Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a standard treatment for patients with obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep-related breathing disorders. Because patients use the machines every night, they need to be regularly cleaned and cared for.
Neglecting to clean a CPAP machine can lead to bacterial growth that causes odor. In some cases, the bacteria may cause the equipment to breakdown prematurely. Luckily, the cleaning process is fairly simple for each component of the machines.
The CPAP Mask
Most CPAP masks are made of silicone. The masks should be cleaned daily with warm water and non-fragrant soap. You can also opt to purchase wipes or detergents made specifically to clean CPAP masks. Once a week, it’s recommended to soak the mask in a solution of one parts vinegar to three parts water, then rinse it with distilled water. The headgear and tubing of the mask should be cleaned weekly with warm soapy water.
To extend the life of a mask, wash your face thoroughly before bed and avoid using facial moisturizers.
The CPAP Humidifier
Most CPAP machines are equipped with a humidifier that helps reduce dry mouth. Daily cleaning is needed to prevent calcification and bacteria build-up.
To clean, the humidification chamber should be removed carefully so no water spills on the machine. You can then wash it with soapy water and leave it to dry on a clean surface. It should also be soaked in a water and vinegar solution weekly for 15-20 minutes, then rinsed with distilled water.
The CPAP Filters
Near the back of the machine, you’ll find the CPAP filter. This is the component that draws air from the room.
The gray non-disposable filters should be cleaned on a weekly basis. If you have pets or excessive dust inside your home, you may need to clean it more often. The non-disposable filters may need to be replaced every six months. The white disposable filters should be replaced monthly, or as needed.
To ensure that the equipment has time to dry during the day, try making CPAP maintenance a part of your morning routine. Another option is to use a cleaner and sanitizer machine that automatically cleans and dries your machine for you.
Consult your doctor or the product manufacturer if you have questions about maintenance for your specific machine.