3 Ways to Fill an Air Mattress

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3 Ways to Fill an Air Mattress
3 Ways to Fill an Air Mattress

When you're camping, have a friend sleeping at home, or are just looking for a convenient place to rest, an inflatable mattress may be your best option. These mattresses are useful, they can serve as a comfortable place to sleep and are only a fraction of their size when compressed, which makes carrying one a lot easier. Regardless of whether you have an air pump or just a few tools at hand, inflating an inflatable mattress is simple - just blow air into it (and keep it from leaking!)


Method 1 of 3: Pump Filling

Step 1. Remove the cap to open the valve

Most air mattresses have a valve that allows air to enter but not exit somewhere along the sides of the mattress. The first step is to locate this air passage and remove the cap. It is not possible to inflate the mattress without having an exact location for it.

Note that some more modern mattresses have pumps attached. In this case, simply plug the mattress into the outlet or insert batteries and switch the switch to the “On” position to start filling it

Step 2. Insert the pump

Whether electrical or manual, your next step is the same: insert the pump nozzle into the mattress hole or valve opening. The pump must be locked into the material around the inlet. If not, air may escape, making filling difficult.

If you need to secure the pump to the inlet (if you are using a pump that is not your mattress model), it is best to use electrical tape to seal and prevent air from escaping. However, this may not work if the size difference is too large. Another option is to melt plastic around the pump to make it thicker and allow for a tighter fit. This can be difficult for beginners

Inflate an Air Mattress Step 3

Step 3. If using an automatic pump, turn it on

Most modern mattresses come with an electric pump. If you're using one, plug it into an outlet or add batteries to use it.

Note that electric pumps often make noise, so it's best to be careful when filling the mattress if other people are sleeping

Step 4. If using a hand pump, start pumping

If the mattress is older or you have lost the electric pump, the hand pump may be the simplest way out. Although they are more tiring and less fast than electric ones, hand pumps also do the job. The two main types of hand pumps used to inflate mattresses are:

  • Hand Pumps: Generally large, used in up and down movements. However, there are smaller hand pumps for sale.
  • Foot pumps: usually take the form of a pedal attached to a hose; stepping on this pedal repeatedly forces air into the mattress.

Step 5. Screw in the cap

When the mattress is full and firm to the touch, remove the pump and screw the cap on to keep air inside the mattress. Okay, now just sleep! Get some sheets, blankets and pillows.

Note that one-way valve mattresses automatically trap air. Even so, it's still best to cap it right after filling it to prevent air from escaping. Simpler mattresses have only one air opening, so you need to cover them quickly

Method 2 of 3: Filling without Pump

Inflate an Air Mattress Step 6

Step 1. Use a hair dryer if you don't have a pump available

If there is no bomb, it is possible to use items from the house to accomplish the task. For example, you can use an electric dryer. Simply turn it on and hold it in the mattress air intake. The process can take a little longer than if you were using a bomb.

Use cool air instead of hot air if you can. Most mattresses are made of plastic or vinyl, materials that can melt or deform if exposed to heat

Inflate an Air Mattress Step 7

Step 2. Use a vacuum cleaner

Any device that blows air can be used to inflate a mattress. For example, many vacuums have a function that blows out air instead of sucking. Another option is to use a leaf blower, made especially for this function. With devices like this, all you have to do is hold the hose or tip to the mattress's air intake to inflate it.

It is possible to convert conventional vacuum cleaners to expel air instead of sucking. To do this, remove the vacuum bag and plug a long hose into the hole. The air will come out of the hose and you will be able to fill your mattress with it

Inflate an Air Mattress Step 8

Step 3. Use a tire pump

If you have a bicycle or car nearby, it should also have a tire pump. Most can be used to fill mattresses. However, it can be difficult to keep the hose connected to the mattress air inlet. You may need to use some type of adapter to prevent air from escaping.

Step 4. Use a trash bag

Most people don't know that it's possible to stuff a mattress using a black garbage bag. To do this, first open the bag and shake it up and down to get a lot of air. Hold the open end of the bag to trap the air inside. Take the bag to the mattress air inlet, snap the end of the bag into it, and squeeze it to force the air into the mattress (it may be easier to lie down lightly on the bag). Repeat as needed.

If you can, use thicker bags for this process. Thinner bags are more likely to burst with your weight

Step 5. If all else fails, inflate the mattress with your own air

If you can't find any objects above, use your lungs. Sanitize the mattress air intake with soap or alcohol and simply put your mouth to fill it. Repeat until mattress is firm. Filling this way can take time.

If the mattress does not have a one-way air inlet, you will need to keep your mouth in the mattress air passage and close your throat so the air does not come back as you breathe. Breathe through your nose, not your mouth

Method 3 of 3: Emptying the Mattress

Step 1. Loosen the valve cap

If you want to empty your mattress for storage, open the air valve and remove the lid. If the mattress has only a single air intake, it will start to deflate right away. More complex models may require more effort, however. If the mattress doesn't start to deflate right away, try some of the tips below:

  • Look for an air exhaust valve or lever.
  • Activate the air release mechanism to deflate the mattress.
  • Remove the valve itself from the fitting.

Step 2. Fold or roll up the mattress to force out air

As the air escapes, the mattress will be flatter. To get all the air out, try folding or rolling the mattress starting from the opposite side of the air valve. This will make it take up as little space as possible when it is empty.

To force all the air out of the mattress, try rolling it in small spaces, as if you were trying to get toothpaste out of a tube

Inflate an Air Mattress Step 13

Step 3. To save time, use a vacuum

If you want to speed up the process, use a vacuum to pull air out of the mattress. You can use a household vacuum or any other equipment that can create enough suction for this purpose. Just open the air inlet, wait for the air to start coming out of the mattress, and hold the hose over the inlet to speed up the process.


Dryers work best if you seal the mattress air intake by hand


  • Don't overfill the mattress! If you feel dizzy, take a moment and take a deep breath to collect yourself.
  • Hot air from the dryer can melt or deform some mattress models. Use cool air if possible.

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