Tips for Cleaning Your CPAP Machine

Every day you take great pains to ensure that you’re wearing clean socks and underwear for hygienic purposes. This ingrained standard of care is the type of thing you should be doing when it comes to your CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine.

Just think, you spend a fair number of hours every night with this device strapped over your nose and mouth, breathing in and out. Now that you’re able to breathe easier at night, there’s no sense in ruining the effect with a device that harbors germs and bacteria.

Here at Sound Sleep Health, we want our patients to reap the full benefits of their CPAP machines without having to worry about anything other than breathing and a good night’s rest. And you won’t, as long as you stick to a strict cleaning schedule that allows you to breathe fresh, clean air all night.

Here are a few tips to keep your CPAP device in great shape:

Good morning

While your morning routine may be packed as it is, it’s important that you fit in a few minutes to tend to your CPAP machine. If you wait until the evening or before you go to bed, you’re letting bacteria and other germs play all day in your device.

Starting with the mask, you should, at the very least, wipe it down to remove the oils and dead skin cells that can accumulate on it. Some CPAP manufacturers supply wipes especially designed for this.

If you want to do a better job, wash your mask with warm water and a gentle cleanser. You should use sterile or filtered water to do this because your treated tap water still contains plenty of bacteria, believe it or not.

After you’ve wiped or washed your mask, dry it thoroughly with a clean cloth and place it somewhere where it isn’t exposed to direct sunlight or other airborne pollutants. (This means keeping it out of areas where your dog, cat, or kids can leave their marks).

Next up is the unit. If your CPAP includes a humidifier, and most do, it’s imperative that you dump the water out each morning and let the machine dry out. Wait until right before you go to bed to put distilled water back in to ensure that it’s fresh.

Once a week

To prolong the life of your CPAP system and maintain your health, plan on a more thorough cleaning once a week. In under 10 minutes you can breathe easier knowing everything is in good, clean working order.

Start with your mask and tubing. Place them in a warm bath with a mild detergent, vinegar, or baking soda. Please don’t use bleach as it’s too hard on the plastic. Make sure you run water through everything and then hang it all to dry out of the sun.

Next, you should tackle the water chamber in your humidifier and give it the same warm bath you did your mask and tubing, allowing it to air dry afterward.

When it comes to the filter, it’s important that you follow manufacturers’ instructions because there are many types of filters. Some are disposable, while others last up to six months. For all filter parts, you should stick to a routine of rinsing them regularly with warm water and letting them air dry. Please don’t use any soaps or detergents on your filters.

Miscellaneous tips

If you keep up with a daily and weekly routine, your CPAP system should perform beautifully. There are, however, certain circumstances that may warrant a change in this routine, primarily when you have a cold, flu, or any other upper respiratory illness.

While you may be drained of energy during this time, you’ll need to muster some (or find a great helper) to wash your equipment more regularly. Instead of a once-a-week bath, you should thoroughly wash all of the components every day to get rid of viruses and bacteria.

And there’s one last tip before we wind down. You should refrain from putting any lotions or oils on your face when you sleep with CPAP. These lotions can break down the plastic and silicone in your mask.

With a little diligence, your CPAP unit will serve you well for years to come. If you live in or around Seattle or Kirkland, Washington, and you’d like to learn more or you have a question, please don’t hesitate to give one of our offices a call. Or you can make an appointment to see us by clicking here on the website.

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