.

Method II: Patching without a Patch Kit

You can also patch a leak on your air mattress without necessarily using a patch kit. In this case you will use what we call a temporary fix. We have two basic temporary fixes you can use. They are:

Duct Tape

The most practical temporary fix is the use of a duct tape. Duct tapes have glue on one side. This glue will easily fix the leak once it has been applied on it. However, it quickly fades out and will soon fall off.

Shower Curtain

In case you run out of a patching kit, you can cut a piece of shower curtain or malleable plastic and use instead. However, tarps and shower curtains are the best. Keep the piece large enough to cover the main leak.

Then apply the DIY glue on both surfaces. Leave for a few minutes before applying your home made patch on top of the leak.

Apply even pressure like you did with the patch kit and allow to dry for some hours. You can also add a flat set of weight to keep the pressure on as it dries.

Once it is done, inflate your mattress and experiment for the leak. If no air is escaping, your job is done.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a set of questions that I have prepared to help you understand every trick.

Can I Remove and Re-Apply the Patch?

Don’t remove and re-apply the patch in an effort to get it “perfect.” So long as the patch covers the entire areas of the leak it should work. Taking it off and then reapplying might make it messy, less sticky, and could lead to more damage.

What Should I Do if the Leak is at the Top Side of the Mattress?

If the leak is at the top side of the air mattress, remove the flocking before you fix the leak. You can always use a sandpaper lightly to remove the coating until you get to the plastic surrounding.

Why Should I Not Fix a Leaky Valve Alone?

A leaky air mattress valve is not something that you can fix at home. It is a manufacturing defect that is often covered under the warranty. So if your warranty is still on, make use of it. If not get it back for an expert to fix it.

Why Must I Deflate the Mattress Before Fixing the Leak?

A deflated mattress will allow you to apply even pressure on top of the leak. In addition to that a dry surface will allow the glue to properly stick.


I hope my guide on how to patch an air mattress has been of great help. You can always come back for more tips though. Nonetheless, the most important thing when fixing a leak on an air mattress is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.


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