How to Fix an Air Mattress

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 10 minLast updated on February 22, 2023

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!

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Preparations to Make

Preparations to fix an air mattress

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.

Best way to fix an air mattress

#1 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 Gel Nail Polish

This method requires certain preparations — you need to have a UV light source to trigger the polymerization reaction in the nail polish — but it’s pretty effective. It also works for any hole size, which is great.

Here’s how to patch your air mattress using gel polish, if you have a small hole.

  • Sand the area around the hole, regardless if it has flocking on it or not.
  • Degrease the area using rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover and let it dry out.
  • Apply a drop of nail polish above the hole
  • Turn on the UV light and set it above the nail polish drop for 10-15 seconds to cure it.
  • Repeat if needed.

If the mattress has a large puncture that requires placing a patch over it, here’s how you can use this method:

  • Sand and degrease the area.
  • Cut the piece of clear shower curtain to cover the hole. The use of clear materials is recommended because they can let the UV light through.
  • Cover the cut piece with a thick layer of nail polish and place it above the hole.
  • Turn the UV light on and set it above the patched area for 15-20 seconds.
  • Check if the patch is secured by rubbing on it.

Note that, although gel nail polish creates a tight seal, it’s still a temporary method, so you should get yourself a proper mattress patch kit.

#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 Use Hot Glue Gun

This might sound a bit controversial, but a hot glue gun can help you out in patching your mattress, although this seal will only last for about a week. So if you don’t have a repair kit by your side, you can try this method:

  • Locate the hole on your mattress and mark it.
  • Place the glue stick into the glue gun and turn it on, allowing it to heat up.
  • Squeeze the trigger of a glue gun and dab a small blob of the hot glue over the hole, sealing it completely.
  • Allow the glue to cool down and check the quality of the seal by inflating your mattress.

This method works better with small holes that don’t require patching. Also, be careful when using hot glue on the mattress, and don’t accidentally create another hole.

#6 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.


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

    1. Hi Nader,

      Apologies for the delay, you have a good point. Bicycle kit patches would work similarly to air mattress patch kits or DIY patch kits, and are designed for wear and tear on the road, so it may be an effective solution. Thank you for suggesting it!

  2. My Intek air matress leaks after two hours and I cannot find the leak. Has a built-in pump. Any ideas on how to find and repair the slow leak.

  3. Hi Robert I have the same one and mine was the same way and I filled the mattress full of air and took a spray bottle full of water and dawn dish soap. The bubbles in the soap help you find any leaks you may have to heavily saturate with the solution to find the leak but I just did that and did a very close up thorough inspection and found the tiniest pin prick hole that was letting all the air out. Closed it up with a diy patch of super glue and some plastic lining

    1. Hi Annie,

      Apologies for the delayed response, thank you for the tip, that’s really useful!

  4. I have a air bed that on legs and the leak is coming from one of the legs I dont know how I would be able to fix that with it being where the leg is.

    1. Hi Brandy,

      Apologies for the delayed response. If there is any way to apply a dab of superglue or another small patch tool, it might be able to patch the hole despite the leg being there.

  5. Hi my intex bed i patch many times with patch n super glue wat else can i use beside patch

    1. Hi Ashni,

      Apologies for the delayed response! Besides a patch, you can also use superglue, gel nail polish with a UV light, or a hot glue gun.

  6. Intex air matresses with a built in pump have terrible air control. I believe the air is leaking through the pump itself, unless you are waking up on the ground, just reinflate as necessary

    1. Hi Iris,

      Apologies for the delayed response, thank you for letting us know!

  7. I have bought 4 intex mattresses in 1 month but they just keep on leaking and deflating I really dont know if is there any other brand that do the best air bed than intex because they should have done a solution to fix this in the event where it gets damaged I feel is a waste if I have to buy this every now and then.

    1. Hi Paul,

      Apologies for the delayed response, I’m sorry to hear this. If patching your mattress isn’t working, it may be a good idea to consider a different brand of air mattress.

  8. To Nader – I found the rubber cement in the bike patch kit didn’t adhere to the plastic. So far super glue + piece of thick industrial plastic bag + duct tape seems to be working.

    1. Hi Cary,
      Apologies for the late response!
      You are right; the glue in the bike patch kits doesn’t always adhere well to PVC in air mattresses. Thank you for sharing your idea; it seems like one of the most effective solutions to handle air leaks.

  9. I’m new here..but I’ve tried gorilla glues, tapes cocking ..n my air bed is still leaking ?

    1. Hello K. Edwards!
      Sorry for taking so long to reply. Did you degrease the mattress’s surface before using glue or tape? Sometimes they don’t adhere well when the surface has some residue left on it, even when looking clean.

  10. People think about it your car tire is rubber right so I tack a can of fix flat and I get a small hose and tack throw the pump and spray the can of fix flat in the air mattress just make shore let the air out hold the pump in the air so the fix flat don’t go in to the pump it’s fix any leaks that happen for years I on four years and still use my air mattress I have cats so it gets lot here and there but it works a can of fix flat people

    1. Hi Mike,
      Thanks for sharing this lifehack.
      It may really come in handy when dealing with frequent air leaks in air mattresses!

  11. Duct tape doesn’t work at all

    1. Hi Hazel,
      Did you try degreasing the surface first? Duct tape may not adhere when there’s still residue on the mattress’s surface. It would also help if you made sure that the piece of tape was large enough to cover plenty of space around the hole to prevent the air from leaking.

  12. My air mattress had the strangest thing happen. One of the middle seams came “undone” from itself.. so now I have one big speed bump on the middle of the bed!

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Apologies for the delayed response! That is strange… You could consider duct-taping the speed bump down so it’s level.

  13. I had the same thing happen to me while borrowing my mum’s inflatable mattress after a few months of sleeping on it as I’m currently staying at my son’s house and then it just wouldn’t stay up all night not long after that and I was ending up on the floor by morning so I had to buy a new one which was working well until a few nights ago when I noticed that I was having to inflate it throughout the night only to find that I have a small split in one of the seams right near where my shoulder lays so I’m currently in the middle of patching that and hopefully it works cos I don’t want to have to buy another one as hopefully I’ll be in my own place very soon

    1. Hi Kellie,

      Apologies for the delayed response, and I’m sorry to hear your air mattress is having troubles. Seams can be a bit of a challenge, but using a mix of patches and super glue should get the job done.

  14. Mike, can you explain again how you use the fix a flat on an air mattress? Mine has an internal pump so I don’t think I could use it. I found the leak, it’s on a seam which doesn’t look like it was correctly done…

    1. Hi Laurie,

      Apologies for the delay. From what I can understand from Mike, the can of Fix a Flat would coat the entire inside of the air mattress, which could cause issues for an internal pump to work correctly. Alternatively, you could try dabbing some super glue on the trouble spot and let it dry.

  15. Mike I too have on with a built in pump how can I use fix a flat I have a leak on the seam by my head and I have tried hot glue patch kits tape and nothing is working

  16. I’m going to tell you my husband did that we got a queen in text okay first you put the gorilla glue on let it dry then you put some bubble gum on there let that dry and then you put the candle wax on voila ain’t no more sleeping and we ain’t doing all that today though so shut up

    1. Hi Deidre,

      Apologies for the delay, and thanks for sharing this life hack! I’m glad it worked for you.

  17. I’m having trouble finding the leak in my air mattress Ive tried the suggestions and can’t find the leak . My mattress is in perfect condition and stored properly

    1. Hi Deborah,

      Apologies for the delay, an excellent way to find the leak is to either submerse the air mattress while it’s filled and look for escaping air bubbles, or spray a mixture of bubbly dish soap and water over the mattress and look for moving bubbles from escaping air.

  18. Hello I’m new one here my question is I have multiple holes in my mattress on the plastic rubber side that was fixed very well with this heavy duty tape that I had I had no patch kit but on the Velvet side I’m having a problem do you have any suggestions on the Velvet side that would sticks on that I tried everything nothing will stick to the Velvet that’s my problem I tried duct tape and I have his one tape that actually sticks on roofs and everything and that’s not even working and they’re tiny tiny holes I don’t know how they got on her but they did and I was wondering if anybody has suggestions on the Velvet side for holes thank you

    1. Hi Terra,

      Apologies for the delay! Any strong-binding glue adhesive like super glue, marine goop glue, or guerilla glue may work for velvet, as it can bind almost anything.

  19. I’m having a leak as we speak. Stupidly being a smoker ,so you already know. Anyway as soon as it happened I stuck a patch on. I should have read this before because it’s getting air holes through the patch.its velvet so everyone make sure to sand down with even a nail filer then clean with alcohol or nail polish remover. I am going to trythegel nail jig but my uv light is ment for only the fingers. I’ll give the results. I have in the past just returned it at Walmart 😂 so there’s an option. Just be sure to seal it precise!

    1. Hi Jack,

      Apologies for the delay, sorry to hear about your air mattress, and thanks for sharing! Sanding down the velvet is a good idea to make sure the adhesive gets exactly where it needs to be. Good luck using gel nail polish!

  20. The Lace fx brand of hair tape. That’s right lol. It’s sold online and in most hair stores. Just google it. It sticks to the velvet and holds up even if you apply it with the mattress mostly inflated. I did this yesterday and I didn’t even degrease the surface of the mattress before applying. So far no air has been lost and there is no bubble beneath the tape. It’s a very stretchy flexible tape. The only drawback is it is two sided so the side facing up will be sticky too. I felt that the tape liner on the exposed side of tape should be removed in order to allow the tape to properly stretch with the bed as needed and also to allow it to cure fully. It’s worth trying from the results I have so far. Hopefully it holds up.

    1. Hi Carly,

      Apologies for the delay, thank you for sharing! That sounds like a very convenient life hack, even if both sides are sticky.

  21. I have a medium sized hole in my air mattress on the corner bottom part I did the patch but the air still comes out of the patch and the hole seems to get bigger what should I do and I’m 5 months pregnant

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