Introduction: Air Mattress Repair

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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)