You and Your CPAP Equipment: How Often Should It Be Cleaned?

November 25, 2019

You and Your CPAP Equipment: How Often Should It Be Cleaned?

The right CPAP machine will also provide you with long-term benefits. But in order to fully enjoy the benefits of your CPAP machine, cleaning and maintaining your machine will be crucial. Your CPAP machine and mask require a level of care that shouldn’t be ignored or neglected.

This blog post will talk about how often your CPAP mask and CPAP equipment need to be cleaned. As well, we will discuss the importance of sanitization when it comes to CPAP equipment. The below instructions will ensure a longer lifespan for your equipment, a proper-functioning machine and a happy sleep!


Don’t Put Your CPAP Performance (And You) At Risk

What are the risks of not cleaning your CPAP mask and equipment? Not keeping up with your CPAP cleaning routine can be very risky. This can include damage to the machine such as mineralization of the equipment, mould and bacteria exposure, as well as the potential for your warranty to be voided. 

While the above sounds bad on its own, improper or neglected cleaning can also lead to damage to your own health. If you’re not cleaning your machine regularly, you can notice allergy symptoms, an increase in respiratory illness or sickness, as well as the machine not providing the same optimal benefit at night to minimize your sleep apnea.


How Often Should CPAP Equipment Be Cleaned?

There are specific care instructions you should follow to make sure you get the most out of your CPAP equipment and mask. These instructions range from what you should consider for your machine and mask daily, to even longer-term care weekly to monthly.


Daily

After you wake up, it’ll be in your best interest to clean your mask in the morning. Why? While most masks are made from silicone, cleaning your mask in the morning with soapy water ensures that you allow the mask enough time to dry completely. This means it can be ready to use again for bedtime. While you can let your CPAP mask air dry, it is also a good practice to dry the mask with a clean cloth, in order to ensure it is completely dry for the next use that night.

But what if you’re a busy individual? Cleaning your mask every morning can’t always happen. That’s why investing in CPAP cleaning wipes is also a sensible choice. Regular use of wipes can effectively remove the build-up of dirt, grease and oils; and is a great daily alternative when you’re on the go.


Weekly

While cleaning the mask daily will be a great best practice for maintaining your CPAP mask, in order to keep the hose of your CPAP equipment like-new and free of bacteria, you should clean this part of the machine once a week. 

Unscented or mild soap, or vinegar, is a low-cost and safe option to clean your tubing. By simply placing the tube in warm water, and with detergent or vinegar, swirl the tube in the water solution. It’ll then be very important to hang the tubing to dry in order to speed up the air-drying process.


Monthly

When it comes to cleaning your CPAP filter, this will depend on the filter type you have for your machine. Be sure to check the model of your machine to be certain. The standard guideline is to change your filter every six months. It’s not necessary to do this monthly unless a specific circumstance calls for it.

Some reusable filters can be cleaned with water, dried and used again. However, many machines, such as the Dreamstation Auto, will allow you to replace the filter completely with a new one; making for an easy and quick step in your ongoing maintenance.

In fact, while cleaning the machine regularly will ensure a longer lifespan for your CPAP machine, we should also consider when to replace certain elements of the machine entirely. For example, replacing the tubing and the mask should be done every six months, in order to ensure optimal performance, as eventually, these materials will degrade.


Cleaning Your CPAP Machine

While the above tips may ensure that your mask, tubing and filter remain clean, functional and effective for ongoing use, the biggest impact will be cleaning your CPAP machine, itself. 

To do this, always ensure the machine is unplugged, and wipe it down with a clean cloth or towel, making sure the machine is completely dry before plugging it back in. 

When it comes to cleaning your water chamber, this is recommended as something you should do weekly. To clean the chamber, remove your chamber completely from the machine—and like your tubing and mask—clean it with a mild soap in clean water. Be sure to rinse the chamber well. 

Once done, dry it off and let dry in a cool, dark place (avoiding direct sunlight) before placing the chamber back in the machine and using it again that evening.

 

Types of Sanitation & Cleaning

While we mentioned certain ways to clean your CPAP mask and equipment manually, you might decide to invest in a CPAP cleaner or CPAP sanitization machine. These machines allow different ways to clean, using certain technologies. Some of these technologies include:

Oxygen

Machines such as the SoClean 2 CPAP cleaner, are a great investment, with solid reviews and medical-grade technology. A machine like this, for example, uses ozone or activated oxygen instead of water. As a result, it can kill harmful elements such as mold, bacteria and germs. Without water to clean the machine, this also means this technology doesn’t require any wait time for parts to dry. 

Light

Some sanitation devices will use a level of ultraviolet light to clean your CPAP. Like with activated oxygen, this technology means there’s no use for water or chemicals to clean your machine. The Lumin is a great example of a UVC light sanitation device. It’s also very easy to use. Simply open the tray, place your CPAP equipment inside, close, and push the button to clean.

Routine Washing

While we’ve mentioned above the importance of cleaning your machine regularly, we can’t stress this enough. Sanitation machines can’t replace routinely washing your machine. This is essential in order to remove oils and dead skin cells on a daily and weekly basis. While oxygen and UV machines will make the maintenance of your equipment easier, manual cleaning —and the steps to do so mentioned above— will be an important step to still include in your CPAP cleaning routine.

We hope this article provides a level of clarity on how to best maintain your CPAP machine and CPAP equipment. 

Be sure to read our other pieces, such as “How Long Before I Change My CPAP Filter” and other important questions answered on our blog, so you can stay informed and sleep easy!





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