Those dependent on a CPAP machine for their sleep apnea disorder management, know the importance of a CPAP machine.
It gives you the right comfort, soothes you need, and prevents you from night breathing pauses due to the disorder.
But just like any other medical device, home gadget, or appliance, a CPAP machine to requires proper maintenance.
You wear the mask on your mouth, the dead skin cells stay in the mask, and have a build-up inside.
Not just the dead skin cells; mold, bacteria, dust, and many other impurities can build in the equipment and can easily lead to respiratory infection.
It not only will impact the effectiveness of the treatment but your health too.
That’s why when you buy a CPAP machine the suppliers in detail elaborate on the way to clean the thing up, and how to catch up with the maintenance properly to promote longevity and more effective treatment.
So, we are here with an in-depth, and detailed guide about how to clean a CPAP machine, and many other things linked to proper cleaning and maintenance.
How to Clean a CPAP Machine
Use a damp clean cloth to clean your CPAP machine. Don’t use a kitchen damp cloth, or what you use for your vehicle cleaning. Try to take a damp cloth with no lint.
Gently wipe the outside of the machine and removes the dust debris and other impurities built up around it. Don’t rub it too harshly, don’t be very gentle too.
Use your mild soap and gently rub it on the outside of the machine and clean it with a damp cloth for further cleaning.
Use a paper towel or a lint-free towel for drying.
Cleaning a CPAP mask
Don’t commit the mistake of what most CPAP users do when cleaning a CPAP mask. They try to clean it with assembled to the machine. Disassemble the machine first, it will make cleaning way easier, superior, and smoother.
Disassemble the different parts of the mask-like headgear. First, clean the headgear using mild soap and water. Allow the headgear to air dry, and clean the mask in the same way you followed for the mask.
Use mild soap to clean the outside of the mask. The inside cushion can be washed or cleaned, you can use mask wipes to clean the cushion.
Cleaning the CPAP hose
Cleaning a CPAP hose is similar and easy compared to other parts of the CPAP machine. Make a solution of mixed mild soap and vinegar.
Run the solution through the length of the hose and make sure the water rinses back and forth several times.
You can pour the solution into the hose and can block both sides of the hose to run the solution several times.
Drain the solution and pour in clean water to completely clean it to remove all the debris or deposits trapped inside the hose.
Hang it on a rack to dry
Cleaning the Humidifier
Humidifier provides the right comfort and soothing effect for the OSA patient. Keep in mind, that to get the CPAP machine running, you are not required to have a humidifier.
Old models did not have the Humidifier, but now all models come with a humidifier, but you can turn them off anytime you like.
The reason why we should pay so much attention to cleaning the CPAP humidifier is that if not cleaned, mold can grow in it, making you breathe germs.
- Remove the humidifier chamber from the humidifier
- Drain the water
- Use mild soap, a mixture of vinegar, and water to scrub all the surfaces inside and out. Remove the mold or film that may have been collected.
- Continue scrubbing until it is completely cleaned
- Use distilled water in the humidifier chamber. Experts recommend filling the chamber with distilled water before cleaning it with the same water. Distilled water prevents build-up inside the chamber and makes it easier for cleaning.
- Dry the chamber.
- Place it back in the humidifier
Cleaning the filters
Just a reminder, don’t use replaceable filters once used, dump them. The cleaning of the filters we are mentioning here is for the reusable filters.
The dust, debris, pollen, and other dirt may build up in the filters, and to keep them clean for further use you have to clean the filters.
Keep in mind, that even the reusable filters got an expiry date. You can’t use them lifelong, most reusable filters get expired within 12 months or so.
So, clean them with warm water or the solution you just made for cleaning different parts of the CPAP machine.
What is some common symptom of dirty CPAP machine?
The first symptom you get from a dirty CPAP machine is nasal congestion and irritation. If you experience any of the symptoms, you should pay special attention to cleaning.
An unclean CPAP machine may be delivering you germs for breathing. And you may fall sick if didn’t clean the machine or maintain it on the regular basis.
Can I get sick if I don’t clean the CPAP machine?
Yes, and we have elaborated on that in detail. A dirty CPAP machine not only puts your health at risk but spoils the entire calm, comfort, and soothing it provides for OSA patients.
The first thing that makes you fall sick is the dirty mask. As the mask is the only point of contact of your mouth, and nose to the machine. If the mask is full of germs, unclean, or clogged, you will be breathing germs.
Over time the bacteria and germs may build up in the mask and can lead to Lung disease or skin irritation.
And if you don’t clean the reservoir of the humidifier, the mold may grow inside of it, and you may be getting rotting smell when breathing.
Benefits of CPAP cleaning
As I mentioned cleaning off a CPAP machine not only improves the longevity but the overall effectiveness.
But it is important to highlight the benefits of cleaning a CPAP machine to lure more users and to make them maintain the proper cleaning.
Decreased risk of cold and infection
The biggest germs breeding ground in your total CPAP setup is your mask. The proximity of the mask to your mouth and nose makes it full of germs.
With your breathing and through your nose, germs build-up can be there, and if you don’t clean it on regular basis, maybe it does not make you ill today, but it surely can take you down tomorrow.
With your mask cleaned, not only you will be having better smell, and look better, but it make you feel better every day.
Reduced risk of being sick again
With the proper cleaning of CPAP accessories and equipment, you surely will have lesser chances of being sick again.
And you know that no one can afford to be sick, especially in such a lackluster economical environment.
It has been reported that CPAP machine users who wear nasal pillow masks, get sick easily time and again. If you use a nasal pillow seal around your nostrils, bacteria growth steep during the cold due to sinuses.
Due to the nasal pillows, the proximity to your nose and mouth is direct, and if there is bacterial growth in the nasal pillows you will be breathing germs all night.
So, with cleaned nasal pillows, and other equipment, you will experience improved breathability while sleeping as well as reduced sickness chances.
Cleaner Air improved longevity
The success of your CPAP machine journey and your dependability on it to tackle the OSA relies all on cleaner air.
If it does not deliver cleaner air, the entire experience of having it placed beside your bed is wasted.
The CPAP machine cleaning supplies
There are a few cleaning supplies you buy and put them in the vicinity when cleaning the CPAP equipment.
Keep one thing in mind loud and clear, don’t clean any of the equipment with harsh chemicals like household cleaners or bathroom cleaners, they can damage your product and most importantly their residues stay inside the equipment and can be toxic to you.
Anyway, using only the products recommended by your manufacturers or those that stay inside doesn’t get you to have a toxic experience.
I am not sure if you know that all soaps are not equal. Equal in respect of the chemical used in it. The soaps we use on an everyday basis found easily around us in local stores are not true soaps.
They have more pH factors than our skin and create lots of skin issues like irritation and breakouts on the skin and dryness.
Don’t use regular soaps for cleaning rather pick mild soaps? You can ask for it, mild soaps don’t come with harsh chemicals and would not leave residue on our skin, and they are odorless too.
You would not smell any lemon or scented smell, so even if the tiny portion of the mild soaps or its residue leaves inside the tubes or other areas, there would be no toxic breakout.
So wash the tubes, hoses, filters, humidifier, mask, and other areas using mild soaps and lukewarm water.
The insides of the most crucial part of the CPAP machine are still not recommended to clean with mild soap.
You can use mild soap though, but the recommended way to clean the humidifier chamber quickly and easily is with vinegar.
It’s a natural germ killer and kills bacteria and germs on contact. You can mix a small quantity of the Vinegar in your lukewarm water and can wash the supplies thoroughly.
Clean Lint-Free Towel
To clean the supplies and equipment after washing and cleaning them with mild soap and vinegar, you need a clean towel.
Keep in mind, go with a lint-free towel, because the lint can stay cling to the inside of the tube, hose, or other parts of the equipment and can be a dangerous experience for you to breathe in using.
A few Reminders
Before we move on to how to clean a CPAP machine there are a few quick reminders.
- Never use damp equipment, give it due time for drying. Damp equipment is a breeding ground for germs, and if you use any, you would be breathing germs.
- Never use harsh chemicals you use in your households, washrooms, and kitchen
- Never boil the cushion of the mask
- Don’t use a replaceable mask after washing.
- Don’t use a CPAP machine plugged in
- Read the user manual before cleaning any of the equipment or tool, or you may damage the equipment unwillingly.
A CPAP machine is something an OSA patient can’t live without, or at least the quality of sleeping will be at risk.
And when you are using a CPAP machine, it is imperative to get it properly cleaned and maintained. We elaborated on more than one way to clean a machine.
Keep in mind, that cleaning and sanitizing are not the same, sanitization is killing the germs inside.
While cleaning can reduce the germs, but can’t kill them all, but make the machine and its equipment look clean and maintained.
Cleaning a CPAP machine is not that hard. You are not required to buy some special solution, you can make it home, just the way we elaborated.
Sticking with the cleaning regimen not only will increase the quality of breathing, but it increases the overall lifespan of the machine too.