How To Dry Out Inflatables (20 Best Methods Explained)

Drying out inflatables properly is essential for prolonging their lifespan and ensuring they stay in good condition.

Here is how to dry out inflatables:

Dry out inflatables by first draining all the water and then wiping them down with absorbent towels or sponges. For larger inflatables like bouncy houses, use air blowers to facilitate drying. For smaller items, wet-dry vacuums, fans, and hair dryers on cool settings can help the drying process.

This guide provides you with the 20 best drying methods (along with examples) to ensure that you know how to dry out inflatables of all kinds.

The Importance of Drying Inflatables Properly

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Picture of a boy in an inflatable with water - How to dry out inflatables
I made this image with Canva – How to dry out inflatables

Inflatables, whether used for recreational purposes or industrial applications, can absorb moisture due to their material and surface properties.

When not dried out adequately, inflatables can develop harmful bacteria, mildew, and even mold.

This can lead to potential health risks and reduce the equipment’s lifespan.

As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and proper drying methods can save you from expensive replacements and unnecessary risks.

The correct drying approach not only safeguards the inflatable from potential risks but also maintains its structural integrity.

Moisture can loosen the bonds in the material, leading to a quicker breakdown of the inflatable over time.

By adopting effective drying techniques, you can help maintain the quality and longevity of your inflatables.

20 Best Methods for Drying Out Inflatables

Without further ado, let’s get to exactly how to dry out inflatables.

Read through all 20 methods before choosing the one that makes the most sense for your inflatable.

1) Plan Your Drying

Before you start the drying process, it’s important to have a plan.

Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for drying the inflatable. Note the size of the inflatable, the material it’s made from, and assess how much water it has absorbed.

Having a plan allows you to allocate sufficient time and resources for the drying process.

Start by laying out your inflatable on a clean, dry surface.

If you are drying a larger inflatable like a bouncy castle, you might need additional help to lay it out evenly.

Ensuring the inflatable is on a dry and clean surface helps speed up the drying process and avoids any additional moisture being absorbed.

2) Quick Shake

Sometimes, the fastest way to get rid of excess water on your inflatable is by giving it a quick shake.

This method is especially effective for small pool toys and inflatables like beach balls, duckies, or arm floaties.

To shake the water off, hold the inflatable at the end or the sides and give it a vigorous shake for a few seconds. Make sure you are standing clear of other people or objects that may get wet in the process.

A quick shake helps to remove water from the surface and any folds or crevices.

This method is useful as a first step to get rid of excess water before using other drying techniques.

3) Surface Wiping

Surface wiping is the next logical step after the quick shake method.

For this, you can use a clean, dry towel or a microfiber cloth to wipe the inflatable surface.

The cloth helps absorb the moisture quickly, and you can easily reach the corners and folds of the inflatable where water can accumulate.

Start by gently wiping the surface of the inflatable, making sure to cover all areas, including seams, pockets, and creases.

Surface wiping is highly effective for water slide inflatables, floating loungers, and other large inflatables that can’t be easily shaken.

4) Air Drying

Air drying is one of the most commonly used methods for drying inflatables, especially large ones like bouncy castles or obstacle courses.

The first step is to find a spot where the inflatable can be laid flat without any obstructions.

Make sure the area is free of dirt, sharp objects, or anything else that could damage the inflatable.

Once you’ve laid the inflatable flat, leave it to dry naturally.

This could take a few hours, depending on the size of the inflatable and the current weather conditions. Make sure to turn it over every couple of hours to ensure both sides are equally dry.

5) Towel Drying

If you’re in a hurry or if the inflatable is particularly large, towel drying can expedite the drying process.

Lay out clean, dry towels over the wet areas of the inflatable and gently press down to help the towel absorb the moisture.

You can also roll the towels over the inflatable to help wick away the water.

Towel drying works best when done in conjunction with other methods like air drying.

After towel drying, it’s a good idea to leave the inflatable out to air dry for a few more hours to ensure all the moisture is gone.

6) Use of Electric Fans

Electric fans can be used to speed up the drying process of inflatables.

Place the fans in a position where they can circulate air around the inflatable efficiently. If the inflatable has interior compartments or sections, make sure that the air can reach these areas as well.

This method is particularly effective for large inflatables like bouncy castles and water slides.

The fans help to circulate the air and evaporate the water more quickly than air drying alone.

Ensure that you keep the fans at a safe distance to prevent any accidental punctures or damage to the inflatable.

7) The Sun Dry Method

Sun drying is an effective, natural way to dry your inflatables.

However, keep in mind that prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can lead to the inflatable’s color fading and may weaken the material.

Lay the inflatable out in a sunny spot, and allow the sun to dry it naturally.

Remember to flip the inflatable over after a few hours to ensure that both sides dry evenly.

The Sun Dry Method is especially effective for smaller inflatables like pool toys, swim rings, and floating loungers.

If you’re using this method for larger inflatables, make sure to rotate them every few hours to ensure even drying.

8) Drying In Sections

For larger inflatables like obstacle courses, bouncy castles, or water slides, it might be more effective to dry them in sections.

Fold or roll up part of the inflatable that you’ve already dried to expose wet sections, then use other drying methods like towel drying, air drying, or the use of electric fans on these areas.

Drying in sections is an effective way to manage your time and resources.

It allows you to focus on the areas that need more attention, thus speeding up the overall drying process.

Always make sure to check the folds, seams, and crevices as they can often hold water.

9) Windy Day Technique

If the day is particularly windy, you can use this to your advantage to dry out your inflatables.

The wind can help to evaporate moisture faster than air drying alone.

Find a spot where the inflatable will get maximum exposure to the wind, and secure it so that it doesn’t blow away.

Smaller inflatables can be hung on a clothesline or held up with pegs, while larger inflatables may need to be anchored down with stakes or weights.

Rotate the inflatable every few hours to ensure even drying.

10) Lean and Dry

For inflatables like kayaks, dinghies, or large pool floats, the lean and dry method can be super effective.

Prop your inflatable against a wall or sturdy surface, making sure it is slanted so that water can naturally run off.

This method is particularly useful for inflatables that are too large to shake or too awkward to lay flat.

Ensure that the surface you’re leaning the inflatable against is clean and dry.

You can also use towels at the base to catch any dripping water.

The lean and dry method is great for quick, effective drying when you don’t have a lot of space to spread out the inflatable.

11) Inflating and Deflating

This method involves repeatedly inflating and deflating the inflatable to push out any trapped water.

It’s an excellent technique for inflatables with intricate designs or internal compartments that may hold water.

Inflate the inflatable fully, then deflate it, pressing gently to push out any trapped water.

Once you’ve done this a few times, use another drying method like towel drying or air drying to finish the job.

Repeating the inflating and deflating process several times ensures that all areas of the inflatable are dried thoroughly.

12) Dry Blower Technique

Some large inflatables like bouncy castles come with a blower that is used to keep them inflated.

You can use this blower to help dry out the inflatable as well.

Inflate the inflatable and let the blower run for several hours, making sure to move around any folds or flaps so that all areas are exposed to the air.

This method is particularly good because the blower circulates air inside the inflatable, helping to dry out even hard-to-reach areas.

Make sure to follow the safety guidelines for your blower to avoid overheating or any other issues.

13) Indoor Drying

When outdoor drying isn’t an option due to bad weather, you can dry your inflatables indoors.

Find a spacious area like a basement or garage where you can lay out the inflatable.

Make sure the area is clean and dry, and use fans to circulate air and speed up the drying process.

Indoor drying is particularly useful for smaller inflatables like pool toys, air mattresses, and floaties.

Make sure to flip the inflatable every few hours to ensure even drying. Keep in mind that indoor drying can take longer than outdoor drying due to less airflow and lack of direct sunlight.

14) Time-Lapse Method

The time-lapse method involves taking a break between different drying techniques.

For example, you can towel-dry the inflatable first, leave it to air dry for a couple of hours, and then finish with the sun-dry method.

This gives you the flexibility to attend to other tasks while also ensuring that your inflatable gets thoroughly dried.

The key to the time-lapse method is planning.

Know how much time each method will take and what you will do in the intervening periods.

This method works well for large inflatables that require a long time to dry completely.

15) Heating Options

While heat can speed up the drying process, it’s essential to use it cautiously.

Too much heat can weaken the inflatable’s material or even cause it to melt.

If you’re using a heat source like a space heater, make sure it’s at a safe distance from the inflatable, and never leave it unattended.

If you’re using a hairdryer, use the cool setting and keep the dryer at least a foot away from the inflatable to prevent damage.

Heating options should be used as a last resort and always in conjunction with other drying methods for safety reasons.

16) Vacuum Method

A wet-dry vacuum can be a quick and effective way to remove water from your inflatables.

Make sure to use the appropriate attachment and set the vacuum to “wet mode” if it has this option.

Run the vacuum over the inflatable, focusing on the areas where water tends to accumulate.

This method is especially useful for large, intricate inflatables like bouncy castles or obstacle courses. After vacuuming, make sure to use another drying method to remove any remaining moisture.

17) Absorbent Material Technique

You can also use absorbent materials like sponges, chamois, or even diapers to soak up water from your inflatables.

Place the absorbent material on the wet areas and press down to help it soak up the moisture.

This method is particularly useful for hard-to-reach areas like seams, folds, or internal compartments.

Once the material has absorbed as much water as it can, remove it and use another drying method to finish the job.

18) Spot Drying

Sometimes, specific areas of the inflatable take longer to dry due to their design or material.

Spot drying involves focusing on these areas specifically. Use a towel, sponge, or even a hairdryer on a cool setting to dry these areas more quickly.

Make sure to check the inflatable thoroughly for any spots that might still be wet.

Pay close attention to seams, folds, and any areas where water could be trapped.

Spot drying ensures that your inflatable is dry all over, preventing mold and mildew.

19) The Clothesline Method

For smaller inflatables like pool toys, arm floaties, or swim rings, the clothesline method can be quite effective.

Hang your inflatable on a clothesline using sturdy clothespins.

Make sure the inflatable is hung in such a way that water can drain off easily.

The clothesline method works best on a sunny, windy day when the inflatable can benefit from both sun and wind exposure.

Flip the inflatable over after a couple of hours to ensure that both sides get dried evenly.

20) The “Rice Method”

If you’re looking for a creative yet effective way to dry out smaller inflatables like pool toys, arm floaties, or small inflatable ornaments, consider the “Rice Method.”

This method utilizes the moisture-absorbing properties of rice to help expedite the drying process of your inflatable items.

  • Rice Bag Preparation: Fill a large, breathable bag or a container with uncooked rice. Make sure the bag or container is large enough to fit the inflatable you want to dry.
  • Insert the Inflatable: Partially deflate the inflatable and place it into the bag or container with rice.
  • Time: Leave the inflatable in the rice for a few hours, or even overnight, to ensure that the rice has enough time to absorb the moisture.
  • Check: After the recommended time, check the inflatable to ensure it is fully dry.

Check out this video about how to dry out inflatables:

YouTube Video by Tent and Table – How to Dry Out Inflatables

How to Dry Out Inflatable Hot Tubs

Inflatable hot tubs are great for relaxation but require careful maintenance to ensure their durability.

The most important part of maintaining an inflatable hot tub is ensuring it is dry before storing it away.

  • Use a Towel or Sponge: After draining all the water from the hot tub, use a towel or sponge to wipe down the inner surfaces. Ensure you reach every corner and crevice.
  • Air Dry: Open all the valves and let the hot tub air dry. You can speed up the process by using an air blower or a fan to circulate the air.
  • Spot Drying: Check for any areas that are still damp. Use a hairdryer on the cool setting to dry these specific areas.

Pro Tips:

  • Always ensure the heating element and pump are completely dry to prevent electrical issues.
  • Store the hot tub in a dry place to avoid mold and mildew formation.

How to Dry Out Inflatable Kayaks

For those who love water sports, an inflatable kayak is a must-have.

However, these kayaks can retain water if not properly dried, leading to mildew and unpleasant odors.

  • Drain Water: Tip the kayak to remove as much water as possible.
  • Use a Towel: Wipe down the inside of the kayak.
  • Air Dry: Leave the kayak inflated and let it air dry in a sunny location.

Pro Tips:

  • Rotate the kayak every few hours for even drying.
  • Remember to check and dry the storage compartments as well.

How to Dry Out Inflatable Ornaments

Inflatable ornaments add a magical touch to holiday celebrations but can become breeding grounds for mildew if not dried properly.

  • Deflate Partially: Let some air out but not entirely. A partially deflated ornament is easier to clean and dry.
  • Wipe with Towel: Use a clean towel to wipe down the surface.
  • Air Dry: Hang the ornament in an area with good air circulation, either indoors or outdoors.

Pro Tips:

  • Always ensure the ornaments are completely dry before storing them in their original packaging.
  • Consider using a desiccant pack when storing to keep moisture at bay.

How to Dry Out Inflatable Waterslides

Inflatable waterslides are a hit at parties but require meticulous care to ensure they last for seasons to come.

  • Drain the Water: Make sure all the water from the slide and the pool area is drained.
  • Use Towels and Sponges: Wipe down all areas of the waterslide, including the sides and underneath.
  • Air Dry: Inflate the slide and allow it to air dry in the sun.

Pro Tips:

  • Use fans to circulate air and speed up the drying process.
  • Check the seams and folds for trapped water and dry them using a hairdryer on a cool setting.

How to Dry Out Inflatable Pools

Summer fun isn’t complete without inflatable pools. Proper drying is crucial to keep them in top condition.

  • Drain and Rinse: Drain the pool and rinse it with clean water to remove chlorine or salts.
  • Towel Dry: Wipe the pool’s surface with a towel.
  • Sun Dry: Lay the pool flat on a clean surface and let it dry in the sun.

Pro Tips:

  • Make sure to dry both the inside and the outside of the pool.
  • Keep the pool in a location that’s both cool and dry to avoid mildew.

How to Dry Out Inflatable Bouncy Houses

Bouncy houses are a favorite among kids but can be a challenge to dry.

  • Let Out All the Water: Make sure all water is drained from the interior and any attached pools or slides.
  • Air Blow: Use the blower that comes with the bouncy house to circulate air and facilitate drying.
  • Spot Dry: Use towels to dry any remaining damp spots.

Pro Tips:

  • Clean the blower before using it for drying.
  • Check the mesh and net areas, as these often take longer to dry.

Materials and Tools to Dry Out Inflatables

Proper drying of your inflatables is essential for their longevity and safety.

Having the right materials and tools on hand can make this process much more efficient and effective.

Here’s what you might need:

  • Towels: Thick, absorbent towels are essential for wiping down the surfaces of your inflatable. Choose towels that can absorb a lot of water quickly.
  • Sponges: Great for those hard-to-reach corners and crevices. A sponge can soak up water in areas where a towel might not be effective.
  • Air Blowers: Some larger inflatables like bouncy houses come with their own blowers. These can be utilized to circulate air and speed up the drying process.
  • Fans: Household fans can be extremely useful for indoor drying or to supplement natural air drying. They’re excellent for circulating air around the inflatable.
  • Wet-dry vacuum: A wet-dry vacuum can quickly remove puddles of water or damp patches. It’s especially useful for large or intricate inflatables. I really like the Dewalt Max Vacuum.
  • Hair Dryer: When using a hair dryer or heat gun, always use the cool setting to prevent damaging the material of the inflatable
  • Clothesline and pins: Useful for hanging smaller inflatables to air dry. Make sure the clothespins are sturdy enough to hold the inflatable securely.
  • Breathable Storage Bags: Once the inflatables are dry, store them in breathable bags to prevent moisture buildup.
  • Talcum Powder: Useful for absorbing any remaining moisture and prevents the material from sticking together.

Storing Dry Inflatables

Once your inflatable is thoroughly dry, storing it properly is crucial for maintaining its longevity.

Fold it carefully, avoiding any sharp bends or creases that could weaken the material over time. Keep it in a location that is both cool and dry, avoiding exposure to direct sun or sources of heat.

Use storage bags that are made of breathable material to prevent any moisture from getting trapped.

Before storing, you can also sprinkle some talcum powder on the inflatable to absorb any remaining moisture and prevent sticking.

Final Thoughts: How to Dry Out Inflatables

You are now armed with everything you need to know about drying out your inflatables.

For more information about inflatables, check out some of the other articles on our site. I think you’ll enjoy the ones I’ve listed below.

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