Can You Use Duct Tape to Fix a Hole in an Air Mattress?

An air mattress offers an affordable and flexible solution whenever you have guests or if you need a place to sleep spontaneously. However, an accidental tear or hole can render your inflatable bed unusable. Can you use duct tape to seal the hole in such a case?

It’s possible to fix a hole in your air mattress with duct tape. Find the hole and clean the area, apply duct tape over the site, and add more tape at different angles. You can also try other repair methods such as super glue, a DIY patch, nail polish, or marine goop glue.

If your air mattress has a hole, you’ve got to find a solution fast. Whether you’re out camping or trying to use the mattress at home, duct tape can be a lifesaver. Let’s take a closer look at how you can use duct tape or some other household items to fix a hole in your mattress.

How Can You Find Leaks in an Air Mattress?

Air mattress isolated

An accidental puncture in your air mattress can ruin an otherwise-great sleeping experience. Luckily, you can fix the leak in a few simple steps using ordinary materials. The first step toward fixing an air mattress leak is, of course, to find the leak.

If your inflatable bed loses air fast, it could be a problem with the air pump or temperature changes. To confirm the air leak, inflate the air bed once again and use it overnight. If the air bed collapses again, you’ve probably got a hole, and it’s time to find it. Here are some ways to locate the problem spot:

  • Carry out a visual inspection: Look for tears, bumps, or a broken surface on your air mattress. Don’t forget folded sections of the vinyl mattress surface when looking for tears. 
  • Listen for the air leak: A leaky air mattress is noisy, and you’ll easily hear air escaping whenever you move on the surface. Inflate the mattress and lie on the surface while listening keenly to an air leak. Move around with your ear to the surface as you apply pressure to different sections of the bedding.
  • Use soapy water: Soapy water is an effective solution for leak detection often used at bike shops. For this method, you need a soapy water solution and a sponge. After mixing water and detergent, inflate your air mattress and use the sponge to smear the mixture on the mattress. Use a grid-by-grid approach to check for bubbles when applying spongy water to your inflated mattress.
  • Use a paper towel: A light paper towel placed on an inflated mattress can easily identify the location of an air leak. After placing the towel on the air mattress, push the mattress down in the direction of the paper towel and see if it rises. 
  • Use baby powder: Sprinkle baby powder on an under-inflated mattress. Start pumping air into the inflatable bed and check where the powder might blow up. 

After locating the hole, mark it clearly before moving to the next step in patching the air mattress. 

Can You Use Duct Tape on an Air Mattress?

Duct tape is a great option for fixing an air mattress leak. Duct tape contains a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA), which provides useful stickiness.

The vinyl/plastic air mattress material works perfectly with adhesive. But for the duct tape to work most effectively, you have to identify the source of the leak and prepare the area for patching. 

How to Patch an Air Mattress With Duct Tape

A leaking air mattress at home or elsewhere is a real drag. The last thing you need is to try inflating your air bed without any success while having guests in your house. It gets worse if you’re out camping and your inflatable mattress collapses. This is a simple fix to save the day if you have duct tape around.

Here are the steps to follow to patch your air mattress with duct tape:

  1. Find the hole in your air mattress using the techniques described above. Use a marker to identify the exact location of the hole. 
  2. Clean the area around the hole properly to improve the performance of the duct tape. If you had soaped the leaking site, use clean water to remove any soap residue and any other particles.
  3. Dry the leaking site using a dry cloth. Duct tape doesn’t work on moist surfaces and, for the best results, allow the area to dry for about an hour. 
  4. Estimate the size of the hole and surrounding area. Cut a strip of duct tape that’s big enough to cover the entire area. 
  5. Place the duct tape strip over the hole and work out any bubbles under the tape. Press firmly to ensure the tape sticks to the air mattress. 
  6. Use extra duct tape at different angles. Using the extra tape will help secure it and prevent air from escaping.
  7. Inflate the mattress to its full capacity and confirm the duct tape patch has worked.  You’ll need to use the mattress overnight or longer to confirm the patch has worked. 
  8. Keep checking the patch and use more tape if the initial layers start peeling off. 

Other Ways to Fix a Hole in an Air Mattress  

Selective focus of an inflatable air mattress on the floor

In addition to duct tape, there are several other ways to patch a hole in your air mattress. Learning different ways to fix a leaking air mattress can save the situation and guarantee a comfortable night. Here are some other ways to fix a hole in an air mattress:

Use Super Glue 

Super glue is a go-to solution for tears on different types of surfaces. This is a quick and simple fix if you need to urgently use a torn air mattress. If your air mattress has a hole, grab that tube of superglue (on Amazon) and use the following steps to patch the hole:

  1. Find the hole and mark it.
  2. For easy repairs, deflate your air bed and clean the marked area.
  3. Dry the cleaned area completely to ensure the glue works effectively. 
  4. Squeeze glue over the tear/hole and give it time to dry. Apply another layer of super glue and leave the air mattress to dry.

Use Nail Polish 

If your air mattress has a leak and you don’t have a professional repair kit, look around for nail polish. This might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of patching a hole in an air mattress, but it’s highly effective. Here are the simple steps to repair a hole in your air mattress using nail polish:

  1. Locate and mark the hole.
  2. Dry the mattress to allow the nail polish to work more effectively.
  3. Prepare the site by scrubbing gently to remove the coating on your air mattress. The vinyl layer beneath is tougher and offers a better grip when you use an adhesive. 
  4. Degrease the scrubbed surface using a soft cloth dipped in alcohol and let the area dry.
  5. Apply nail polish over the hole in your air mattress and let the first drop dry. Use a UV light to activate the nail polish. The light activates the polymerization reaction in the polish. Apply the light over the nail polish for about 15 seconds. If needed, apply another drop of nail polish to seal the hole more effectively. 
  6. Test the mattress for an air leak to confirm the patch has worked.

Using Marine Goop Glue 

Marine goop glue (on Amazon) is a waterproof and UV-resistant adhesive. This is one of the most effective adhesives around, and it boasts multiple applications. If you have a leak in your inflatable bed, marine goop glue is a quick method to patch the hole. Here’s how to use marine goop glue to seal a hole in your air mattress:

  1. Locate and mark the hole.
  2. Prepare the damaged area by scrubbing to create a rough surface.
  3. Degrease the area by wiping with a soft cloth dipped in alcohol.
  4. Wear protective gloves when handling marine goop glue.
  5. After the site dries, apply a layer of marine goop glue and spread the adhesive evenly using an old toothbrush. 
  6. Leave the adhesive to cure for about 24 hours. 

Make a DIY Patch 

If your air mattress leaks and you don’t have a patch repair toolkit, you can make a homemade patch using a thin plastic or rubber material. Cut the material that suits the size of the hole and surrounding area. Follow these steps to use the patch:

  1. After finding the hole and marking it, scrub the surface to create better traction.
  2. Degrease the surface by rubbing with nail polish remover or alcohol.
  3. Apply a gob of glue on the air mattress and onto the homemade patch.
  4. Press the patch over the hole and hold it for some minutes.
  5. Leave the mattress to dry for some hours before using it.  

Using a Hot Glue Gun 

A hot glue gun is another quick fix for a torn air mattress. To patch the hole in your air mattress with this method, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Find the hole and mark it.
  2. Buy a glue stick and place it inside the glue gun.
  3. Turn the glue gun on to heat the glue.
  4. Use the trigger to apply a drop of glue over the hole. The hot gun helps seal the hole completely.
  5. Take care not to damage the rest of the air mattress. 

Use a Patch Kit 

If you’ve tried all the other fixes with no success, you can order a patch kit (on Amazon). The repair kit is perfect for repairs on vinyl products and comes with instructions for use.