Air Mattress Repair





Introduction: Air Mattress Repair

psssssshhh...uh oh.
Is that a leak in the air mattress I hear?

Don't worry, you can fix your air mattress with an ordinary bicycle inner tube repair kit and some sandpaper, all in less than 10 minutes!

Step 1: Tools + Materials

  • Sandpaper (150-200 grit)
  • vacuum

time: 10 minutes

Step 2: Sand and Score

First, find your leak.
There are a variety of methods such as using soapy water to see where bubbles for, or submerging your mattress in water to find where the leak is coming from. In most cases the leak will be obvious enough to find by sight or sound.

Once your leak has been located deflate your mattress.

Puncture not in flocked area of mattress:
If the leak is not in a flocked area of your mattress proceed to the next step.

Puncture in flocked area of mattress:
If your leak is on the flocked upper area of your mattress start gently sanding away the flocked surface to around the leak to reveal the smooth rubberized surface below. By removing the flocked surface around the leak you are creating a surface which will allow the patch to create a good seal.

Ensure not to sand through mattress or make the leak opening too large from excessive sanding.
Then, use a vacuum or damp cloth to clean the area of debris.

Step 3: Apply Contact Cement

Following the directions on the bicycle repair kit, place a dab of contact cement on the area around the leak on the air mattress. Then, place a dab of glue onto the rubber bicycle tire patch. Allow both to dry (about 2-3 minutes).
Contact cement works when you apply two sections that have the cement applied together. To bond, the cement needs to be dry.

When the cement has dried line up the patch over the leak and firmly press patch into mattress. Rub patch in small circular motions to remove any air bubbles and ensure a good seal between patch and mattress. If any corners or edges are not adhering right use small dabs of contact cement, following the same application procedures as before.

For good measure I usually run a bead of cement around the perimeter of the patch, just in case

Step 4: Inflate

That’s it! Once the patch has been applied you’re ready to inflate your air mattress and test to see if your patch held.

As an added precautionary measure, I usually put a small amount of talc over the patch after it’s been applied. The talc acts as a lubricant over the sometimes sticky rubber and cement and reduced the possibility of fabric sheets catching an edge of the patch and tearing it off.

Good luck!
(and stop doing back flips on the air mattress)

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Here are several suggested changes to the instructions to use the inner tube patch solution described here. Use this solution if the tear is larger compared to the repair kit patches.

Prepare the Surface.

Be very careful when sanding the tact felt around the puncture point not to 'thin' the material to the point where you weaken the area creating a possible weak point for another leak. Use a cotton swab dipped into a small amount of nail polish remover to clean the area around the puncture hole. Allow the area to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Heat the Puncture Area with a Hair Dryer

If the puncture or tear is wide or large compared to the patch, use a electric hair blower to apply heat to the area around the puncture so it softens and can stretch easily.

Cut out a small thin piece of heavy aluminum foil that is a about 1/2" in length and approx twice as wide as the tear, apply a small dab of Shoo Goo to one side of the foil, gently lift one lip of the tear and insert the foil half way into the hole leaving the other half sticking outside the tear.

Use a tongue depressor, or the flat end of a butter knife to press down on the top of the tear with the foil underneath. Then using the hair dryer (lowest heat setting) warm the area, moving the hair dryer back and forth over the inserted foil lip until the Shoo Goo sets. This will make a pliable,flexible seal of one side of the tear.

Now, apply a small amount of the Shoo Goo to the bottom of other half of the aluminum foil sticking out of the tear. Bend the exposed foil end upwards. Use the hair dryer to warm the area again, and then use a pair of tweezers to pull the other side of the tear as close to the exposed foil while pressing the foil down over the other side of the tear.

Then use the tongue depressor again to press and hold down this piece of the foil flat to the mattress surface until the Shoo Goo begins to dry. Use the hair dryer again gently warm the area until the Shoo Goo is dry.

Once the Shoo Goo is dry, inflate the mattress half way. Use your hands to apply pressure around the repaired area. You may still hear a small hiss of air escaping from the area. If you hear air hissing, then deflate the mattress again, put a small amount of shoo goo along the length of the tear area, and around the exposed foil, use the hair dryer.

Repeat the inflation of the mattress and the air test. When you no longer hear the hiss of air, then put one of the rubber inner tube repair patches over area using the repair glue using the repair kit instructions.

but coffee stir stir apply a small amount of Shoo Goo blo


Will spray foam insulation work ??

To find the leak juust get soapy water in a bowl and with a spounge wet the mattress with the soapy water and there will be bubbles bubbling up from where the leak is ,Simples!

Ok, I have an areo bed and it had a leak that when I pumped it up after an hour or two it would need to be pumped up again. The bed had a covering attached to it so I could not locate the leak and it was too big for the tub. I then did something they say not to do. I took a plastic bottle and filled with water and put in laundry liquid into the bottle and shook it up. Then I took the mattress to my kitchen (where if there is any soapy water it won't mess up carpet) I poured the water into the mattress and pumped it up with air and right away I heard and saw where the bubbles were coming from. I then marked the area with a sharpie and then took the mattress outside and let the air and most of the water out of it. I let it sit in the sun for an hour or two and then patched where the leak was. It worked and now no more having to pump up the mattress every couple of hours. Everything else they tell you to do did not work but I thought of trying this and it worked right away.

by the way- the photos I posted below are of the AeroBed. The built-in pump is a great feature, so is the wired remote that comes with, but comes at the cost of needing repairs to the area around where the housing meets the rubber on the inside. The housing edges are sharp plastic and I'm assuming that when you fold up the bed and store it away, the rubber rubs against these edges; do that enough times and you'll get the holes. My AeroBed was a hand-me-down so I can't complain. If I'd paid for it, I'd be pissed though. Pretty bad design flaw imo.

Just did this (before looking at this instructable) and I wanted to share my results. I started with a bucket of soapy water, carefully covering a small area and watching, waiting for bubbles. This was difficult though because the water already had some bubbles. Perhaps the spray method is different and the water won't come "pre-bubbled." At any rate, this method failed.

Next I took it into an oversized bathtub with me. Good freakin luck with this one... Even with a small amount of air, squeezed into a small portion of the mattress, it was very difficult to get it under the water. I'm sure I looked ridiculous, I certainly felt ridiculous and I made a ridiculous mess. And I didn't find anything. This is, however, a good (and possibly the only) method to check for a leak at the nozzle.

I had all but given up and had put the mattress out to dry when I heard it. It was faint, but it was there. Traced it back and patched it up in 15 minutes.

So, to make a long story short, I would start with the feel/hear method, as this is the quickest and, in my case, best method. Find somewhere quiet and it shouldn't take long, scanning sections with your ear/hand. One commenter recommended even wetting your hands continuously which seems like a genius idea to me.

If I hadn't found the hole, I would have filled the thing with water, tossed a sheet on it and worked the water around. Seemed like it would be easy to spot the leak where the sheet got wet. But this also seemed like a mess, and I've read that it's hard to dry the inside out, so there's a concern of organism growth.

Thanks for the ible!

anyone know how to fix the part where the air comes out? The clasp on mine broke. Tried duct tape and no luck.

duct tape is horrible,we had a leak and we used duck tape and the leak went right through it,my husband actually though of the tire repair so glad to see it up here.

Thank you so much for this guide, mikeasaurus! I used this to successfully repair my old air bed -

I used Loctite epoxy mix instead of the one that you used because it wasn't available at my local store.