How to Fix a Hole in an Air Mattress

How to Fix a Hole in an Air Mattress
An air mattress is a great addition to a camping trip or for that extra house guest. After time and through normal use, air mattresses will develop small holes, usually in the plastic bottom or corners. Finding and patching the holes in the air mattress for future use is not difficult but may require patience at times. Making your own repairs will save you time and the cost of purchasing another mattress.


Difficulty: Moderate

Finding the Hole

Things You’ll Need:
  • Empty water bottle with squirt top
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons dish soap
  • Vinyl repair/patch kit or water bed repair kit
  • 400 grit sandpaper (if not included in patch kit)
  • Permanent marker
Step 1
Clean and fill a water bottle three-quarters of the way with water. Add one or two tablespoons of dish soap to the water. Replace the squirt cap. Do not shake the solution.
Step 2
Swirl the dish soap and water solution to mix the soap without causing suds or bubbles.
Step 3
Inflate the air mattress to its full capacity. Use the dish soap solution to find any holes by squirting small amounts of water onto the plastic. Rub the solution around with your hand as you go. Any air escaping from holes will create bubbles. Mark any holes with a permanent marker.
Step 4
Deflate and dry the air mattress completely. Take care not to do more damage to the mattress while moving and repairing it.

Repair the Hole

Step 1
Prepare the leaking areas by scuffing the marked areas with 400 grit sandpaper.
Step 2
Use the contents of your vinyl repair kit to patch the hole. Follow the manufacturer's directions and be sure to wait the designated amount of time on the patch kit before inflating the bed. Water bed repair kits also work very well for repairing air mattresses, sometimes better than the kit included by the manufacturer.
Step 3
Inflate the air mattress and check for leaks. Pay particular attention to the new patches. Repeat the process for any newly found leaks. If none are found and the patches are holding, leave the mattress inflated. Time will tell if there are any other leaks. If the kit included is not sufficient to patch the leaks, consider purchasing a water bed repair kit.

Tips & Warnings

Always carry a vinyl repair kit in your "essential" camping gear.

Article Written By Eric Duncan

Eric Duncan is a military veteran and a professional in the safety, travel and aviation industries. Duncan has been writing since 2002 for magazines, newspapers, local business literature and on such websites as He has earned his Bachelor of Science in professional aeronautics and his Master of Business Administration.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.