Whether you use an air mattress on your camping trips or have one as an extra bed at home, you will probably have to fix a leak at some point. It could be a small puncture hole or a broken seam, but a leaky air mattress is no good.
Here’s the story – if you find that your mattress is deflating no matter how much air you pump inside, you probably have a leak. Depending on the area and the size of the hole, you can probably repair it instead of buying a new mattress.
Finding the Leak
As you might imagine, you need to find the leak before you can fix the leak. That's often easier said than done, especially if the leak is tiny. There are a few methods you can use to find the leak. Here is what you should do:
- First, make sure that your air mattress isn't deflating because of temperature changes or too much pressure. If not, you probably have a leak somewhere.
- Inflate the mattress once again and listen for the sound of escaping air. You should first check the seams and the valve since they usually give way first.
- If you can't hear the sound, apply some pressure to the mattress. Push it down with your forearm or fist, and you may feel the air as it escapes.
- Sometimes even that is not enough to locate the leak. If that's the case, make a solution of soap and water and wipe down the entire mattress generously with it. Any punctures area will start to blow bubbles. Look for those and you'll know where to apply the patch.
You can get the same results by soaking the deflated mattress in a tub or plastic container. The presence of bubbles means that air is leaking from the mattress through a hole. With this method, leave the mattress out to dry before attempting to repair.
Fixing the Leak
When you know where’s leaking, it's time to fix it. It’s the same for pinhole leaks and seam leaks, though it's not always possible. If the hole is hard to reach, things can get more complicated. Here are the things needed:
- Fine sanding paper
- Multi-surface adhesive or a bicycle repair kit
- Rubber or plastic patch (something the thickness of your shower curtain)
- Books or bricks as weight
With everything gathered, you are ready to start repairing your air mattress. Deflate it completely before you begin so that it doesn't move or wobble while you work. Follow these simple steps to restore your mattress.
Sand off the uneven material around the leak
The first step is preparation. You can skip it if everything is smooth around the leak. (The idea is that the patch won’t stick if the area isn’t smooth.) Take the fine sanding paper and gently sand off the fuzz around the seam or hole. Make it roughly the size of the patch or a bit bigger, such as sanding off at least half an inch around the leak.
Cut out the patch
The next step is to prepare the patch. You can make a patch out of your old shower curtain or something else of that thickness. Needless to say, the patch should be the same size as the sanded area.
Glue the patch to the mattress
Apply a multi-surface super glue to the area around the leak. Smear some over the patch too. Use a generous amount and make sure the entire area is covered with a thick layer of glue. Apply the patch to the mattress and press it down with your hand. Remove any excess adhesive from the sides and make sure that the patch is centered correctly.
Apply some pressure
Get the weight and place it over the patch. You can use a book or a large cooking pot, or even a large rock if you’re out in the wild. Ley it sit on top of the mattress for up to 6 hours or until the glue is set.
Inflate the repaired mattress
If the patch seems nice and hard, you are ready to inflate the air mattress back up. If you did everything correctly, it should be holding the air in just like it did when you first bought it. If it's still leaking, you may have missed an additional tear or two.
Enjoy Your Mattress for Years to Come
As you can see, it doesn't take a lot of effort to repair a leaky air mattress. You just need some basic materials and a few minutes to get it done. It is the same for all leaks except if you have a leaky vent. In that case, you will have to replace the whole vent. Good luck and have fun.