How to Keep Your CPAP Machine Clean and Sanitary

by Medical XPress

CPAP machine and headgear beside bedAs a medical device that is placed over your nose, and possibly your mouth as well, it is extremely important that your CPAP machine is kept clean and sanitary. If you’re a new CPAP machine owner, you might be a little uncertain on how exactly to keep your machine clean, and prevent the growth of any bacteria inside the tubing and other interior parts of your machine. Keep reading to get some tips on cleaning your CPAP machine to ensure its proper function and protect your own health.

Cleaning the Mask Daily

You should be wiping down the mask portion of your CPAP machine (and any other parts that touch your skin) every day. These parts of your machine will accumulate facial oils, sweat, and dead skin cells during the night, which can affect the quality of the seal between your face and the mask.

To clean your mask, you can use soft cloth that has been dampened in warm water and mild detergent. Or, if you don’t care to mix the water and detergent on a daily basis, you can utilize pre-moistened wipes that are specifically designed for wiping down CPAP masks. Please don’t utilize cleaning wipes with strong cleaners on them, as these can damage the plastic or irritate your skin with the chemicals they leave behind. Once you’ve wiped down the mask with your damp towel or CPAP mask wipes, allow it to air dry.

Cleaning the Humidifier

Some types of CPAP machines have an attached humidifier to moisten the air that you breathe through it. If you have such a model, you should empty any water that is left in it every morning, instead of letting it sit all day. Refill the modifier with fresh, distilled water immediately before bed. Remember to only use distilled water to prevent mineral buildup that can damage your machine.

This part should also receive a weekly cleaning. After emptying it of any water left from the night before, wash it with warm, soapy water. Rinse it extremely well (you don’t want to be inhaling soap residue later), and drain it completely. Allow it to air dry before putting it back on the CPAP unit.

Additionally, you should disinfect the humidifier on your CPAP machine every other week. You can do this by soaking it in a solution that is five parts water and one part vinegar. Allow it to soak for 30 minutes, then rinse and place it in the top rack of your dishwasher and run it through a regular cycle.

Cleaning the Tubing

You should clean the tubing of your CPAP machine once a week to remove dust and germs, and to prevent the growth of bacteria. Fill your bathroom sink with warm water and add a few drops of mild, ammonia-free dish soap. Swirl the tubing around in the soapy water for about five minutes. This is also a good time to give your mask and headgear a more thorough cleaning than the daily wipe down, so be sure to wash them in the sink as well.

Rinse all parts thoroughly, and allow them to air dry throughout the day. While the mask and headgear can be laid out on a towel on your counter, you should hang the tubing over a shower rod or on a towel rack to ensure that any water in it can drain out completely.

Cleaning the Machine

The exterior of your CPAP machine should also be wiped down once a week. This will remove any dust that has settled onto it, and prevent that dust from getting inside the machine and impacting its performance. Wipe the exterior of the machine off with a slightly damp towel. Make sure the towel is not too wet, as any moisture left atop the CPAP machine can get inside of it.

Cleaning the Filter

While performing your weekly cleaning, don’t forget to clean the CPAP’s filter. Remove it from the machine and rinse it under warm tap water. Squeeze it under the water several times to ensure there is no dust left in it. Then, squeeze it out and blot it on a towel before allowing it to dry.

If your machine has a white filter, don’t wash this; these filters are disposable, and they need to be replaced about once a month. You can check your filter every week, however, to ensure that it is clean enough to continue using. Much like checking your home’s A/C filters, if the white filter in your CPAP machine appears dirty, it needs to be replaced, even if it hasn’t been a full month.

With proper cleaning and maintenance, your CPAP machine will maintain more efficient performance and will last much longer. If you need CPAP mask wipes, replacement white filters, or other supplies for your CPAP machine, call or stop by Medical Xpress today.