How to Clean CPAP Equipment

Introduction: How to Clean CPAP Equipment

About: Hello, my name is Kathryn and I'm qualified Sleep Specialist in Oklahoma Sleep Disorders Center.

Cleaning your CPAP machine is one of the most important ways to maintain and care for your CPAP equipment. The reason why it's important to keep your CPAP equipment clean is to avoid germs and contamination in the headgear. Cleaning your mask or machine will also extend the life of the equipment and keep everything in good working order. Fortunately, cleaning a CPAP is relatively easy. There is no daily cleaning required for the CPAP machine itself. Most of the daily and weekly cleaning involves the silicone, plastic and cloth parts that come in contact with your face.

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Step 1: Soap to Clean CPAP Equipment

Since most masks are made out of silicone, rubber or other synthetic products, you should very with your CPAP manufacturer to see what type of soap is suggested. It is suggested to use mild, hypoallergenic soap to clean your CPAP equipment. You can also try using dish detergents but antibacterial soap is usually not recommended. Remember that allergens and perfumes that are sometimes present in certain soaps can cause skin irritation. That is why a mild, unscented hypoallergenic soap is recommended for cleaning your CPAP. The warm water, gentle soap and the action of washing should be enough to remove dirt, germs and other debris.

Step 2: Cleaning the CPAP Headgear

The CPAP headgear consists of the CPAP mask, the straps, tubing and the chinstrap, if you have one. The ideal way to clean your headgear is to wash by hand and allow the pieces to air dry. Your CPAP headgear can be washed on a daily basis. However, most people clean the headgear once a week. But if you happen to have very oily skin or hair, then you may wish to wash the headgear on a daily basis. Warm water should be used to clean the headgear.

Step 3: Cleaning the CPAP Mask

Because the CPAP mask is in constant contact with your face, it has to be cleaned often. Dirt and oils from your face can build up on the CPAP mask and, over time this will cause irritation or a severe reaction. That is why it is recommended to wash the CPAP mask daily. Most CPAP users wash their mask in the morning and hanging out to dry all day long so that it is fresh and ready to go at night. It is only the CPAP mask that needs to be washed daily. You can wash the rest of the headgear and chinstrap once a week to keep them clean as well. You should always wash the headgear by hand and let it air dry. The type of soap to use depends on the material of your mask. Just like CPAP masks, CPAP nasal pillows should be cleaned

Step 4: Clean the CPAP Tube

Germs on the CPAP mask work in the CPAP tubing can make you sick. Contaminations such as dirt and oils can accumulate inside the tubing and block the proper functioning of the equipment.

Step 5: Clean the CPAP Machine

In order to properly clean your CPAP machine and carrying cases, you should wipe it down with a damp cloth. It is recommended to do so once a week for the machine. You can clean it whenever you dust, if you like. The carrying cases are usually only used when travelling. You would care for them as you would for any other piece of luggage.

Step 6: Cleaning the CPAP Humidifier

The maintenance of CPAP humidifiers is very important. Bacteria can quickly build up in the water.The water should be changed on a daily basis. In dusty environments, it may be necessary to clean the water tank of your CPAP Machine with warm soapy water on a daily basis, too. Normally, a once weekly cleaning with soap and water is acceptable. A vinegar and water solution should be used to disinfect the water tank on a weekly basis. The procedure is to clean with warm soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and fill with one part vinegar to 3-5 parts water. Allow the vinegar and water solution to stand for at least 30 minutes. Rinse the tank again and allow it to air dry. You can place it in your dish rack or on the top rack of your dishwasher.

Step 7: Cleaning the CPAP Filter

The filter at the back of the machine should be washed with plain tap water every week. Hold the filter under running water and squeeze. This should remove any dust that has accumulated. You can blot the filter with a clean towel to remove most of the moisture or allow it to dry for a bit in your dish rack. Once most of the moisture has evaporated, you can put it back in the machine. The filter at the back of the device should be replaced at least once a year.

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    2 years ago

    A few minor corrections:

    1) "rubber"--latex is no longer used on cpap masks.

    3) Daily cleaning with soap and water has been observed to shorten the life of silicone parts. Many prefer unscented baby wipes, which can also be used to clean the face before masking up, to improve the seal.

    4) tube cleaning is optional, as airflow is ONE WAY only.

    6) humidifier--using only distilled water can reduce the need for frequent cleaning.

    7) only certain cpaps use washable filters, most are disposable, and need to be replaced MONTHLY to avoid damage to the unit-- (Medicare covers 2 filters a month-for good reason!) Check the disposable filter weekly; if it looks grubby, replace it. Hypoallergenic filters can help with allergies.

    Thank you for trying, but manufacturer information is not always best practice.