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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
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?
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.