Air mattresses have been around longer than you may think. They became widely popular in the early 80’s and are still used today. However, the first air mattress model was designed in 1889. That’s right! Air mattresses date all the way back to the late 1800’s. Over the years they have improved and now come in many different shapes and sizes; even air couches and chairs!
Air mattresses are great because they are compact and you can use them over and over again. Many of you may use them for camping to make your tent more comfortable, or in your RV while you’re on the road. More commonly, air mattresses are used for overnight guests to provide them with a quick, makeshift sleeping quarters.
Even though air mattresses have evolved and improved over the years, one problem still remains. Air mattresses can be punctured, and those small or large holes will cause your air mattress to leak. Many air mattresses can often develop a leak on their own near the air valve. This is usually only a result of over inflation or because your air mattress is old and is becoming worn out.
Air mattresses can be costly if you opt for the more luxurious kind, and especially if you throw it out when you have a leak. Sometimes a leak might not even be your problem. Air mattresses lose air naturally overnight. Cold air will cause them to shrink throughout the night, and the pressure of your body will also cause some deflation. Many of you may have taken back a new air mattress thinking it had a leak when in fact it didn’t. New air mattresses need to be stretched so they may seem to deflate the first few times you use them.
If you do indeed have a leak, you should try to fix it immediately. A small leak can turn into a big problem if it is not taken care of quickly. Don’t throw your mattress away without first trying the following steps.
Finding the Leak
The first step in fixing your air mattress is finding the leak. If you can visibly see the hole, this step won’t be hard. However, often it is not that easy. Here are some tips to help you find the leak in your air mattress:
- Inflate your air mattress fully before looking for the leak.
- If your air mattress deflates quickly after a few minutes, you probably have a leak.
- While searching for the leak, keep inflating your mattress. The inside air pressure is higher when the mattress is full which will make it easier to find the leak.
- Stand your mattress up and listen for the leak. Put your ear about 2 inches away from the mattress and listen for a faint hissing sound which will be your leak.
- Wet your hand and rub it over the mattress. Your hand will feel cool when it passes over the leak, and the water may even bubble when it covers the leak.
Once you have found the leak make sure to mark it. You can use a permanent marker or another soft-tipped pen. Be sure not to use something that will puncture your mattress again. Now it’s time to fix the leak.
Patching the Leak
Most air mattresses come with a patch kit. If your air mattress did not come with one, you could pick one up at the store for just a few dollars. Just make sure the patch kit is able to be used on vinyl and plastic. You can also find kits that are marketed as actual air mattress patch kits – made specifically for an air mattress.
- Deflate your mattress completely before starting to fix it. Having air in the mattress will make it difficult to handle the mattress and will get under the patch and ruin the glue.
- Your patch kit won’t stick to that soft covering on the top of your air mattress. If your leak is in this area, you will need to sand away this soft felt with some light sandpaper or a wire brush. Make sure that there is only plastic surrounding the hole. This will make sure the glue sticks well. If the leak is on the bottom of your air mattress, don’t worry about this step.
- Clean and dry the area before applying the patch. You can use rubbing alcohol or warm soapy water. This will get rid of any dirt or dust that will interfere with the patch sticking properly.
- Some patch kits have pre-cut patches. Otherwise, you will have to cut one out on your own. If you cut one out, make sure it’s roughly double the size of the hole. Apply the patch to the hole with the included glue. Make sure to press down firmly to secure it in place. You can put a book, or any other heavy object, on it to apply constant pressure.
- Allow the glue to dry completely. This usually takes 2-3 hours. Once the glue is dry, re-inflate your air mattress. Listen for any air leaking out of the patch. If applied properly this patch should do the trick!