Camping & Hiking

How to Fix a Hole in an Air Mattress Seam?

An air mattress is a great go-to replacement if you don’t have a proper bed and need something that’s better than just sleeping on the floor. The downside, of course, is that air mattresses work similar to a balloon in that air is pumped in to inflate it, and then released to deflate which makes the “skin” of an air mattress very delicate.

It doesn’t take much for a puncture to form and air pressure to be lost. There’s nothing worse than waking up halfway through the night with a deflated mattress. I’m going to show you some easy ways to fix a hole in an air mattress seam, or body, along with preventative ways to protect your air mattress.

How Do I Know If My Air Mattress Has Holes?

Before you can patch any holes on the mattress or seam, you need to find them first. This is much easier said than done, as you could have a tiny hole that’s causing the air to leak.

One of the best, although somewhat messy, ways to find a hole is rubbing the mattress and seam with soapy water. If there is a tear, you’ll quickly find it by looking for bubbles. If there are bubbles, you know where your leak is.

If you’re unsure if your mattress is leaking due to a rip on the seam or the mattress, check to see if there is a change in temperature or if your mattress is new. If you think it’s either of these cases, deflate and reinflate it and check for holes.

If you do spot one, be sure to circle it with a marker so you can come back to it while you’re starting your repairs.

air mattress in a tent

How Do I Fix My Air Mattress If It Has A Hole? What About On The Seam?

Once you’ve located the tear, it’s time for repair. If your mattress is made of a flocked, raised, textured, or anything that’s just the usual material, you’ll want to sand around that area with a fine-grit sandpaper.

Not too much sanding, as this may ruin your mattress. Instead, gently sand the area until only the base material is left. This will significantly assist you in keeping the repair in place.

Next comes the actual repair, and this can be done in different ways to suit your needs, although I’ll break it down into the two most common repair types.

Patching

Patching is a simple process where you apply another material to the surface of the mattress. This can range from scraps of cloth, self-adhesive straps, and even shower curtains! As long as it works, it doesn’t matter what the patch is made out of.

By now you should have sanded down the area around the hole, as anything in the way can leave the patch not permanently attached, and thus your mattress will still leak.

The most common type of patch is a cloth patch, made either from strips of fabric or pieces of clothes. Gently use a strong glue, like super glue, on both sides of the hole. Next, apply the glue around the hole and then add the patch and be sure that it dries properly before letting go.

You can also use adhesive strips, which are strips of a material with an adhesive under-belly. By tearing off the protective paper over the adhesive, slap it onto the hole and then smooth everything out with your fingers until the strip is sitting flush.

Some argue that these strips do more damage to the air mattresses than good, but I disagree as adhesive strips worked wonders so long as the sanding was done beforehand.

Using Glue

The next step is to use glue to patch any holes, and this method is very efficient but comes with a few risks.

You want to use a strong binding glue, like a super glue, and not one you’d use for arts and crafts. A hot glue gun can also be used, but you need to use caution as the heat from the glue gun can easily damage the air mattress.

Gluing is simple, as once you’ve sanded the area around the hole, you only need to apply a few drops of glue to make a long-lasting seal. Be careful this glue doesn’t land on anything else, as that could cause more damage to the mattress with you attempting to clean up the mess.

Glue seems to work much better on seams than patching, so keep that in mind before tearing up an old shirt for the scrap fabric.

Here’s a video showing how you can fix a leaky air mattress for $2

How Do I Prevent Any More Holes On My Air Mattress?

Now that you know how to fix your air mattresses, including the seams, let’s look at how you can prevent any more holes or cuts from occurring.

Firstly, make sure your air mattress has plenty of room. If it’s rubbing up against other furniture, even something as simple as a table-leg, it can start a tear. Also never use any sharp objects around an air mattress. While the quality has improved, air mattresses can still be damaged by simple accidents.

Another thing to remember is never overfill the air mattress. You might be tempted to, but excess air pressure inside the air mattress can cause small tears to form. The seams are more likely to go first if you overfill your air mattresses, so keep this in mind.

There you have two, very easy ways to fix your air mattress if it’s torn on the mattress itself, or the seams. Finding these tears is rather tricky, but that’s going to be the only real difficult part. Repair and prevention are quite simple, as long as you’re not rough on your air mattress it’ll last you for years to come.

Nathan Barker

My wife and I are huge adventure seekers! We've traveled and explored over 40 countries and want to share what we have learned on our journey. We'll be talking about everything from hiking and camping, to guides, reviews and tips that we're sure will help any avid adventurer no matter what walk of life. So relax, grab a cup of coffee and we hope you enjoy the read!
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