How to Repair an Air Mattress?

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Written by: Alex Savy
Last updated on

Air mattresses are an excellent way to arrange a sleeping space, and some people even use them instead of a regular bed. 

And it’s totally understandable: the air mattress is much cheaper than any bed in a box made in Canada — although if you need one, you might check our selection via this link — and is suitable for small spaces that need to remain functional.

But accidents do happen, and if you stumbled upon this page, you’re probably wondering: how to repair an air mattress?

Worry not!

This article contains a detailed guide on fixing punctures on your airbed so that it will serve you a couple more years!

Key Takeaways

  • First, locate the puncture and then use a patch to block the air from escaping. You’ll need a strong adhesive to make the patch stick.
  • If the hole is on the top surface, you’ll need to remove the flocking material with sandpaper.


Before you start repairing your air mattress, make sure you have all the tools by hand. Here’s what you need:

  • Repair kit. You can use a bicycle tire repair kit or make your own by cutting a patch from the shower curtain and using Gorilla glue or any other glue that works with rubber and plastic.

I bought my repair kit from Amazon; however, if you don’t want to buy a special repair kit, DIY everything. Grab an old shower curtain or anything that can block the air. Keep the mattress thickness in mind while choosing the patch material.

  • Soap and water mixture in a spray bottle. This will help you to locate the puncture.
  • A contrast marker or nail polish to mark a hole.
  • Degreasing agent. This agent helps remove the fat and oils from the surface and ensures that the patch will adhere well. You can use rubbing alcohol or a nail polish remover.
  • Sanding paper. If your puncture is on the top surface of your mattress, sanding paper is needed to remove the flocking material before degreasing and applying the patch.
  • Something heavy. You can use dumbbells or stack a pile of books on the patch to help it adhere properly.

Once you’ve gathered all the supplies, you can start the repairing process.

#1 Locate the Puncture

The first thing you need to do is to locate the puncture. This might be a bit time-consuming, especially if you have a Queen-sized airbed or larger, but here’s a simple algorithm:

  • Check the seams and the place around the pump. These areas are more likely to get ruptured, so inspect them thoroughly.
  • Try to hear the escaping air. Place your airbed in the quiet room and try to hear the hissing sound that the air makes. Hold your ear close to the surface and inspect all the surfaces. 
  • Use the soap and water solution. Combine the dish soap and water in the spray bottle and generously spray it on the surface. If the puncture is on its surface, it will form a foam bubble, and that’s how you locate it.

Once you’ve found a hole, use a marker to circle it or apply a tiny bit of contrast nail polish on the area to find it later. Then, deflate the mattress, spread it evenly on the floor, and proceed next.

#2 Prepare the Surface

The next step in air mattress repair is preparing the surface. This will ensure that the patch will adhere properly and your mattress won’t leak again in the nearest future.

So, once your mattress has deflated, take your degreasing liquid and apply it on the cotton disc or any old cloth. Then, rub the area around the puncture and let the liquid evaporate.

Pay special attention while cleaning the area around the hole. Dirt will make it harder for the patch to stick. If you’re using a repair kit, the glue might not be that effective. Opt for super glue.

If your puncture is located on the flocked surface of the airbed, you need to remove the flocking material first. Take a piece of sanding paper and gently rub around the area until all the flocking comes off. You don’t want to rub too vigorously because it might create new holes, so take your time.

Having removed the flocking, apply a degreasing agent to the area and let it dry.

#3 Apply the Patch

Now, it’s time to patch your airbed!

Take out the patch from the bicycle repair kit and apply a layer of glue on it. Wait a couple of seconds and press the patch down to the puncture area. Wait a couple more minutes until sealant forms the grip with the surface. Then, place the dumbbell or stack the books over the patch and leave for as long as you can, preferably overnight.

If you're repairing an air mattress with a DIY patch, the algorithm is pretty much the same. Make sure to cut a patch that’s at least half of an inch bigger than the hole, so it will have an area to stick to. Then, degrease the patch on the side that will be glued, and apply the adhesive. Press the patch to the mattress fabric, wait a couple of minutes, and place the weight over the patch.

And now, the moment of truth:

After the glue has completely cured, remove the weight and inflate your mattress. If you don’t hear any weird hissing sounds or see how the airbed deflates back, congratulations — your repair is successful!

I usually leave the mattress alone after inflating it. If it seems smaller after an hour or two, my repair job wasn’t successful.

How to Choose a Mattress that Won’t Tear?

Any inflatable bed has some chances of puncture, but not air beds will actually tear. So, how do you pick the reliable one?

  • Pick a thicker mattress. Some air beds easily match or even exceed the thickness of the Canadian memory foam mattresses we’ve reviewed earlier here. The increased thickness works better at weight distribution and removes excessive pressure from the seams and other weak spots, which minimizes the chances of tears.
  • Choose a mattress with an internal support system. This system is known as air coils and helps maintain a rigid structure of your air bed, so the vinyl film won’t stretch too much. And it has benefits for your spinal health: some thick air mattresses with an inner support system are almost as good as the best mattresses for back pain we’ve selected for you here.

Also, you should give your mattress proper care. Fold and store it away when not in use, so you prevent exposure to sharp debris particles, pet claws, or sunlight that can weaken the PVC film over time.


What’s the most reliable way to repair an air mattress?

The most reliable repairs are made using a patch made of plastic, such as a shower curtain, and a glue that works with plastic surfaces. You might see the guides that suggest fixing your airbed with nail polish or a hot glue gun, but these methods provide only a temporary solution.

How to repair an air mattress outdoors?

If you need to repair your air mattress during camping, you can use quick fixes, such as duct tape, but make sure that you do a proper repair once you get home.


Repairing an air mattress isn’t rocket science and only takes a bit of your time. Just make sure you have the right glue and prepare the surface before applying a patch, and you’ll make your inflatable mattress usable for a couple more years.

And, of course, keep your airbed away from pet claws and pointy things that can accidentally make more holes.

Have you repaired your airbed before? What did you use? Share your answers below!

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