How to Patch a Hole in an Air Mattress at Home: 6 Easy Ways

An air mattress is convenient when entertaining guests or enjoying a camping trip. The air bed is portable, easy to set up, and store. The PVC/vinyl material used to make the sleep system is durable, but a sharp object can still puncture and deflate the mattress.

An air mattress offers a flexible sleeping alternative, but it becomes unusable in case of a puncture. To find the hole, inflate the mattress and test it for air loss. Then seal it quickly at home with superglue, duct tape, or a hot glue gun. 

Your air mattress loses little air over a long time in everyday use, which you can offset by inflating the unit. And if it has a hole, it has an uncomfortable sinking feeling. In addition, you might sleep flat on the hard ground if the air bed deflates at night. So now, let’s learn how to patch holes on the inflatable mattress. 

How Do You Find a Hole in an Air Mattress?

Selective focus of an inflatable air mattress on the floor of a tent being filled up

A high-quality air mattress is a convenient alternative if you need extra sleeping space for guests. An inflatable bed is perfect for your gear if you love the outdoors. Unfortunately, the air mattress loses its functionality with a puncture. 

Sharp objects on camping grounds, bedroom floors, or storage can break through the tough plastic mattress material. If your air mattress loses air too fast or deflates overnight, this is a sign of a hole.

While a punctured air mattress is inconvenient, you can quickly fix the hole at home. However, to fix the puncture, you first have to find the location of the damage. Here are steps to follow to find a hole in an inflatable mattress:

  1. Confirm there’s a hole: Before you set out to repair your air mattress, confirm if there’s a leak. If you have a new bed, the unit might lose air if you haven’t fully inflated it. Temperature changes also lead to rapid loss of air in an air mattress. Use the pump provided to inflate the unit entirely and watch how it behaves overnight.
  2. Prepare the air mattress for patching: If the air mattress loses air fast again, you have a hole in the surface. To find the hole, inflate the unit once more and lay it on a flat surface. 
  3. Inspect the mattress visually: Check for any damage on your air mattress by feeling throughout the surface and looking out for escaping air. An air mattress has a smooth surface, and you might notice a break, tear, scuff, or bump where the puncture occurred. Focus on the seams and the air valve system and continue feeling for escaping air.
  4. Listen for an air leak: Place the mattress in a quiet room. Lie on the mattress while pressing your ear to its surface. Listen out for the sound of leaking air. 
  5. Test for air loss: Get a tissue or a light paper towel. Place the towel on different areas of the air mattress starting from one end. Compress the bed in the towel’s direction and watch for upward movements. The tissue/paper towel rises when you compress the surface if your mattress leaks.
  6. Soapy water method: You need a soapy water mixture and a sponge to locate a hole. Inflate the air mattress fully and lay it on a flat surface. Dip the sponge in the soapy water and wipe it over the bed, starting from one area. Apply pressure on the mattress and force air towards the sponge. Work throughout the surface of your mattress. You’ll notice water bubbles forming on the surface in the pictured area. 
  7. Baby powder method: Baby powder blows up easily and can help locate a hole on your air mattress. Apply the powder all over the under-inflated mattress. Then, slowly pump air into the inflatable bed and watch for any powder movement. 
  8. Mark the hole: If you locate the hole using any of these techniques, mark the area and deflate the mattress for easy repairs. 

How to Fix a Hole in an Air Mattress with Nail Polish

One simple fix for a hole in an air mattress at home is the use of nail polish. After locating the hole and marking the area, follow these steps:

  1. Let the mattress dry: If you’ve used the soapy water method to find a hole on an air mattress, let the surface dry for about an hour or two. A dry surface is easier to treat and allows any material to stick properly.
  2. Prepare the spot: Scrub the area around the puncture to remove the top coating and find the plastic material underneath. Sandpaper the area around the hole to expose the vinyl surface below and create a grip on the patch you’ll use. After removing the flocked surface beneath, clean the area with a gentle cleanser or rubbing alcohol to degrease the surface. Degreasing removes lipid residue, which might hinder the effectiveness of the adhesive. 
  3. Apply nail polish: Once the spot dries completely, apply a thin layer of nail polish to the hole. The nail polish seals the puncture but for more effectiveness of the coating, apply several layers of nail polish. 

Nail polish is a temporary solution to seal a hole in your mattress. The polish loses its viscous quality over time. However, the technique comes in handy if you need to use the air mattress urgently. 

How to Fix a Hole in an Air Mattress with Duct Tape

Air mattress leaks happen at the most inconvenient times. For example, you might discover a hole in your inflatable bed when setting up for the night during camping or when preparing a bed for your guests at night.

If the hole on your air mattress is minor, high-quality duct tape comes in handy, a simple alternative if you don’t have nail polish, adhesive, or a patch kit in your house or camping gear. Here’s how to fix a hole in an air mattress with duct tape:

  1. Follow the steps above to identify the tear/hole. Mark the hole to prepare for repairs
  2. Clean the surface to remove dirt and debris to allow for better adhesion
  3. For better sealing, use epoxy glue or adhesive over the damaged spot before applying the duct tape. 
  4. Cut a large piece of duct tape enough to cover the hole and the surrounding area
  5. Apply the duct tape gently over the hole and the surrounding area 
  6. Remove any air bubbles under the tape by pressing gently 
  7. Use additional duct tape  at different angles to secure the original patch  

Duct tape is a temporary fix for a hole in your air mattress. The tape loses adhesiveness fast and might not withstand compressed air pressure inside the mattress. However, the tape allows you to use the sleep system for a night or more before getting a more permanent solution. 

How to Patch a Hole in an Air Mattress with Super Glue

If you have a hole in your air mattress, super glue is a quick fix for the problem. Without a patch kit tool at hand, super glue is a cheap and convenient solution to repair your air mattress. Here’s how to patch a hole in an air mattress with superglue: 

  1. Locate the hole using the different methods described above and mark the location of the puncture 
  2. Deflate the air mattress to allow for easy repair
  3. Clean and dry the marked area around the hole 
  4. Squeeze a glob of super glue over the tear or hole. Let the first layer dry and apply and apply another glob
  5. Give the glue time to dry (1-6 hours). Inflate the mattress and check for an air leak around the hole

Super glue is an easy fix if you’re out camping and there’s damage to your air mattress. However, make sure you patch the hole permanently once you get a patch repair kit. 

Other Ways to Patch an Air Mattress Hole

Selective focus of an inflatable air mattress -

If you’ve located a hole in your air mattress, other simple fixes include:

  • Patch kits: A patch kit is the most effective solution for repairing a hole in an air mattress. The patch kit consists of a vinyl repair patch that sticks to vinyl and vinyl-coated products such as air mattresses. The kit also includes illustrated instructions and may also have reinforcement filament to repair tears at the edges of an air mattress.
  • Homemade patch: If you don’t have an official repair kit, create a temporary one from a thin plastic material such as a shower or pool liner. To use the homemade patch, you need high-quality adhesive.
  • Marine/Amazing Goop glue: Goop glue is one of the most durable adhesives. The waterproof and UV-resistant glue works perfectly on vinyl materials such as air mattresses. Consider using marine goop as a sealant if your air mattress has a hole. 
  • Hot glue gun: A hot glue gun is another alternative to seal an air leak on your air mattress. Use the hot glue carefully to avoid damage to the vinyl material. After locating the hole, use a glue stick in the glue gun and heat it. Next, use the glue gun to seal the hole in the air mattress and allow the glue to cool down. Finally, inflate the mattress to confirm the patch has worked. 

If your air mattress has a puncture, you can still use it by applying any of these quick fixes at home. Choose the most straightforward fix to patch the hole before getting a more permanent solution.