How to Clean a CPAP Machine? Tips and Precautions Update 10/2022

Sleep apnea, a serious breathing problem, is commonly treated with a CPAP machine, which provides continuous positive airway pressure. CPAP devices are an effective treatment for sleep apnea, but they do necessitate regular cleaning and maintenance.

The cleanliness of the mask, tubing, and other components might be a severe health problem because they are breathed in and deliver air throughout the night. Daily cleaning ensures that your CPAP treatment improves your health rather than worsens your symptoms by removing harmful germs, mold, dust, and debris. While everyday cleaning may seem like a daunting task, it is actually a simple process that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine.

Why to Clean Your CPAP?

Keeping the CPAP machine clean should be the first priority. As you inhale, you’re taking in the machine’s purified air directly. As far as possible, the air should be kept clean and humidified.
"How do I clean my CPAP?"

The following threats and issues can be avoided with regular cleaning:

  • Bacteria exposure.
  • Mold exposure.
  • Symptoms of an allergy attack.
  • Sinus infections and pneumonia may be more likely.
  • Odorous or stale stench.
  • Within the machinery, there is mineralization.
  • Premature failure of the apparatus.
  • Expelling the warranty on the device.

What’s the best way to clean if it’s so important? Fortunately, it’s a simple process that doesn’t cost a lot of money.

How Often to Clean Your CPAP?

Routine cleaning of your equipment may be recommended by your equipment provider or a sleep medicine physician. Durable medical equipment vendors and manufacturers frequently recommend that patients clean their masks, tubing, and water chambers on a daily basis. 2 This may appear to be overkill. Fortunately, there is a very little chance of infection or exposure to mold.

Equipment should be cleaned at least once a week for optimal hygiene.

This is a good time to sanitize the equipment if you have an upper respiratory infection. It’s also not a good idea to share the equipment with anyone else in case an infection is spread that way.

How to Clean a CPAP Machine?

If you use a CPAP machine, manufacturers and experts recommend that you clean its components at least once a week. Unclean CPAP machines have been linked to serious disease, and CPAP users who don’t clean their machine regularly may also experience congestion, coughing, and other respiratory symptoms.

Your CPAP machine’s lifespan may also be shortened if you don’t clean it on a regular basis. You can keep your CPAP machine in great condition by cleaning it on a daily or weekly basis, if you can’t commit to daily cleanings.

CPAP Cleaning Supplies

  • Unscented and moisturizing ingredient-free mild soap.
  • Vinegar that’s been diluted with water (if you use a humidifier tank).
  • Water that is safe to drink.
  • Any container that is large enough to store your hose or tubing is required.
  • Clean, non-abrasive towels are needed.

CPAP Cleaning Steps

Disassemble:

  • Always make sure your CPAP machine is unplugged from any power source before disassembling or cleaning any parts. Your CPAP machine’s manufacturer’s guide should include instructions for safe disassembly and cleaning if the battery is integrated.
  • Before cleaning, both the mask and the CPAP machine should be separated from the air hose and tubing. Set aside the water tank of your humidifier if you use one.
  • The headgear, cushion, and frame of most CPAP masks can be detached for simpler cleaning and drying.

Clean:

  • It is possible to clean the vast majority of tubing simply by soaking it in warm, soapy water. To ensure that the soapy water completely fills the tubing, make sure to immerse it for a sufficient amount of time.
  • As with tubing, some hoses can be washed in the same way. But when it comes to cleaning heated hoses and other electrically-powered hoses, extra care must be used. For more information on how to clean a heated hose, go to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Using a mild soap, wash each part of your face mask one at a time. Since oils from the face or hair can damage the material and attract germs, make sure the cushion and headpiece are oil-free before continuing.
  • Filling humidifier tanks with a solution of equal parts warm water and white vinegar is an easy way to keep them clean. While you clean the other parts of your CPAP, you can leave the tank to soak in vinegar.

Rinse and Air Dry: 

  • After washing CPAP components, they should be rinsed in cool, clean water. Prior to drying, make sure that all components are clear of soap residue, including any soap film that may have been left behind. When using thin tubing, this is especially crucial because it is very easy to notice soap bubbles trapped inside.
  • Set out your components on a soft, clean towel to air-dry after they have been cleansed and cleaned.
  • You can hang hoses and tubing from a shower rail or shower door to speed up drying if they don’t dry correctly on a towel.

Reassemble: 

  • When your mask and CPAP components are completely dry, you can reassemble them. This could take many hours, depending on the component and the local conditions.
  • The CPAP machine should be unplugged and outlets should be avoided during the reassembly process. Your mask and CPAP machine should be assembled in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Other Considerations

  • All night long, you use a CPAP machine to help you sleep better. When you’re sick, your CPAP machine becomes a breeding ground for microorganisms. Your sickness could be exacerbated or even reinfected as a result of this contamination. When you’re sick, it’s important to maintain your CPAP machine clean as if you were using a soiled tissue to filter your air.
  • The finest CPAP machines might be difficult for allergy sufferers, especially those with dust allergies. Even while selecting the proper settings and mask with your healthcare team is critical, cleaning your equipment everyday can make the process easier.
  • Filters in most CPAP devices need to be changed on a regular basis. Reusable filters should be washed every two weeks and replaced every three months, while disposable filters should be replaced every two weeks.
  • A good time to examine the condition of your CPAP components is when they are being cleaned. A new CPAP mask, for example, should be purchased every few months or so. In addition, you should replace any parts that show signs of wear and strain.

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting

If you have an upper respiratory infection or allergies, you should clean your supplies before each usage until your illness clears up. Otherwise, cleaning your supplies once a week is OK.
SoClean2 CPAP Cleaner Review: It Makes Sleep Apnea More Manageable

Vinegar can be used on a regular basis to lessen the threats posed by mold and fungus. A thorough cleaning will eradicate most germs from the environment.

Cpap users who don’t follow the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning schedule may want to investigate CPAP sanitizing machines in order to prevent hazardous bacteria and viruses from building up in the device between cleaning sessions.

You should still wash your CPAP machine and its parts on a regular basis to eliminate body oils, skin cells, and mineral buildup, even if you use a sanitizer.

CPAP Cleaning Hacks

It takes some time to clean your CPAP machine, despite the fact that it is incredibly advantageous. Fortunately, there are a few shortcuts that can help speed things up a little.

  • The Lumin CPAP cleaning removes 99.9% of germs and viruses in just five minutes, saving you valuable time.
  • RespiSoak, an alcohol-free cleaning solution that is safe for all of your CPAP equipment, can be used to clean your CPAP machine.
  • Use spray mask cleaner! CPAP tubing and other attachments, such as a mask, can be disinfected and deodorized with this portable device.
  • Get some CPAP cleaning wipes to easily disinfect your mask at any moment to remove dust, grease, bacteria, and so on and so on from the air. In addition to CPAP masks and tubing, wipes can be used on various CPAP components.
  • To limit the quantity of oils and dead skin cells that your CPAP mask comes into touch with, wash your face before using it.

What Happens if You Don’t Clean Your CPAP Regularly?

As humid and warm as CPAP machines might be, they’re a haven for mold, bacteria, viruses, and other potentially deadly microbes. In order to keep your CPAP machine clean, you need to clean it on a regular basis. If you don’t, you risk developing both acute and long-term respiratory illnesses.

Facial oils accumulate rapidly on the cushion and headgear of your mask, regardless of how well you maintain your personal hygiene. Acne and skin irritation can quickly develop around your mask if the oil it contains attracts debris and bacteria.

And last but not least, an unclean CPAP machine will last significantly less time than an uncluttered one. Mold and hazardous bacteria can also damage the hose or humidifier tank, leading to fractures or cloudiness, and weaken the materials in your mask.

CPAP Cleaner And Device Warnings?

The FDA has issued a warning against the use of at-home CPAP cleaners, citing potential health concerns. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), breathing in high concentrations of gases emitted by household cleaning solutions can raise one’s risk of developing a respiratory illness. There is additional evidence to suggest that UV light therapies may raise the risk of skin cancer, as well as burns and damage to the eyes.

As a result of incorrect cleaning or other environmental variables, Philips Respironics has also issued a recall on several of their medical devices. If you’re currently using a CPAP cleaner, talk to your doctor about whether or not it’s safe to continue.

How to Maintain Clean CPAP Equipment

By following a few basic maintenance instructions, you may extend the life of your equipment.

Avoid Harsh Detergents & Cleaning Processes

Don’t use any items that are too concentrated or harsh when cleaning. Avoid goods that have a strong aroma or perfume, as well. Dish soap, such as Dawn, is a good choice.

Dishwasher and washing machine use can damage the CPAP equipment and its components.

Refill with Distilled Water

Minerals in ordinary tap water can build up in plumbing over time. When refilling the humidifier tank, pure, distilled water is essential. If you use the tank at night, it’s a good idea to flush out the tank and refill it with distilled water each morning.

Wash and Replace Filters Regularly

Filters are used in several CPAP device models to cleanse the air. Find out how often these filters need to be cleaned and replaced by reading the instruction manual. They should be rinsed frequently, then blotted dry, and then allowed to air dry fully. As many as two replacement filters may be needed every month for some models.

Have It Serviced as Needed

Your CPAP device should be checked thoroughly by your equipment supplier if your sleep apnea symptoms worsen or if the CPAP is not working properly.

Replace Parts as Needed

CPAP parts are not built to last indefinitely. Replace the helmet, mask, and tube if you notice cracks or wear. In the absence of evident damage, most manufacturers recommend changing these parts every year.

Tips and Precautions

It’s critical that you keep your tools spotless. Never lose sight of the fact that you are inhaling whatever may be growing inside of you at the moment. Use these guidelines:

  • You should clean your equipment more frequently if you have recently been ill.
  • CPAP cleaning should always be done in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and medical and equipment providers’ advise.
  • Do not clean your equipment with anything other than mild soap and water. Respiratory irritation and illness are possible side effects. To avoid mineral buildup in the water chamber, only use distilled water in the humidifier.
  • Using a dishwasher or washing machine to clean your equipment could result in it being damaged.

Symptoms of sleep apnea may recur or your machine may not be working properly, so bring it to your equipment provider or sleep specialist for a checkup if you notice any changes.

​Do I Need to Use a CPAP Cleaner?

In spite of being widely publicized, it is not required to use any kind of cleaning device or sanitizer to keep your CPAP equipment in tip-top shape. It is claimed that the equipment is cleaned with ozone or UV light using these devices.

They can cost hundreds of dollars, but they don’t do anything more than follow the directions provided here in terms of improving safety or cleanliness. It’s almost impossible to get infected while using a CPAP machine.

Insurance does not cover CPAP cleaners and sanitizers.

There is a strange medical justification for a costly cleaning equipment after more than 35 years of CPAP use.
What to know before buying a CPAP cleaner

CPAP cleaning FAQs

The diagnosis of sleep apnea and the necessity of CPAP therapy are unaffected by the presence of a coronavirus. You should continue to use your CPAP machine because getting a good night’s sleep is good for your health. If you have been told that you have COVID-19, you must heed the advise of your physician.

Consult the American Thoracic Society’s daily mask cleaning recommendations if you’ve recently been diagnosed with COVID-19. Additional resources and information on the diagnosis of COVID-19 and the use of PAP treatment are included in their educational guide. Detailed instructions for cleaning your ResMed device and mask can be found in your user guide.

Using any of the products/solutions listed below to clean CPAP equipment is strongly discouraged, as the leftover vapors may be dangerous if inhaled.

  • perfumed oils or solutions based on essential oils (e.g. eucalyptus or essential oils).
  • Soaps with antibacterial properties.
  • Dishwasher Cleaner (even if they are mild).
  • Alcohol.
  • Bleach.
  • Aromatic goods (e.g. soaps with citrus).
  • Dryer or washing machine.

Using an ozone device for a lengthy period of time may eventually cause internal damage to a ResMed machine, resulting in an increase in motor noise. Damage to ResMed machines due to the use of ozone devices is not covered by the ResMed limited warranty.

Skin sensitivity and poor mask performance may result from using antibacterial soaps, among other things.

Cleaning CPAP equipment in a washing machine or dryer is likely to result in the need for a new device. In order to avoid damaging the material, do not use an iron to iron your headpiece.

Daily:

  • Face mask cushion.
  • Inflatable hoses for use with air.
  • Tub for humidification.

Weekly:

  • System for framing the masks.
  • Helmets with masks.

Can I Clean My CPAP With Vinegar?

In some cases, yes, but not in place of a good scrubbing with soap and water. Cleaning your CPAP equipment with vinegar is safe, but it won’t eliminate any residue. One part vinegar to three parts water is a good disinfectant solution for your mask and tubing once a month.

  • Soak each item for 30 minutes in the vinegar solution.
  • Rinse each item thoroughly and hang it up to dry entirely in the open air.
  • The vinegar and water solution should not be re-used. It should be thrown away after each usage.
  • Vinegar should never be used to clean fabric things like your headpiece or filter.

Can I Clean My CPAP With Hydrogen Peroxide?

Maybe. If the answer to this question is “maybe,” then it’s best to avoid using this strategy until additional research has been done on it.

For example, hydrogen peroxide can be used to sterilize materials such as cutting or stainless steel. However, how you utilize it is vital. 3 to 4% is the typical concentration sold in retailers. Using too much peroxide on your skin can result in severe burns. There are also concerns about it being hazardous at certain temperatures and when it comes into contact with a variety of different surfaces. The oxidation process it uses may potentially be dangerous.

When it comes to cleaning your CPAP, hydrogen peroxide should be avoided at all costs.

Can I Clean My CPAP With Bleach?

Please, do not even contemplate it! Even if you dilute bleach with water, using it to clean your CPAP machine could be dangerous to your health. Even after thorough rinsing, the fumes may remain on your gear and irritate your lungs. Bleach can burn and corrode your supplies if it comes into contact with your skin.

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