How to Blow Up an Air Mattress without a Pump

Air mattresses are excellent when you have sleep-over guests at your home. They make a superb bed, and you will seldom find your house guests complaining about their stay or sleep when you greet them the next morning. However, there’s one concern that makes the task of using air beds somewhat challenging, which is learning how to blow up an air mattress without a pump.

Blow Up an Air Mattress without a Pump

Most air mattresses come complete with built-in air pumps which can be powered on to inflate the air beds automatically. But for air bed models without this feature, you have to use external ways. There are numerous types of pumps you can buy for this exact job at a fair price. Nevertheless, you may not own one of these air pumps and maybe aren’t planning to buy one at the moment. In this situation, you should know some ways to inflate your bed mattress.

Using Household Appliances

For the more exciting, but not so conventional, means, various types of household equipment with air blowing capability can be utilized. The list includes vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, and snow or leaf blowers. But the main concern with this method is that those household appliances are not essentially created to fit the nozzle. Placing a melted piece of plastic or duct tape around the connector, to close the air holes, is necessary.

Hair Dryer

Be sure that the blow dryer you’re going to use is set to cold since warm or hot air could melt or damage the valve. This is the worst consequence, so make sure the heat is down before using. The one-way valve will let the air flow instantly into the airbed to expand it. You may have to tweak a two-way valve open for the air to move through. Use a pin to keep it open. Although this process is not as fast or effective as using an air pump, you can fill the air mattress to nearly maximum capacity.

Vacuum Cleaners

With this means, you need to have a vacuum that has an opposite function that allows it to blow air. Otherwise, take the dust bag out from the cleaner and put the pipe in the gap where the bag normally attaches. This will make it blow air instead of suck.

Put the end of the pipe or vacuum nozzle over the valve, and let the air blow into the air mattress. The air mattress should expand very fast, with less effort on your part. While this may be quite tricky, with no reverse air capability and is not efficient when camping, this is still an excellent method of pumping up an air bed without using a pump.

Snow or Leaf Blower

Simply put the air vent on your leaf or snow blower over the valve, and let the air fill the air mattress. This is a slower procedure than the vacuum cleaner method but quicker than both the blow dryer or garbage bag method. Most likely, you will not have a snow or leaf blower ready when camping, so this method is best used at home.

Using Trash Bags

This is a rare but slow way of blowing up an air bed. Fill a trash bag with air by plunging it through the air, and make a big bubble inside the garbage bag. Swiftly close that bag to stop the air from escaping. Squeeze the air from the bag into the airbed, by placing the garbage bag over the valve.

The best way to apply this method is to lay the air mattress flat on the surface, and then place the air-filled trash bag to squash the air into the air bed quicker. The one-way valve will let the air flow from the garbage bag to mattress easily, and stop it from escaping.

You will have to repeat this until the air bed is fully inflated. This may consume time and effort, but it will successfully inflate the air mattress. This process is best when you do not have any access to electrical outlets.

Here’s a short video showing how it’s done:


This is perhaps the least practical, tiresome, and time-consuming method. Just take a deep breath and transfer the air from your lungs to the air mattress. You need to repeat this until the air bed is completely filled. Be cautious to take breaks to avoid hyperventilation.

The Verdict

While all these approaches will fill an air mattress manually or without the use of an air pump, it is extremely recommended to purchase a manual or electric air pump to make the process easier. Since you can’t get hold of everything when camping, being ready and knowing the techniques on how to blow up an air mattress without a pump will make you a step ahead of the other campers.

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