How to Fix An Air Mattress Leak: Tips & Best Products for 2021

Charlotte Corbin in Air Mattresses

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Air mattresses are helpful in that they are portable, however, this can also become a hindrance. Since people often use them for recreational purposes, they are susceptible to new and exciting opportunities for “injuries.”

These, of course, vary as they’re circumstantial. Keeping an air mattress indoors will yield different results than having one that accompanies you on camping trips. Regardless, the repair methods are generally the same.

Many are easy fixes, but some are a little more complex. The goal here is to keep the repair methods quick and inexpensive. Some might even be free with the use of materials that you already have at home.

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Leaks

Leaks are one of the most common issues with air mattresses. While common, they’re also easy to mistake. Double check that there wasn’t a temperature change or that the air mattress wasn’t new and couldn’t fully expand just yet.

Once you’ve determined that it is a leak, locate the source of the problem. This is usually a small hole or tear. This part of the process will probably take you the longest. Remain patient, and you’ll find the culprit in no time.

A good idea is to check your air mattress periodically to make sure there are no leaks. Sometimes, one may appear when you do not expect it to. Usually, you’ll notice it when the air mattress feels less full than usual even after you’ve filled it.

This is also circumstantial and will depend on how frequently you use your air mattress.

Repair

Unless your cat poked a hole in your air mattress (like mine did) a good tip is to check the bottom first, because this is where they’re usually located. Once it has been found, label it. This way you won’t lose it when you go in to fix it later. Imagine doing all that work only to be back at square one when the more difficult process begins!

You may need to lightly and gently sandpaper the area where the leak is located depending on the texture of the air mattress. Remember to be extra careful at this point. Honestly, it’s a good idea to be extra careful at every step of the repair process.

The unfortunate thing with air mattresses is that they can be a little fragile. This depends largely on the quality of the make and brand. However, even the most expensive air mattresses are not foolproof.

Thankfully, many air mattresses come with repair kits. These can also be purchased by retailers such as Amazon at a fairly inexpensive cost.

How To Fix An Air Mattress Leak

Make a Patch

These should be made from light materials, and big enough to cover the entire surface of the leak. Plastic shower liner is recommended for this kind of patch. These should be attached with strong adhesive such as epoxy or gorilla glue. Elmer’s won’t make the cut this time. Most bottles of gorilla glue run at about $5-10, and can be found at major retailers such as Lowe’s or Walmart.

Use Hot Glue

This usually works with tears along seams. Remember to use caution when operating glue guns. The last thing you’d want on top of a leak is a hot glue injury. Additionally, don’t let the tip of the glue gun make contact with the mattress, because it could melt. That would be far worse than a tear.

T-Shirts (For a Temporary Fix)

This method isn’t ideal, and should only be used in a worst-case-scenario. The same adhesive that you’d use with the patch will work here, except you should keep in mind the fact that you will be replacing your tshirt patch with a sturdier one later on.

Duct Tape

Again, this method is mostly geared to repairs when you’re in a bind such as if you’re outdoors with limited resources. However, if you’re savvy with duct tape, you can at least keep it safe for the duration of your camping trip.

Products That Help To Fix An Air Mattress Leak

Unfortunately, sometimes you won’t be able to rely on items that you already have at home to fix your air mattress from a leak. Thankfully, though, most of these products are relatively inexpensive and easy to find.

These are a few of my favorites.

  • Gorilla Glue – A standard bottle of gorilla glue is the correct strength for an adhesive to fix your air mattress. Anything weaker than gorilla glue or epoxy will not work and may cause further damage.
  •  Tear-Aid Patch Type B Vinyl Repair Patch Kit Tear-Aid Patch – If your air mattress doesn’t come with a repair kit already, these vinyl repair kits are extremely useful. They normally do not cost more than $20.
  • Coghlan’s Vinyl Repair Kit – Similar to the Patch Kit, this vinyl repair kit is helpful for outdoor travels. It’s portable packaging won’t take up too much room in a backpack. The one that you pick is largely dependent on the air mattress that you own. Bigger air mattresses will often have larger tears, and therefore will need more help when being repaired.

It is recommended that you pack a repair kit with you when you go camping. That way, you’re not stuck relying on methods that are less than ideal due to your limited resources. If you don’t use it on that camping trip, at least you’ll have one ready for next time just in case. It’s better to be safe than sorry, after all!

FAQ

How long will my air mattress last after I fix a tear?

That will be dependent on the size of the tear as well as the frequency of your use. Air mattresses intended for travel will likely need to be replaced shortly after a serious tear even with a DIY fix.

Will hot glue damage my air mattress?

The hot glue itself will not damage your air mattress. Where you need to be a little careful is the tip of the glue gun, as it produces the most heat. As mentioned in the sections above, avoid contact as much as possible between the glue gun and the mattress.

What causes tears in an air mattress?

This is circumstantial. Anything from exposure to sharp objects, such as claws from a house cat or various weather conditions could potentially cause tears in your air mattress. Keeping it properly stored when not in use, as detailed here, will prevent this as much as possible.

I have cats…how can I make sure they don’t burst my air mattress?

Welcome to the club! Here’s our guide on protecting your air mattress from cats.

I can’t find the tear in my air mattress, but I can tell there’s one there. What do I do?

Lift your air mattress up and position the bottom side so that it’s facing you. Tears often appear here, and they’re easy to miss because of their location.

Summary

Air mattress tears are definitely an annoyance and an inconvenience. They’re not uncommon, though, and as a result the repairs are generally simple enough to conduct. Hopefully, you had most of these items at home already.

If not, you shouldn’t need to spend more than $20 to repair your air mattress. This is especially true for those that are kept in your home.

The process itself shouldn’t take more than an hour and you’ll be sleeping comfortably one again.

Charlotte Corbin

Charlotte is an avid hiker, camper, traveler and home maker. She enjoys writing about sleep, especially ways to sleep comfortably while not in her regular bed at home.