It is common for self-inflating pads to get punctures. They come from sharp objects that we are not aware of their presence. The leaks may be big or small. They make us have sleepless nights as our sleeping pads won’t hold the air for the entire night. Big punctures are easy to locate while small leaks are not.
I will take you through tips on how you can repair your self-inflating sleeping pad.*
How Do You Find a Hole in an Air Mattress
1. Identify the Leak
Start by locating the exact location where the air is escaping through. It may be through a tiny invisible hole or a big one. Use the following procedure for identifying a small hole:
- Prepare a water bath full of slightly soapy water, a flat working area and a sponge.
- Inflate your mat fully and listen for any sound of escaping air.
- Find the specific spot by using the sponge to splash the identified area with soapy water. The puncture will produce many bubbles on the soapy water.
- Once you have the specific area of leakage, mark it using a pen and open the valve to release the air.
2. Clean the Puncture
- Prepare some cleaning materials: rubbing alcohol, clean cloth, and clean water.
- Rinse off the soapy water with clean water and dry the hole. I don’t usually use alcohol since water alone gets it clean. Rub the alcohol on the pad after it dries if you like and allow it to evaporate.
- Give it some minutes to dry before taking the next step.
3. Do the Repair
There are three ways of repairing a surface puncture:
- Take patching glue and one of the patches(find some on Amazon) in your first aid kit.
- Apply the glue on the area you marked with your pen, starting from the hole going outwards.
- Allow the glue to set for about 30 seconds.
- Put the patch on the hole and allow it to dry completely.
- Inflate the sleeping pad to check whether the hole has been completely covered.
- Deflate the mat, fold it neatly and store it in a dry place.
Using an Adhesive Patch
- Take the patch and apply it to the area you marked for the puncture.
- Smoothen the patch to make sure no air bubbles are seen on the patch.
- Allow the patch around 10-15 minutes to stick.
- Check whether the puncture has been covered by inflating the pad.
- Deflate it once satisfied and store it in a dry place.
👉 In my camping repairing kit, I always have some adhesive patches (Amazon link) They are excellent for emergency repairing your sleeping bag, pad, tent and so on.
- Apply the seam sealant adhesive on the area marked for the hole.
- Allow it about 30 minutes to dry before moving your mat.
- Give it 12 hours to dry completely before inflating.
- Inflate it to check whether the repair is satisfactory.
- Once satisfied, deflate your pad and store it in a dry place.
👉 I’ve got the best results with this seam sealant adhesive (Amazon affiliate link).
Can You Patch an Air Mattress With Duct Tape
You can use a tape to get you through the night if you get the puncture during that period.
It will help you at that moment but not for long.
Make sure you do the proper repair once you get back home. The tape may react with your inflated sleeping pad and make it weak if left for long.
How to Patch Air Mattress Seam
1. Locate the Faulty Area
If you have carried out the above procedure to identify a hole on the surface and did not find any, carry out with the following method:
- Inflate your sleeping pad to full capacity.
- Close the air valve and submerge it in the water bath.
- Check a point where you will find many bubbles being produced.
- Remove the mat from water and mark the area.
- Deflate your sleeping pad and dry it thoroughly.
2. Repairing the Seam
I will show you two ways of fixing your seam:
Ironing is a solution that should be done with a lot of caution else it will give permanent damage to your sleeping pad.
- Spread it on a flat working surface and make sure the seams are in line.
- Take your medium heat iron and run it around the marked seam area. Make sure it does not touch the body.
- Allow it some few minutes to cool and get firm.
- Inflate the pad to check whether it is fixed.
- Fold it and store it in a dry place.
Using a seam sealant
This is the best solution for a leaking seam.
- Apply the sealant on the damaged area of the seam.
- Allow it to dry as shown in the above procedure.
- Check it and fold the mat neatly.
- Store in a dry place.
If these two do not work for you, seek professional help from your manufacturer. Seek recommendations from them if they do not offer repair services.
Self-inflating Mattress Valve Repair
The body and the seam may not be faulty after carrying a check-up. So, what do you do? Carry out a valve test and repair as below:
1. Identifying the Fault
- Inflate the sleeping pad and submerge it in the soapy water bath.
- Check whether there is the production of bubbles at the air valve.
- Remove it from the water bath and deflate it.
- Dry it completely.
2. Repairing the Air Valve
- Start by detaching the valve entirely from the body. Be careful not to tear the body.
- Check on the availability of solid particles and rinse them off.
- Check whether the rubber O-ring is still functional.
- Replace the O-ring if it is damaged.
- Place back the entire valve carefully. Make sure you align it in its correct position.
- Inflate the sleeping pad and check whether the valve is releasing any air.
- Fold it neatly upon satisfaction and store it in a dry place.
When this method does not work, consider seeking professional help. Some valves may need a complete replacement while others only need simple corrections.
We can use our sleeping pads for many years. To achieve this, we should give them proper maintenance. We should avoid short, quick fixes that are not recommended for them. Where doubt exists, we should always seek help from those with experience from using them.