You have been diagnosed with sleep apnea? Your doctor prescribed you a CPAP machine.
And a CPAP machine becomes your essential fixture for everyday life.
You really are enjoying a super sound night’s sleep. Your lots of issues like sleep deprivation, morning headache, and fatigue are fixed now.
Yes, a CPAP machine is a medical device, that requires proper maintenance, and if not cleaned and maintained regularly not only does it affects the quality of your breathing but can make you fall sick and get infections.
The most important parts that require special attention when cleaning is the tank, and the mask.
The tank that holds the water, if not cleaned and maintained can have mold growing inside. So, with mold grown inside the water container, indirectly you will be breathing germs.
Before we get into cleaning the tank of the CPAP machine and other parts. We find it important to help you learn your machine so that it becomes easier for you to not only clean it but maintain it ideally.
How to clean a CPAP water tank?
Cleaning a CPAP tank or reservoir is more than just simple. Get a clean tub, fill it with clean water, and put some mild soap in it, with no harsh chemicals or even regular soap.
Submerge the water reservoir and other washable equipment and components in the soapy water.
Let the equipment be submerged in the water for at least 30-minutes. Wipe them clean using a fresh towel and hang them on air dry.
Let me elaborate on every step of cleaning a CPAP machine reservoir in more detail.
Step #1: First thing first, it is the manufacturers who know what the best way to clean the CPAP machine is and how to clean it. So follow the instructions provided by the manufacturers as well as your doctor. Before you clean your CPAP machine read through the user manual.
Step #2: If the regular water in your area is contaminated, and can’t be used for regular cleaning or bathing. You should clean the water reservoir using distilled water, as well as fill the tank regularly for misting with distilled water too. Distilled water causes fewer mineral deposits, and you will get fewer issues in long term.
Step #3: The cleaning should be done at least once a week. And don’t let water inside the tank if you don’t use it, in the morning you should empty or drain the tank.
Step #4: While cleaning let the equipment or tools be submerged in the soapy water for 30-minutes at least. If possible use hot water, it kills germs and makes it easier to remove the contaminations.
Step #5: If due to lack of cleaning or maintenance, there is grown-up mold inside the tank. Use tap water first to clean the chamber thoroughly. Then take hot water, put some vinegar inside, and mild soap, clean it once with the solution, rinse the tank thoroughly and then fill it up with the distilled water for misting.
Step #6: If the mold is still there, or the smell does not vanish even after you use the vinegar, you can buy a special cleaning solution for the CPAP water container. Although some manufacturers recommend using the cleaning solution even for regular cleaning, in my view, distilled water with mild soap is more than enough.
Don’t commit these mistakes while cleaning the CPAP Tank
- You may clean the CPAP water container using tap water, but to run the humidifier never use tap water, only fill it up with distilled water.
- Don’t ever clean any equipment of the CPAP machine, hose, or any tube in a dishwasher safe, the tank too is included. Manufacturers, as well as experts, don’t advise this, it can damage your CPAP machines and their components very badly.
- Some people due to the smell of stored water in the container, and due to not cleaning it for a long time, use some scented soaps, perfumes, and many other scented cleaning agents. Don’t use that, the fragrance can irritate your lungs and can easily cause allergies.
- Don’t use chemicals, regular soaps, and other detergents for cleaning the CPAP machine and its components.
- If you are thinking of using a dryer to get the different parts of the CPAP machine dry, don’t think that again. Let the components be air dried, and then wipe them off using a clean cloth.
- Don’t clean or wash any component of the CPAP machine when it is plugged in.
Negative impacts of not cleaning a CPAP machine tank
Any surface gets exposed to microorganisms sooner or later. But in the case of a CPAP machine reservoir, there is water, and you know bacteria and germs bread more rapidly in a humid environment.
By delaying the cleaning, or not draining water regularly, the reservoir can become contaminated and full of germs and bacteria.
If you are not attentive or don’t pay any attention to the cleaning or draining water in the reservoir, the tank can grow mold.
And if there is mold grown inside, and the same water is used for the most of pressurized air, you can have infections and dryness in the mouth and nose.
For those who are already suffering from allergies, it can aggravate the symptoms. In some cases, it also has been witnessed that in some cases, it can give those already suffering from breathing or dust allergy Pneumonia.
Even if it does not grow mold inside, not cleaning the reservoir can develop musty and foul odors. And that’s what you will be breathing the entire night, so it will be more than intimidating.
In some cases, the machine’s reservoir too can develop minerals. And continuing breathing through such a CPAP machine will damage your lungs.
Getting used to a CPAP machine can be hard. It takes days and sometimes weeks. You are going to break your years-long habit of sleeping with nothing fixed on your mouth or face area.
And now, you are tethered to a box placed beside your bed, and there is a mask fixed on your mouth, making you look like an alien.
But there is no other way to cure or battle sleep apnea and many other lung conditions.
As the CPAP machine has become an essential part of your life, getting it cleaned on regular basis, and maintained should be your primary objective to stay healthy, and breathe clean air.