How to Fix an Air Mattress

Written by: Alex Savy
Read 7 minLast updated March 26, 2020

Airbeds are an affordable and space-saving alternative to a regular bed. However, even the best air mattress isn’t immune to accidental tears and leaks. 

The good thing is, you can easily fix these problems, and you may not even need the patch kit your airbed comes with.

In fact, you can fix an air mattress with duct tape, superglue, or even nail polish!

Want to learn more? Read on!

Preparations to Make

Whichever way of fixing a hole in an air mattress you’ll choose, you need to prepare the mattress itself. And here are the steps you should take:

  • Locate the leak. Inflate the mattress to its full capacity and seal the valve as you’d normally do. Then try to hear the sound of the air coming out of your airbed. Alternatively, you can make a mixture of dish soap and water and spray it generously onto the mattress. The leaking air will form foam or bubbles, allowing you to easily locate the hole. Once you have found it, mark it with a tailor’s pencil or a marker and allow the airbed to dry before proceeding to the next step.
  • Deflate the mattress completely. Any air left inside might prevent the patch or glue from forming a tight seal, and you’ll have to repair the hole again.
  • Scrub it. If the puncture is on the flocked top of the airbed, you need to scrub the spot so that the patch can adhere properly. Use soft sandpaper and do not rub too vigorously to avoid damaging the mattress.

Now, your airbed is ready to be fixed!

And here are 5 best ways to do it.

#1 Make DIY Patch Kit

Make DIY Patch Kit

The easiest way to fix an air mattress is to glue a patch to the leaking area. Some airbeds come with an included patch kit, but what if you don’t have one by your side?

Don’t worry!

You can use any thin plastic or rubber material for making a patch, for example:

  • a piece of shower curtain;
  • a pool liner;
  • a piece of inner bike tire (the one that’s made of soft rubber).

And here’s what you need to do to patch your airbed:

  • Cut the needed amount of material. Ideally, your patch should cover the leak entirely and spread at least an inch to each side to ensure a good seal.
  • Degrease the surfaces. You can use rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. Degreasing removes lipid residue that may prevent the patch from adhering to the mattress.
  • Apply glue according to instructions. Some adhesives need to be applied on both contacting surfaces, whereas the others can be applied either to the mattress or to the patch. Use the generous amount of glue to ensure that the seal will be tight.
  • Press it down. After you have applied the glue and positioned the patch, press it with your hand or something heavy and hold like that at least for a couple of minutes. You may also leave the mattress to dry overnight, just to be on the safe side.

Once the glue dries, inflate the airbed and check the results of your job.

#2 Use Superglue

Superglue might be helpful for patching an airbed that has a small and thin puncture with two edges that need to adhere together, e.g. small scissors cut or a knife puncture.

You can fix the hole in the airbed with superglue in two ways: 

Either use it as an adhesive for a previous DIY-patch method or just squeeze the glue above the puncture without any patches. You can use stitch-like motions and apply the glue to the puncture. Once the first layer is dry, repeat the application until the whole puncture and at least 0.5” around it is covered.

Then, inflate the mattress and check the leak. 

Superglue is a good method for patching a mattress in camping conditions when you do not have a patch kit by your side. 

#3 Try Nail Polish

Try Nail Polish

This is when things start to get a bit more creative, but yes: you can totally fix a hole in an air mattress with nail polish.

Just be aware that it’s a temporary solution because once dried, the nail polish loses its viscosity and may not withstand continuous inflations and deflations for too long.

So, here’s what you should do after making all the preparations and degreasing the mattress surface:

  • Apply a thin layer of nail polish on the puncture. It will work as a primer and will create a film above the puncture. Try not to move the airbed while it’s drying, otherwise, it might break a seal.
  • Repeat as many times as you feel right. Ideally, try applying 5-6 layers of nail polish. It will create a thick film that will hold the air inside.

“You can choose a transparent nail polish or use the one with a matching color to make the fix less noticeable.”

#4 Marine Goop Glue

Marine Goop (also known under the name Amazing Goop) is one of the strongest adhesives you can find today. Marine Goop is waterproof and UV-resistant and can be used as a sealant, which makes it a good choice for patching a leaky airbed if you plan to use it outdoors.

So, the method has the following steps:

  • Sand the surface and degrease it. Goop creates a better seal on a slightly rough surface. But don’t go wild so that you rub through the airbed.
  • Apply a thin layer of Goop above the leak. Create an even seal above the puncture making sure you cover about half of an inch around it. Use an old toothbrush or art brush for that, and put the rubber gloves on to protect your hands.
  • Allow the sealant to cure. The manufacturer recommends letting the sealant dry for 24 hours minimum, but that may vary depending on the climate or temperature in your home.

#5 Patch a Hole With Duct Tape

Finally, if you need to fix a hole in an air mattress without a patch kit and you don’t have any adhesive by your side, use duct tape.

Cut a piece large enough to cover the puncture and some space around it and apply it to the degreased surface.

Note, though, that the glue on the duct tape tends to lose its grip over time, so if you plan to use this fix, you might end up having to repatch the hole regularly. However, it may work as a temporary solution until you get a patch kit or a strong adhesive to fix the hole permanently.

So, have you tried any of these methods? You’re welcome to share your experience below.

This research is supported by you, our readers, through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission with no extra cost to you. Learn More

1 comments

  1. Isn’t a bicycle kit patch and its glue the best long-term solution?

Leave a comment