What is the Quickest Method to Patch an Air Mattress?

Q & A

picture of pressure being applied on a air mattress patch.

How do you patch an air mattress leak? This is one of the most searched for terms on Google by airbed owners.

Only a few things can be more frustrating than your air mattress developing a leak while you are out camping. If this happens at home then you could easily look for an alternative bedding solution.

However, if you are on the road and you realize that your airbed is leaking air abnormally then you will have little choice but to get it fixed. This is why it is vital to know how to get the deed done even before it happens.

After all, nothing can be more uncomfortable than sleeping on a flat bed. Why do you think there's a whole market right now for inflatable mattresses that never lose air?

An Air Mattress Repair Kit

sample air mattress repair kit is shown here
Even if you are experienced in fixing leaking air mattresses, you will still need tools to work when the unexpected happens. An air mattress repair kit is one of the most important tools you should take along while on the go.

These patch kits can be key to getting a sound sleep whether you are camping or going overnight fishing. They usually consist of materials for testing and repairing leaks so your airbed can hold enough air when inflated.

Common components include sandpaper, glue, and patches.

The good news is that some air mattresses already ship with repair kits at no extra charge. Even if your model doesn’t include a repair kit, spending a few bucks to get a repair kit will be money well-spent when you experience an emergency on the road.

Identifying the Leak from the Mattress Itself

The most surefire way to test for a leak is to inflate your airbed to full firmness. If you notice after a couple of minutes that your mattress has lost a significant amount of air then chances are you have a leak.

Sitting on your mattress after full inflation is another way to test for a leak. The spot you are sitting shouldn’t sink more than 2 inches. If it does then there is a huge possibility that there’s a leak.

What if you don’t have the time to sit on your airbed for a long period of time? A great way is to pile some weight on your inflatable mattress. It doesn’t have to be anything extremely heavy. In fact, a couple of hardcover books should do the trick.

Just leave the books on the air mattress overnight and go check up on it in the morning. A significant loss of air at that point will be confirmation of a leak.

Keep in mind that the only way you can test for a leaking mattress is to get it fully inflated. Finding a leak in a flat air mattress is next to impossible.

Finding A Leak Using the Valve

The valve holding the air can be also be tested when you suspect that your inflatable mattress may be leaky. Holding your hand over the valve to look for any escaping air is a tried and tested method.

What if you don’t know which part of your airbed is the valve? Well, this is the plug-like component which is located right next to the pump of your mattress.

A broken or leaky valve is one of the main causes of air loss in inflatable mattresses. The bad news is that this component is usually hard to fix at home.

The solution is to order a replacement from your manufacturer or a retail giant such as Amazon.

Raising the Mattress on Its side to Test for Leaks

This method is only viable when testing for air leaks from the comfort of your home. The quirking bird chips and other background noises in campsites makes it unrealistic for you to use this method when outdoors.

It simply involves raising your airbed on its side in a noiseless room to test for leaks. Make sure the airbed is fully inflated before you start doing this.

Side flipping your mattress to search for leaks can be effective way. This is because most leaks occur in the bottom side of your inflatable mattress.

This method also allows you to look for leaks with your ears. With your ears close enough from the bottom areas of your mattress; you should hear hissing sounds if there are any leaks.

What if there are no sounds even though you suspect a leak? Well, just get your hands wet and start moving it all over the mattress. Any leaking air will quickly blow over your wet hand to cool it within a few seconds.

Searching for Bubble Using Soapy Water

No one said finding leaks in your air mattress is an easy task. If none of the above methods is yielding results, it is now time to get creative.

Soapy water is one of the most effective ways to uncover leaks in your air mattress. However, you must be warned that some manufacturers strongly advice against this method.

You simply create a thin layer of bubbles just like a toddler and any leaks “blow” into the bubbles. The method is as follows:

  • Add one or two teaspoons of dish-washing soap to a bucket of water.
  • Wipe down the surface of your mattress at a very slow pace with a sponge.
  • You can start from the most likely leakage spots such as the valves and bottom areas before moving elsewhere.
  • When you spot bubbles forming at any area then this is a confirmation of the source of your leaks.
  • Make sure you use a clean sponge to get rid of the soap and air dry your mattress to prevent mildew

Circling the Leaking Spot with a Pen

leaky area being circled with a pen
Finding the previously identified leakage spot after your mattress is deflated will be a fool's errand. This is why you should circle that area with a pen or another object to identify the place.

Once the leakage has been marked, just deflate the air mattress and make sure it is completely dry. Then you can begin the repair process.

The Repair Process

Sanding away any soft felt at the leakage source is the first step in the air mattress repair process. If the leakage is at the top side of your mattress then fixing it can become a bit complicated.

The best way will be to get rid of the soft cover so your patching can stick. The felt coating can be removed with a wire-brush or sand paper so you get a plastic area around the leak.

Clean the leakage area with isopropyl alcohol or even soapy water to ensure there’s no debris, dirt, or clutter. You can continue once the area is completely dry.

Cutting and Applying A Patch

a patch being glued before being attached on a hole. one of the final steps to patch an air mattress successfully
It is recommended that you cut a patch twice the size of the leakage area. This is to ensure that you get enough room to cover the source of the leak to ensure a lasting effect.

If your patches are pre-cut then choose one that is roughly twice the size of the leak.

The next thing is to apply the patch according to the instructions that came with it. Some patches require glue while others are manufactured sticky so you just apply on the affected area.

Apply pressure on the patch for at least 30 seconds. The pressure should be even and this can be done with the heel of your hands.

Leave the glue to dry completely for approximately 3 hours before re-inflating to test for additional leaks.

If there are none, then you are good to go. Your leaking airbed is now repaired!

You can start enjoying sleeping on it again.

The Bottom Line

The steps outlined above are the quickest ways to identify and patch an air mattress which has suffered a leak. Follow them and you'll never have to sleep on a deflated unit in the wilderness many miles away from home.

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