How to Patch a Pool Float: A Step-by-Step Guide

As summer rolls around and the swimming pool becomes the centerpiece of relaxation, the last thing you want is a deflated pool float. Whether it’s a flamingo, a unicorn, or a simple raft, keeping your pool floats in tip-top shape ensures they’re ready for endless enjoyment. Patching a pool float is an easy DIY task that can save money and extend the life of your beloved float. Here’s a detailed guide on how to patch a pool float effectively.

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Step 1: Identify the Leak

Before you can patch a pool float, you need to find where the air is escaping. Inflate the float and listen closely for the hissing sound of escaping air. If you can’t hear the leak, you can use the soapy water method:

  • Mix a small amount of dish soap with water in a spray bottle.
  • Spray the soapy water over the pool float and watch for bubbles to form. The spot where the bubbles continuously form indicates the leak.

Step 2: Prepare the Surface

Once you’ve located the leak, deflate the pool float completely to make it easier to patch. Clean the area around the leak thoroughly with rubbing alcohol or a mild detergent and water to remove any oils or dirt. Dry the area completely.

Step 3: Choose the Right Patch Kit

There are several types of patch kits available, and choosing the right one can affect the effectiveness of your repair:

  • Vinyl patch kits are ideal for most pool floats, as they are specifically designed for vinyl repairs.
  • Heavy-duty tape such as Gorilla tape can also be a quick fix, though not as long-lasting as a patch kit.

Ensure the patch is large enough to cover the hole and at least ½ inch of the surrounding area for a secure seal.

Step 4: Cut the Patch

Cut a piece of the patch material with rounded corners to prevent any corners from peeling off after the application. The patch should be at least one inch larger than the leak on all sides.

Step 5: Apply Adhesive

If your patch kit comes with a separate adhesive:

  • Apply the adhesive to both the patch and the float’s surface around the hole.
  • Wait a few minutes for the adhesive to become tacky if required by the product instructions.

Step 6: Apply the Patch

Place the patch over the hole smoothly and press down firmly. Remove any air bubbles by pressing outward from the center towards the edges of the patch. Be thorough to ensure a good seal, which will prevent air from escaping.

Step 7: Seal the Patch

Some patch kits include a sealing solution or sealer liquid to be applied around the edges of the patch:

  • Apply the sealer if available, following the kit instructions.
  • Allow the patch to cure as per the patch kit instructions — typically for at least 24 hours — before reinflating the pool float.

Step 8: Test the Patch

Once the recommended curing time has passed, inflate the pool float and listen again for any signs of air leaking. You can also use the soapy water test again to ensure the patch is holding securely.


Patching a pool float is a straightforward process that can save you from the unnecessary expense of replacing your favorite summer accessory. With the right tools and a bit of patience, you can keep all your pool floats in excellent condition for season-long fun. Remember, the key to a good patch is proper preparation of the surface and ensuring the patch firmly adheres to the float. Happy floating!

By following these steps, not only do you get to continue enjoying your unique pool floats, but you also practice sustainable habits by extending the life of your products.