How to Repair an Air Mattress


You’ve just spent the day four wheel drivin’ 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 – it’s easy to do – we sell spares. Also, have handy a spray bottle with some soapy water – dishwashing detergent is best, – scissors to cut your patch to size, a Sharpie, and a tube of Stormsure for those bigger holes and rips.

Here’s our warranty maestro, Corey’s, take on how to repair a leaky airbed:

Scissors, Glue, Detergent and a Repair Kit

Here’s all the gear you’ll need. For most in-the-field repairs the small repair kit will probably do. However, a bottle of soapy water will help you find the leak, and the Stormsure adhesive will come in handy for bigger jobs, and can also be used for repairing your tent and pretty much everything else!

Detergent sprayed onto air mattress

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.

Found the hole in the air mattress

Found the hole!

Hole marked with a pen marker on air mattress

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

Put adhesive on the air mattress

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.

Apply the glue

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.

Hold the patch in place

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.

Patched up on mattress

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

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. 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. 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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