How to Repair an Air Mattress

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How to Repair an Air Mattress

Whether it be a camping trip or unplanned house guest, an air mattress is a great asset to have around. Air mattresses come in a variety of sizes and styles, some inflate manually and others come with convenient pumps or connections for rapid set-up. The only downside of having an air mattress is sometimes they lose the ability to inflate. Luckily, there are several ways to repair an air mattress without much fuss. Air mattress repair kits or vinyl repair kits are available at any shops where air mattresses are sold and also online through retail sites like eBay. With just a few simple steps the air mattress is back in commission to receive guests.

Identifying the Leak

The first step in repairing an air mattress is identifying the problem. Some leaks are so minute the air mattress deflates at a slow pace that is not noticeable until the sleeper is lying flat on the floor. Other leaks are big enough to be heard or sometimes seen. The best way to find a possible leak is to inflate the mattress at least halfway and use a spray bottle or sponge to saturate the mattress with soapy water. By applying pressure to the mattress, it forces air out of any leaks and allowing users to easily spot the holes by the bubbles that form on the surface. If this method does not work, it may be necessary to submerge parts of the air mattress in water until the leak is located.

Cleaning the Leak Area

After finding the leak, circle it with a pen or marker for easy identification. Another good option for marking the area is to cover it with a piece of masking tape. If the mattress has deflated when looking for the leak, it needs to be inflated until it is at least three-fourths full. The leak area needs to be dry and clear of debris, so if the hole occurs in an area with flocking, sand it down. To sand down the area, use gentle strokes with a medium-grit sandpaper until the rubber is exposed. Take care to not widen the hole or sand too deeply into the rubber since it compromises the integrity of the final repair.

Repairing the Leak

Once the area is clean and dry, use the vinyl sealant included in the kit to cover the hole. Drying times vary depending on the repair kit brand, but most recommend several applications of the sealant for the strongest bond. Next, one needs to cut an appropriate size patch to put over the hole. The repair patch has to be big enough to cover the leak and have some area around it to adhere to the air mattress. Once placed, apply more sealant over the patch until it is completely dry. Directions vary depending on the type of repair kit purchased so it is important to read all the instructions carefully beforehand. Since repair sealants contain strong bonding agents, it is always advisable to wear protective rubber gloves and make sure to repair the air mattress in a well-ventilated area.

Checking the Repair

Once the allotted drying time has passed, it is time to check the repair. To examine the repair, the mattress has to be fully inflated and then sprayed with soapy water on the patched area. If no bubbles emerge, the repair is successful. It is important to note, not all leaks are fixable. For instance, leaks or damage around the air mattress valve present some difficulty. If the valve has a hole, the sealant can be used to seal it, but if there are cracks on the valve, the bonding is not likely to hold. Similarly, if the valve separate or tears away from the air mattress, there is not much that can be done to repair it. In that case investing in a new air mattress is often the best option.

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