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Caring for Your CPAP Equipment: A Guide to CPAP Cleaning

If you use a CPAP machine, it’s important to care for your CPAP equipment properly so it continues working as it should.

A staggering 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea.

The majority of these cases remain untreated, leading to high blood pressure, strokes, and chronic heart failure.

Once diagnosed, your health provider might require that you start using specialized medical equipment known as a CPAP (Continues Positive Airway Pressure).

As it often happens, equipment maintenance tends to take a back seat until you start running into problems with it.

However, if you are going to use a CPAP machine, you must keep it clean at all times. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about CPAP cleaning.

How to Clean the CPAP Machine

This gadget is made up of several different parts.  These include the mask, tubing, headgear, and the humidifier water chamber.

With a CPAP cleaner, cleaning your equipment will take little time and effort because most of these machines are automated.

If you have not acquired the CPAP cleaner yet, you will require a basin (specifically for this), a towel, soft cloth, warm water, and a dishcloth.

We advise that you disassemble the parts for a thorough clean. Clean each piece as discussed below:

The Humidifier

Earlier versions of the CPAP did not have a humidifier. Users woke up with a dry mouth as a result.

Luckily, the gadgets in the market today have addressed this.

Aside from preventing morning dry mouth, the heated humidifier system protects your nasal passages from drying out, becoming irritated and/or inflamed.

This component requires a daily clean to prevent calcification and the growth of bacteria.

The Process:

  • Detach the chamber from the humidifier
  • Open it and wash it with warm soapy water
  • Rinse out the soap and place it on a dishcloth to dry in an airy place
  • Once a week, soak the chamber in a vinegar solution for 15-20 minutes before rinsing and drying
  • Only wash it in the dishwasher if the manual allows it
  • Replace this part every six months.

The Filters

The filters draw air from the room and compress it to your pressure settings. Most gadgets have a white disposable filter, and a grey non-disposable one as well.

Cleaning Regimen:

  • If your machine has the gray non-disposable filter, clean it weekly or as often as it collects debris
  • Replace the disposable white filters monthly and non-disposable ones every six months or as needed

The Mask

CPAP masks are mostly made of silicone.

Silicone is gentle, comfortable, and unlikely to irritate the user. However, it requires special care to remain functional over time.

Mask cleaning tips:

  • Wash it each day with warm soapy water or CPAP detergent or CPAP wipe
  • Rinse out and place on a towel to air dry
  • Always keep the mask away from the sunlight to prevent the silicone from getting damaged
  • Wash the chin straps and headgear in warm soapy water before air-drying
  • Wash the tubing once a week with warm soapy water as well
  • Moisturizing oils can degrade silicone. Ensure your face is clean and oil-less when going to bed
  • Once a week, soak the mask in a vinegar solution for 15-20 minutes
  • On matters replacement, the recommendation is to get a new one every 3 to 6 months

The Core Machine

This is in reference to the central part of the machine that is left once you disassemble the removable bits and pieces.

To clean this part:

  • Ensure it is unplugged
  • Use a damp, not wet towel to wipe down its surface

If you are suffering from a URTI, you might want to increase the frequency of the washes.

Also, your manufacturer might have additional cleaning tips for the specific brand you are using. Ensure that you read the manual keenly.

Why Is Proper CPAP Cleaning Important?

Simply put, you are breathing the air that comes directly through your CPAP machine. Yes, the air is humidified and filtered, but it still helps to keep it as clean as you possibly can.

If you do not, you expose your machine-and most importantly- yourself to a host of issues. Some of these include mold and bacteria, allergies and sinus infections, and foul odor.

This aside, if this equipment is not cleaned correctly, the accumulation of dirt and debris can cause it to malfunction or totally break down.

This is why a CPAP cleaner is recommended to ensure that you are able to give your equipment a thorough clean.

Improper care can also invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty.

How to Make the Most of Your Machine: Quick Tips

Aside from abiding by a strict cleaning regimen, there are additional ways in which you can ensure you get the most out of your CPAP.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Try several brands and fits to get one that is right for you.
  2. Wear it every day to get accustomed to using it faster.
  3. Scrutinize the gadgets every few months to ensure there is no wear and tear.
  4. Take it to a professional every two years to have the pressure tested. Inadequate pressure slows down your therapy
  5. Listen to your machine, especially after cleaning and note any atypical sounds. If it produces the same noise after dismantling and reassembling, consider having it checked out.
  6. Never use bleach on your equipment, warm water with mild soap or vinegar will do. Invest in a CPAP cleaner as it does not use water or chemicals to clean.
  7. Avoid placing your equipment under direct sunlight when drying or in storage.
  8. Use distilled water to prevent calcification.
  9. Take note of how well the CPAP aides your condition. If you start losing the benefits it should offer, you certainly should discuss with your doctor.
  10. Keep track of your CPAP replacement schedule. If the parts are performing below par, you will not get the best from your therapy.

Using a CPAP?

Depending on how old you are at the time a doctor prescribes a CPAP mask to you, the feeling of wearing a gadget to bed will be foreign. This is normal.

Once you get used to the feeling, it will be just a matter of time before you start reaping the full benefits of this therapy.

Are you looking for the right CPAP cleaner?

We at CleanCpap.net believe that your only role should be focusing on feeling better.

For this reason, we have designed a variety of easy to use products for CPAP cleaning. Browse our site and see which products will best support your journey to recovery.