You’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, received your CPAP prescription, obtained the device, and begun your CPAP therapy. What now?To keep getting the health and quality of life benefits that CPAP therapy offers, you’ll want to treat your machine well.You will need to pay close attention to the health and daily hygiene of your CPAP machine. There are many innovative, medically-approved CPAP cleaning devices available on the market for this task. Still, it is always a wise move to maintain a stock of household CPAP cleaning supplies in the house for emergencies.
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Why do you need to clean your CPAP regularly?
Before we look at the essential CPAP cleaning supplies to keep on hand, let’s understand why you need to maintain a diligent cleaning routine for your CPAP machine in the first place. Long-term daily usage of any piece of medical equipment requires a critical care and hygiene routine for the safety of the device as well as the patient.
For a CPAP device, daily usage without regular cleaning can lead to heavy build-ups of bacteria, mold, and other microbial lifeforms. A typical sign of this problem would be a smelly CPAP machine. This microbial growth is a result of the presence of air and moisture inside the machine. This environment facilitates their growth and can, over time, cause it to spread throughout the machine’s parts. Using an unclean CPAP device can lead to various serious allergic reactions such as sneezing, irritations of the eyes, headaches, throat, and nose irritation. Dirty filters can cause dust and other small fragments to gather inside the machine, also leading to allergies, irritations, and even severe respiratory infections.
Improper cleaning will also negatively impact your CPAP machine’s function. Dirty filters can lead to poor performance and seals can become damaged due to lack of maintenance. All in all, insufficient care causes your machine to degrade over time and will cost you a significant sum of money to fix or replace.
What CPAP cleaning supplies you should keep in your house?
Now let’s look at the basic list of CPAP cleaning supplies. Keeping these on hand is essential if you’re cleaning manually. It is also a good idea to keep them stocked in case you cannot use your automatic cleaner.
Water is the most basic component of CPAP cleaning, but be sure it is not hard water. Using hard water repeatedly may result in salt accumulation inside the machine’s components. You can use distilled water for this purpose. Using slightly warm water to mix with soaps or vinegar to make a solution is also acceptable. You can then use the solution to soak and gently wash the various parts of your CPAP machine.
2. Soft soaps
Always include the mildest soaps [link to the blog “Best Soap for Cleaning CPAP Machines and Their Parts”] available in your stock of CPAP cleaning supplies. Strong detergents and hard soaps that have ammonia are not to be used as they can damage the device and be harmful to you. Baby soaps, soft hand-washes, and mild shampoos work well for manual cleaning. Ensure that the soap you choose is soft enough to be gentle on sensitive skin but strong enough to remove any build-up from the CPAP machine. It should be free of any scents or foaming agents as well.
For cleaning your hose and mask, vinegar can also be used. A common substance available in every household, vinegar can be a great asset as a part of your CPAP cleaning supplies kit. It can help eliminate the toughest of dirt and microbial growth in the tightest corners of your CPAP machine. Create a solution of 2 parts vinegar to 3 parts water and soak your mask and hose in it for two hours before washing it with soapy water. Remember to rinse the machine thoroughly and let it dry naturally afterward.
4. Soft-bristled brushes
A great tool that should be included with your CPAP cleaning kit is a small, soft-bristled brush. You can either use a baby bottle brush or search online for a brush specifically designed for cleaning CPAP machines. Cleansing the interior of your machine’s tubing gently with the brush can prevent any mold from growing. Use caution, as too much pressure can cut through the delicate material of the tubing.
When you are traveling or are on a hectic schedule, wipes specially designed for cleaning CPAP masks can be handy. They can also be a convenient addition to your collection of CPAP cleaning supplies at home. An extra layer of cleaning is never a bad idea. However, it is not advisable to rely on wipes for the complete cleaning of your CPAP machine. They cannot clean inside the hose and have a chance of becoming a medium for transferring microbes.
6. Clean Towels
Fresh, clean towels are an essential part of your CPAP cleaning supplies. You can spread them on a flat tabletop to hold the machine’s dissembled components as they dry. You can also use them to gently pat dry your CPAP components like mask, filter, and tubing before leaving them to air dry.
7. Air Dryer
Air dryers are also recommended as part of your CPAP cleaning supplies. You can use air dryers to dry out all the components of your CPAP machine except the tubing. You should shake the water gently out of the tubing and hang them for drying. Before you air-dry any other components, shake the water out of them and lay them on a clean towel.
8. Sink and counter
While not necessarily a part of your CPAP cleaning supplies collection, a clean sink and counter are necessary for manually cleaning your device. Ensure that you have a functioning and clean sink (or tub) to soak, clean, and rinse the CPAP machine components. Similarly, a squeaky-clean table-top or counter is a must for the process. You can cover it with clean towels as an extra precaution to avoid contaminating your machine.
9. CPAP disinfectant sprays
An affordable addition to your cleaning supplies set is a CPAP disinfectant spray. They kill 99.9% of germs, molds, and fungus. They do not leave behind any chemical residue and are fragrance-free. When disinfecting, but sure to never use bleach to clean your CPAP machine. [link to the blog “Can You Use Bleach to Clean Your CPAP Machine?”] It is harmful to you and your device.
Are these CPAP cleaning supplies enough?
Cleaning CPAP machines can be a tedious task. Doing it on a daily basis may not be feasible, depending on your schedule. Also, it’s a challenge to clean the machine with the same efficiency every time. There is always a chance that you might harm the device or its components while cleaning, or you may accidentally use a substance that is too harsh for it.
This is why many doctors and CPAP experts recommend that automatic cleaners be used for the regular cleaning of CPAP machines. They are thorough, clean consistently, and are easy to use. There are various kinds of CPAP cleaners available that will keep your machine sanitized and your life on schedule.