How To Patch and Fix A Hole In An Air Mattress

Last Updated April 04, 2022

Having an air mattress that is deflated can be the worst thing that can ever happen to you at night and thus, it is best to know how to fix it yourself in case it ever happens. The first step is to find the leaky area and this can easily be done by yourself with a cheap patch kit and household objects. It is natural for an air mattress to lose air and thus before you decide to remove the cover from your mattress, you will first of all need to search for holes.

You will need to have the mattress re-inflated, whether there is a leak or not. Things like cold air will instantly cause the shrinking of your mattress and when the temperatures change at night, you will find that your mattress will soften a bit. This problem can be prevented by having a space heater by your mattress.

Things You Will Need

  • A patch kit
  • Rolling pin
  • Space heater
  • Soapy water
  • Wire brush
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Bucket
  • Sandpaper
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Sponge
  • Glue
  • Towel

Step-By-Step Instructions

Step One: Finding The Leak On Your Air Mattress

  • After you purchased your patch kit, you will need to stretch it and don’t be alarmed if you feel it going soft immediately after inflating it in the first few times before they start adapting. If you are suspecting a leak, you will need to inflate the mattress fully. If after several minutes it becomes severely deflated, then there is a leak. After you blow the mattress up, you will need to sit on it and it shouldn’t be able to sink 1-2 inches under your weight, if it does, then there is a leak. 
  • If after doing all the above, you are not sure if you have a leak or not, you can leave your mattress inflated for a night and put weight on it. If in the morning you find that it is deflated then you have a leak. As you search for the leak, you will need to keep the mattress inflated. If the mattress become softer, you will need to re-inflate it before you begin the search again. It will be easier for you to notice the leak when the pressure inside the mattress is high.
  • You can also check the valve holding in the air by holding your hand over the valve and feeling for any air escaping out of it. You will find it at the right next to the air pump, and it looks like a plug that is easy to detach in order to deflate the mattress. If the valve is the one having a problem, it will be hard for you to repair it at home and thus, you will need to take it to the nearest technician or order a replacement from the manufacturer.
  • If there is a quiet room that is large, you can use it to stand the mattress up in order to check out for the leak. In most cases, mattress bottom is what suffers from leaks and punctures quite often when things are accidentally left underneath. Ensure that you inflate the bed, fully and then place the mattress up on its side to check its bottom. You will need to have space enough to turn, flip and move the mattress around as you search for the leaks.
  • In order to know where the leak is located, you will need to place your ear closer to the mattress and listen for the hissing sound. Move your ear across the mattress slowly, keeping it close enough to ensure you hear the escaping air. When the leak is finally found, producing a hissing sound.
  • To do this, you will have to start from mattress bottom, then move to its sides, and then finish up with the front if you don’t find anything. You will have to wet the back of your hand and repeat the process if you are unable to find anything in your first round. If there is any air escaping the mattress, it will quickly dry your hand, making you feel cool. For small leaks, you will have to run your moisture hand along the entire surface. You can also leak your lips and use them to feel any escaping air from the mattress. Lips are very sensitive and it will be easy for you to find out where the air is escaping.
  • If after using your hand and lips you can still not find the leaky area, you will have to resort to using soapy. Even though some manufacturers warn against using this method as it will attract the development of mildew and molds, it is still one of the best ways to locate a leak. You will have to spread soap water that is bubbly and it will automatically make the air mattress blow into it through the hole thereby exposing the leak.
  • How do you go about it? You will need a small bucket filled with water and a few drops of dishwashing soap. Slowly wipe down the surface using a sponge. You will need to start from the valve working to the seams, underside and then to the top. When you see bubbles forming then that is where the leak is.

    Wipe the soapy water with a sponge that is clean when you have established it. Circle the area using a sharpie or a pen because when the mattress is deflated it will nearly impossible to find the leak.
  • Immediately you get to know where the problem is and you mark it, deflate the mattress completely. If you use the soapy water method, ensure that you have a towel which will quickly dry the area near the leak and mark it. Leave the mattress to dry in the sun for about 1 to 2 hours.

Step 2: Fixing The Leaky Area

Now you have found the leaky area and you want to fix it. There are several methods you can use to do this at home and let me share a few of them

1. Buying and Using A Patch

Step 1: You will be able to get a patch from almost any outdoor store in their camping section. We recommend this vinyl patch kit. It works any kind of inflatable mattress. It is a small affordable kit that contains patches air mattresses, tubes boats, and many other inflatable devices.

Step 2: Deflate the mattress complete to avoid any air getting under the patch and ruining the glue. You will have to remove all the air from the mattress before you continue.

Step 3: Use sandpaper to sand away whatever soft feeling that is near the hole in your mattress. If you found the hole on the top side, you will have to remove the soft covering in order for the patch to stick. If you don’t have a sand paper, you can use a wire brush to remove the felt coating around the leak until you locate the plastic.

Step 4: You will then clean and dry the area around your leak using isopropyl alcohol or a little soapy water so that there is no debris, dirt or dust surrounding the hole. You will ensure that it is dry before you continue.

Step 5: Depending on the size of the hole in the air mattress, you will have to cut a patch double it in size. You should have space which will be enough to cover the leak and thus, cut the patch so that, it is able to fit across the hole of the air mattress with at least a centimeter of space around the hole.

Step 6: Apply the patch as per the manufacturer’s specification. In most cases, patches are placed the way stickers does or you can use a special glue and then place the patch on top of it. But in order to apply your patch smoothly, you will need to follow the instructions. So long as the leak is completely covered, it will work out well. But if you happen to take it off and reapply, it will make it a bit loose.

Step 7: Use a little pressure once you have applied the patch. Do it for at least 30 seconds or until you feel that it is firmly attached. Use your hand to press down the patch or use a rolling pin to strongly flatten the patch on the mattress.

Step 8: For at least 2 to 3 hours, let the glue dry. You can lay on top of it a flat, heavy object on top of the patch in order to keep the pressure on it.

Step 9: Inflate the mattress and place your ear next to the patch and listen if there is any escaping air. If there is anyone who wants to sleep on it, leave it inflated and return in the morning to make sure no more air is escaping.

Also check out our budget mattress reviews:
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2. Without A Patch Kit

Before you start on it, it is important to note that, you might end up voiding your mattress warranty with doing it yourself fixes. Most manufacturers insist on using patch kits or you take the mattress back to them for whatever repair is required.

Even though do it yourself patches can lead to you losing your warranty, you are hereby proceeding on them, at your own risk. Am just trying to give out options and thus, find it important to warn you in advance.

Avoid using hot glue when fixing the leak as it will melt part of the air mattress and enlarge the hole.

You can decide to use duct tape and even though it is effective in the short term. After some time, the glue on the duct tape will come out as it will not permanently bind it to the plastic; it will dry and fall.

Step 1: You will need to sandpaper away from the soft felt which is around your leak hole if it is on the top of the mattress. If you don’t, it will prevent the patches or glue from being able to stick on the air mattress leak, causing it to come out shortly after fixing it. Take some sandpaper or a wire brush and lightly scrub away the coating until there is only plastic feel around the leak.

Step 2: If you don’t have professional patches or cannot afford them at the moment, you can improvise patches using things from around the house like shower curtains and tarps as long as you cut them into the right size. Ensure that your square is bigger to cover the leak and still leave some space all around.

Step 3: Attach the improvised patch with strong glue. Don’t use craft glue because it will come out immediately. Use reliable, strong adhesive glue such as krazyglue, superglue or gorilla glue.

Step 4: Press the patch using strong pressure to patch it into the glue. Do the smoothening using your fingers and wipe away the excesses around the edges of the patch.

Step 5: Place a heavy object on top of the patch and let it rest there for at least 6 to 8 hours. This will enable the patch to firmly adhere to the mattress.

You may like this: Best mattress Protectors


Hope you have found this article to be informative and also as a motivation to buy air mattresses. This is because, even though they are vulnerable to various types of damages, including leaks, at least you have a solution. I have tried to explain in details on how you can work on it in the absence of a patch or with a patch, the choice is yours. But if you don’t want to void your warranty I recommend you stick to the patch method. 

Milos Milos


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