How to repair an air bed

Updated February 21, 2017

Air beds are a convenient and comfortable item to have along on a camping trip or in the closet when guests come over to your house. After repeated use, inflatable beds can develop leaks. The majority of leaks are caused by small pinholes and tears that form in the delicate plastic skin of the air bed. Making repairs to an air bed is easy. The hard part is often locating the source of the air leak. With an inflatable air bed repair kit and some common household items, you can readily find and fix a leaking air bed.

Clean a bottle to eliminate any residue from the previous liquid that was contained within the bottle. Fill the spray bottle halfway with tap water. Till the bottle on a 45-degree angle and add enough dish washing liquid to change the colour of the water. This will be close to two tablespoons of dish washing soap. Gently swirl the water around in the bottle to mix the two liquids, but try not to create too many bubbles inside of the bottle. Set the mixture aside.

Inflate the air bed to a hard state and install the plug to hold in the air. Inspect the inflatable bed for any obvious signs of air leaks. Puncture marks and tears will generally be discoloured from the pressure involved in creating them. Place a piece of masking tape over each leak that you find to mark the area.

Run your hand over the hand mattress to feel for air leaks if you could not find an obvious puncture or tear. Take the soapy water bottle and pour a little of the solution over areas that you feel air. If there is a leak present the solution will bubble. Wipe the area dry with a rag and mark the area with a piece of masking tape.

Small punctures leak so slowly that you may not be able to feel the air they emit. Slowly work your way around the inflatable mattress pouring a thin stream of soap solution on the air bed. Dry and wipe any areas that are leaking with the masking tape.

Scuff the surface of the inflatable air bed with the 400 grit sandpaper at each leak you have found. Deflate the air bed after all areas are prepped. Use the supplied contents of the inflatable air bed repair kit following the instructions provided to adhere the air bed patches over the leaks.

Leaks on the top of the air bed, on the non-smooth pad, require an additional step to ensure adequate repair. With the air bed deflated, work the fill valve over the found leak, fold the patch to fit through the valve, and use your finger to position the patch. Rub over the patch with your finger to secure the patch and reinflate the air bed. The air pressure in the inflatable mattress will help secure the patch.

Re-inflate the air bed and resume looking for leaks after the repair kit patches have had adequate time to cure. Repeat the process of using the soap solution and your hand. If you detect no other leaks, leave the air bed inflated to see if it stays inflated.

Things You'll Need

  • Bottle
  • Soapy water
  • Air pump
  • Masking tape
  • Rags or paper towels
  • Inflatable mattress repair kit
  • 400-grit sandpaper
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