Sleep & Oxygen Blog
Your CPAP machine can be a vital component of a good night’s sleep. And much like your own body, your CPAP machine, mask and accessories need care and regular maintenance to help it function effectively. Regular maintenance and replacement of your CPAP components will help your device achieve greater longevity, and provide you with optimal therapy results.
As beneficial as CPAP machines can be for sleep apnea sufferers, poorly maintained devices, masks and accessories can actually contribute to a whole host of ills. CPAP machines that aren’t regularly cleaned can become a breeding ground for germs and other unpleasant microorganisms.
The masks themselves sit on the face, and are regularly touching skin or being handled. This can lead to a buildup of dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria, which can in turn cause breakouts, irritation, and rashes. But if you’re using an unclean CPAP machine or mask, skin discomfort may be the least of your worries.
If left uncleaned, the water reservoir in your CPAP machine’s air pump can become a hotbed of bacteria and mould. These potentially infectious microorganisms may then be inhaled through the mask, and have the potential to make the user sick.
According to sleep expert Dr. Lawrence Epstein, the organisms that thrive in dirty water can exacerbate respiratory conditions like asthma and reactive airway disease, and can even cause infections in the lungs and sinuses. If your CPAP machine smells moldy, that’s a sign that your device is long past due for a good cleaning.
Fortunately, cleaning your CPAP machine is quite simple, follow these simple guidelines to set you up for sleep success.
The mask components sit directly on your face, so they should be cleaned every day. Give them a wipe down daily using either mask wipes or a soap designed specifically for CPAP equipment and warm water. Every week, disassemble the parts, soak them in warm soapy water, and let them air dry.
The frame of your CPAP mask should be hand washed and hung to dry on a weekly basis, but you can wash it more frequently if needed. The entire mask, including the headgear and the cushions/pillows, should be replaced every 6 months.
Hoses should be washed in mild CPAP soap and water each week, and hung to dry. If you notice wear and tear on the hose, you can replace it, but otherwise it should be replaced every 6 months to help prevent leaks.
Empty the humidifier every day, and allow it to air dry before refilling. It’s recommended that you use distilled water in your CPAP machine, as it’s demineralized and won’t leave limescale buildup in your device. However, you can remove buildup by soaking the unit in a 1:3 mixture of white vinegar and water for 30 minutes. Wipe and rinse well before use. Along with your mask and hose, your humidifier should be replaced every 6 months.
Standard filters should be replaced monthly and washable filters can last for up to three months. Observe your filter regularly and replace as needed.
Simply unplug and wipe the machine’s exterior with a damp cloth.
Contact one of our Sleep Health Professionals to learn more about how to get the best sleep results. Easily order replacement parts and comfort accessories by filling out our Online Order Form and one of our Sleep Health Professionals will contact you.
Do not use unauthorized cleaning devices such as ozone cleaning devices which have been advertised on TV. The ozone CPAP cleaning unit has been associated with breakdown of CPAP components and may cause the release of toxic materials from the CPAP device. Follow the manufacturers recommendations and our suggestions above to keep your CPAP functioning safely.