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How to Patch an Air Mattress

There are some cases when you might need to switch from your own bed to an inflatable mattress. But what if when you need it the most, you find out it’s leaking? Then you need to find ways how to patch an air mattress.

Maybe you’re out camping, or maybe you’re crashing at your friend’s house and then you have no other choice but to sleep on an inflatable mattress.

Research shows that sleeping on an air mattress can help with pressure ulcers[1], but it still should remain as a last resort option that you use when you're in a desperate need for a sleeping surface. Finding out that your mattress is leaking just before going to sleep can be infuriating.

No one likes to be disappointed by not being able to sleep in their freshly-made bed. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to find out how to patch an air mattress

Continue reading this guide to learn how to fix a hole in an air mattress!

How to patch an air mattress?

There are a few steps to take if you want to fix a hole in an air mattress

Determine if the Mattress Really Has a Leak

Starting out your journey in air mattress repair, the first thing you have to take care of is determining whether your air mattress is really leaking or has it just deflated a little and needs to be refilled with air.

If you lie down on your mattress for not the first nor the second night in a row and find out that it’s not fully inflated, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your mattress has a leak. Air mattresses deflate a little over time.

It can be caused by a few reasons, one of them being the natural slight deflation, that you might feel if you’re sensitive to that. Another one could be the contact with cold air. It’s extremely probable if you’re out camping outside. Then it might not need a patch, it could just be the natural unavoidable processes

One more reason why that could happen and raise the need to learn how to patch an air mattress is if your mattress is new. It might sound conflicting, as new mattresses are supposed to be the highest quality ones but the case is different here.

Inflating a new mattress, you don’t really put all the air that the mattress is capable of containing. Mattresses stretch a little over time and you might need to inflate it a bit more often at first. 

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Locate the Leak

Let’s say none of the previously mentioned cases apply to you and you had just fully inflated it and see that it’s deflating. In this case, there must probably be a leak. So you must wonder what to do first if you’re looking for ways how to fix a hole in an air mattress.

What you have to do now is locate it. To do that, your best bet is standing the mattress up against the wall, and trying to feel the leak. It might take a while, so be ready to spend some time rotating or twisting it. 

If you can’t find the hole in the mattress, try getting your hand wet, as it’s easier to feel the air this way. Your hand will feel the cold air coming out of the hole once it’s against it. That's because the air passing speeds up evaporation[2]

You might also put your ear against the mattress and try hearing the air leak. Slowly move your ear along the surface of the mattress and try to hear the hissing sound that escaping air makes. 

Locating a leak is actually easier said than done, so you might need a lot of patience to be able to locate. Don’t rush, spend some time doing that and you’ll succeed. 

Mark the Hole

Once you have located the leak, if you want to successfully understand how to fix a hole in an air mattress, you’d better mark it. You might think, that you’ll remember the exact place that the leak is located in, but it’s not that easy. They’re harder to spot once your mattress is deflated.

To mark the found hole you should use a bright-colored marker or a pen. Simply circle the area which has the hole so you can find it later. Keep in mind, that you shouldn’t use a blue nor a black pen if your mattress is dark-colored. It will be hard to spot it.

Deflate and prepare the mattress

Now that the hole is marked, you need to prepare your mattress for the air mattress repair. What you have to do now is fully deflate it. That has to be done so that you can easily find out how to patch an air mattress.

What is more, simply deflating is not enough. You should make sure your mattress is dry, so your patches stick to it. Also, it shouldn’t have any dirt stuck to it, especially the area that you’re about to patch. 

Another crucial step in preparing your mattress is sanding it. You should use finely-gritted sandpaper to sand away any material that surrounds the leaking hole you just found. Carefully grit away all the material until you reach the rubber. That’s vital because the patches you’re going to use won’t stick well to any other material except for rubber.

 

Now that you’ve done all this and prepared your mattress, you’re ready to take action and start figuring out how to patch an air mattress

Find a Patch Kit

One of the most important things you have to do if you want to know how to patch an air mattress is finding the air mattress patch kit if you have one. Most air mattresses come with a kit that you can use. If you can find it, that would be for the best

But if you’re not the most organized person and have no idea where you could’ve put it years ago when you bought your mattress, you can still get one. Most bigger supermarkets or malls will have one available to buy

Another option you have, if you can’t obtain a mattress patch kit, is getting a bike tire or a tent patch kit. Both of these options should work just fine with an air mattress too. What you have to do here is make sure that the patch kit works on plastic or vinyl

If you don’t have time or the means to get an air mattress patch kit, you can also DIY it. For that, you should get a plastic patch, that could be a part of your shower curtains or any other suitable object and glue.

These things, although it’s not advisable and not as reliable if you have any other choice, could be used instead of a patch kit

Patch a Mattress

Now that you have bought a patch kit, or have made one yourself, you’re ready to figure out how to patch an air mattress.

What you have to do is get your completely deflated mattress and look at the hole that you have found and marked earlier. Once again, make sure there’s no dust or dirt and if you find something, clean it again

If your mattress is carefully sanded, in case it had any softening on the surface, and cleaned, then you’re ready to patch it. You should find or cut out one that’s at least one and a half times bigger than the hole. It has to be bigger to ensure that the hole doesn’t spread and start leaking air again.

When you’ve found the right one, you should apply it according to manufacturers’ instructions. Patches come either as stickers or non-sticky patches that come with glue.

To use the stickers you simply have to remove the protective layer and stick it on the mattresses, and for the second type, you’ll need to first apply glue and then stick it.

If you’re using the DIY method, the process is pretty much the same. Although it’s important to understand that if you choose this method you may damage the mattress, or you could lose warranty, as it’s often against the manufacturer’s guidelines

Make Sure the Patch Sticks

Having applied the patch, you need to ensure it sticks if you want to learn how to patch an air mattress. After gluing it to the air mattress, you should press down on it with your hand for at least 30 seconds to make sure it sticks. You should try to apply equal pressure to all the parts of the patch, so it sticks well. 

After you’ve done that, you need to give time for the glue to dry completely. It should be left for at least 3 hours if you used a patch kit, and maybe for an even longer time if you used a DIY patch, depending on the glue you used.

It would be for the best if you placed a heavy object on top of the patch you used. You should get a few heavy books or any other heavy object and leave it on while the glue dries to ensure that your patch sticks well. 

Test the Mattress

Even if you followed the “How to Patch an Air Mattress” guide thoroughly, it doesn’t guarantee that the mattress will stop leaking. Maybe there was more than one hole or maybe you used a little too small of a patch. Either way, you have to test the mattress.

To test it you should inflate the mattress and repeat the first step to see if your mattress is leaking or not. Also, you should put your ear to the freshly patched hole to see if the patch is working well and you can’t hear the air passing

If you see that it’s still leaking you should repeat the whole process again as you might find another hole that needs to be fixed. Or use your warranty if you still have it if the mattress appears to be faulty with no damage done to it

How to Prevent a Mattress from Being Damaged

It might not be that hard to find out how to patch an air mattress, but it still requires some effort. You’re better off avoiding these situations, so here are some ways to keep your mattress safe from damage. 

Check out the Area on Which You Place the Mattress

The first way of preventing having to know how to patch an air mattress is taking care of the surface you place the mattress on. Before using your mattress you should make sure the surface on which you’re placing it is clean.

You might want to sweep, mop or vacuum the floor first and even after doing that you should carefully inspect that there are no sharp objects that could damage your air mattress. 

Mind the Maximum Weight Limit

While nowadays the air mattresses have become more durable, they still have the maximum weight they can hold. You should make sure you don’t exceed that even if you have several friends crashing at your place.

You’re better off having one or two people sleeping on a functional mattress than having several people on it ruining it. 

Also, we don’t really recommend having more than one person sleeping on an air mattress, due to bad motion isolation. This will not provide good quality sleep[3] to either one of the people sleeping. You’re better off getting any of the traditional mattresses

Keep Away from Pets

It’s pretty self-explanatory that mattresses and claws don’t go well together. You should avoid any sharp objects coming in contact with your air mattress and pets, no matter how cute or fluffy they are, have sharp claws that can ruin your mattress. 

Don’t Overinflate

The more the merrier doesn’t really apply to air when it comes to inflating mattresses. When you notice that the air mattress is fully inflated, you should stop inflating it immediately.

Not doing that puts extra pressure on the seams that hold the mattress together, resulting in the mattress not being air-tight anymore. 

Conclusions 

Finding out that your air mattress is leaking is never a pleasant occurrence. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to find ways how to patch an air mattress. Following a few easy steps, you can carry out an air mattress repair by using a patch kit or making your own air mattress patch

What you have to do is locate the hole, make sure to clean it thoroughly and then patch it. In order to conduct the air mattress repair, you need to either get an air mattress patch kit or make your own. Having done that you should check if it’s done correctly by reinflating it and listening for the air leaking sound. 

It might not be so hard to find ways how to patch an air mattress, but you’re better off preventing it in the first place. To do that you should keep the area on which you place the mattress clean, mind the weight limit, keep the mattress away from pets and not overinflate it. This way your mattress will be safe from the possible damage.

While sleeping on an inflatable mattress is a good solution sometimes, you shouldn’t overindulge in this as it’s not the healthiest bed to sleep on. To ensure the best sleeping quality, you should invest in a mattress that will provide a sufficient environment for your sleep.


Scientific References

✓ Fact Checked

1. Vanderwee K., Grypdonck M., Defloor T 'Effectiveness of an alternating pressure air mattress for the prevention of pressure ulcers'

2. Seigner I. 'Wind Effect on the Evaporation Rate'

3. Okamoto K, Iizuka S, Okudaira N. 'The Effects of Air Mattress Upon Sleep and Bed Climate'


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FAQ

Are air mattresses comfortable?

Most of the air mattresses are okay to be slept on occasionally but they're not the most comfortable out of all the options you have. If you're looking for a comfortable bed, check out our best mattresses review.

Are air mattresses cheaper than regular mattresses?

Most of the air mattresses are a bit cheaper than regular high-quality mattresses. But they're definitely not as durable . If you're looking for a cheaper good quality mattress, check out our best cheap mattresses guide .

What is a memory foam mattress?

Memory foam mattresses are created mostly from polyurethane and have additional chemicals added that increase its viscosity and density. It’s also often called “viscoelastic polyurethane foam”. In order to create the air movement and let your body “breath” while you sleep, it has open foam bubbles. Memory foam mattresses are created in a way to adapt to your body curves and to also recover their original shape after you get up. Therefore, this kind of top mattresses offer you the feeling as if is created specifically for you.

Do top rated mattresses offer a money-back guarantee? Is there a catch?

All of the top mattress brands offer a money-back guarantee. The free trial usually starts from 90 to 100 nights, and if you don’t like the mattress, you can simply give it back. The majority of best mattress providers will not only give your money back but will also come to get it for free. If the mattress provider is reputable, there won’t be any catch - everyone understands that you have to try the mattress before knowing if it fits you.

What is off-gassing? Is it poisonous?

Off-gassing refers to the odor which comes from a new mattress. It’s the process that happens when volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) leak out of the mattress foam into the air. Those chemicals include both human-made and natural components, including formaldehyde, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), benzene, trichloroethane, and perfluorocarbons. Top rated mattresses will have zero or very minimal off-gassing. Many of them are sent to the customer already after the off-gassing. Is it dangerous, though? Even though the smell can be unpleasant, there’s usually only a very small amount of chemicals that can do no harm to your health.

How long do top rated mattresses serve?

The durability of a mattress depends on the provider and the quality of the materials used. Usually, you get a 10-year warranty, which will be valid in case of any defects. Normally, mattresses will serve you from 7 to 10 years, or even longer. Thus, when you buy the best mattress, you should take it as a long-term investment.