How to Repair Air Mattress Leaks

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You’ve just spent the day four wheel driving the dunes, or swimming with the kids. It’s time for a good night’s sleep. Then, pssssssssss, you start to feel the ground come up from beneath you.

Oh no, the air mattress has sprung a leak. Don’t be too upset about it, though. It can happen. And, I’ll have you know, repairing a leaky airbed is easy.

Most air mattresses come complete with a repair kit. If you have lost yours, spares are available, so that’s not an issue.

Gear you need to repair your mattress

  • Repair kit that came included with your mattress
  • Bottle of soapy water
  • Stormsure adhesive
  • Permanent texta
  • Scissors

Scissors, Glue, Detergent and a Repair Kit

Step 1 – inflate the mattress and spray down the mat

First, inflate the mattress as best you can. And then start by spraying down the mat. Start with the base, which was touching the ground, as that’s where the puncture is likely to be.

Work systematically, listening for the telltale ‘psssss’ of air escaping as you go. If you know exactly where the puncture is, you can bypass this step.

Detergent sprayed onto air mattress

Step 2 – locate the puncture

After spraying down the whole air mattress, you should be able to find the puncture.

Found the hole in the air mattress

Step 3 – mark the area

X marks the spot. So you don’t lose the puncture, mark it with a marker pen.

Hole marked with a pen marker on air mattress

Step 4 – apply the adhesive

Next, apply your adhesive to the hole. Spread generously around the hole so that it can comfortably accommodate the patch. In this case, we used Stormsure, but the glue that comes in your repair kit is ideal. If you want, use a little sandpaper to rough up the surface to make it easier for the glue to stick.

Put adhesive on the air mattress

Step 5 – let the adhesive become tacky

Leave for a minute or so to let the glue become tacky. If you have ever repaired a bike tube before you know exactly what I mean.

Apply the glue

Step 6 – apply the patch

Apply the patch and hold in place for a minute or so. Ensure the patch is applied flat and that the entire thing is bedded firmly in the glue.

Hold the patch in place

Step 6 – test it out

Let it dry for a bit then reinflate the air bed to make sure you have sealed the hole properly. Then you can go back to sleep for the next action-packed (or relaxing) day of camping in the Australian bush.

Patched up on mattress

How’s that for an ugly but effective patch job?

Note: the patch we used here was just something we had laying around. The patches you’ll find in your repair kit are likely to be much more neutral and will blend in with the rest of the mattress.

If the puncture is more of a rip, run a bead of Stormsure along its length and let it dry thoroughly.

 

Experienced a few leaky air beds in your time? Got any tips to add to this ‘how to’? 

About the writer...

Paul Goodsell

Hiker, bushwalker, tramper and founder of Ottie Merino (ottie.com.au). Let’s just say Paul likes to get around by foot. When he’s not, it’s usually by bike. He’s usually found knocking out another section of the Heysen Trail, or hut bagging his way around the South Island of New Zealand.

Joined back in November, 2015

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