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Still Cleaning CPAP with Hydrogen Peroxide? It’s Time to Reconsider.

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With rising awareness about sleep apnea and its treatments, myths surrounding the disorder are also rising. It can be challenging to find sound guidance. There is a lot of contradictory information out there, especially when it comes to cleaning CPAP machines.

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One of the popular topics of debate among CPAP users is whether cleaning CPAP with hydrogen peroxide is a good idea or not. Different sources might give you different opinions and advice, but the best thing you can do is always follow the advice of a doctor or a CPAP expert. When it comes to this topic, they are not on board with the idea of cleaning your CPAP with hydrogen peroxide. Before discussing the risks or benefits of cleaning CPAP with hydrogen peroxide, let’s learn a little more about this chemical.

Understanding hydrogen peroxide.

Long before cleaning CPAP with hydrogen peroxide became a hot topic of debate, the chemical was and still is commonly found in homes, hospitals, and laboratories. This colorless liquid with a faintly sharp odor has been widely used for its disinfectant properties. Scientifically, hydrogen peroxide is a molecule made up of two oxygen and two hydrogen atoms. The oxygen atoms in the molecule have a single bond, called the peroxide bond, which lends this chemical its dominant and unstable chemistry.

Because of its powerful oxidizing capabilities, it has long been a popular cleansing and bleaching agent. In its purest form, hydrogen peroxide is a little more viscous than water. In one form or another, this chemical is used in everything from simple household cleaning tasks to a propellent in rocket science.

Hazards of hydrogen peroxide.

Hydrogen peroxide is classified as “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) for humans at low doses by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The classification comes with a warning that the chemical can still cause irritation, burning, and blistering on your skin. Internet chatrooms and clickbait articles might try to open your mind about the versatile uses of hydrogen peroxide. They may be right when they are talking about the cleaning and bleaching abilities of hydrogen peroxide. But ingesting or breathing in this chemical in any concentration, however low, can be quite hazardous.

There are numerous risks that hydrogen peroxide can pose to your health. You should keep the chemical away from your eyes while cleaning, as it can cause burning and abrasion of your cornea if it accidentally splashes into your eyes. Inhalation of hydrogen peroxide can cause irritation and burning of your breathing passageways. It could also lead to tightness in your chest and shortness of breath.

If you ingest hydrogen peroxide in large quantities, it can cause vomiting, inflammation, or even organ damage.

Hydrogen peroxide has been historically used as a popular antiseptic for injuries and wounds. However, medical experts are beginning to discover the long-term harmful effects of the chemical. It can kill the healthy cells around the wound and cause redness, irritation, and slow the healing time. In higher concentrations, the chemical can cause severe damage and scarring to your skin. Therefore, it is not a good idea to use it for lightening your hair or skin, treating acne, or other skin conditions.

Food grade hydrogen peroxide is a popular treatment for conditions like cancer, lupus, diabetes, etc., but it is not advisable. If you are suffering from any of these conditions, the chances are high that using hydrogen peroxide will cause more harm than good. In a 10-year study period from 2001-2011, two hundred ninety-four people who had suffered poisoning by drinking hydrogen peroxide were analyzed. Among the severe side effects recorded, there was evidence of embolic events in the patients, such as seizure, altered mental status, respiratory distress, pulmonary embolism, and stroke.

Cleaning CPAP with hydrogen peroxide.

Having discussed the harmful effects of hydrogen peroxide, you can see how cleaning CPAP with hydrogen peroxide is not a good idea. Again, the internet is full of hydrogen peroxide devotees who will preach its benefits all day long. They will weigh in on the concepts of carefully calibrated concentrations of the chemical that are supposed to be great for your health. However, you should think critically before accepting these claims.

The bottom line about the debate on hydrogen peroxide’s real utility is that it is a great household cleaning agent. It is not safe for any personal use, and definitely not safe for direct contact in high concentration. Therefore, cleaning CPAP with hydrogen peroxide is not recommended.

Cleaning your CPAP with hydrogen peroxide can leave traces of the chemical in the corners of your CPAP mask or hose. If you then use your CPAP with the residue still on it, the fumes may harm your lungs. Exposure to high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide for long periods can lead to significant damage to your respiratory system. This exposure can prove fatal if continued.

Cleaning your CPAP with hydrogen peroxide is not just bad for your own health but that of your device’s too. If you are cleaning CPAP with hydrogen peroxide for an extended period, it may damage your device because of its corrosive nature. Similarly, using bleach [link to “Can you use bleach to clean your CPAP machine?” blog] to clean your CPAP device carries with it many risks, as does excessive dependence on cleaning wipes.

If you’re having challenges cleaning your CPAP machine, there are a lot of great CPAP cleaners available on the market that you can choose from like Sleep8, VirtuCLEAN 2.0 , and more. You can also manually clean your CPAP machine at home without the risks of any chemicals.

Still have questions? Contact your trusted CPAP expert with any CPAP device problems, questions, and concerns. We are here to help!

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