How to Clean CPAP Machine: All You Need to Know

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are used to successfully treat obstructive sleep apnea in most patients. A CPAP machine consists of a mask that a patient must wear over the nose and mouth while sleeping. This mask has a hose connected to a small machine that can be kept at the bedside. This machine pumps air into the patient's airway via the hose and the mask to ensure that the airway is kept open throughout the night.

What Happens if You Don’t Clean Your CPAP Machine?

CPAP therapy is effective when the CPAP machine is used consistently. And as with any other object which is used regularly, CPAP machines also require regular cleaning and maintenance. CPAP machines consist of hoses, tubes, and masks that can propagate breeding of bacteria and molds. Cleaning your CPAP machine will ensure these bacteria and mold are cleaned before they can adversely impact your health. Also, regular cleaning of your CPAP machine helps it last longer.

Cleaning Tips for Your CPAP Machine

Since a CPAP machine consists of multiple parts, it is recommended that you make an effort to learn about the cleaning and/or replacement schedule of every part.

Here are a few tips that can help you schedule regular cleaning and replacement of the worn-out parts:

For Tubes

How to Clean CPAP Machine: All You Need to Know

  • First and foremost if you have pets at home, keep your CPAP machine out of their reach. Pets, especially cats, can damage the tubes with their claws or by biting into the tubes. Consider protecting the tubes by placing them within tube covers.

  • To clean the tubes, use a mild soap. Avoid harsh soaps, chlorine, bleach, aromatic, or alcohol-based solutions. Use a small bottle cleaning brush to gently clean the tubes from the inside.

  • Make a solution by mixing three parts water and one part vinegar. Use this solution to disinfect and/or cut the soap residue, if any.

  • Over a period of time, tubes can develop tiny holes that may not be easily visible to the naked eye. These holes can leak air that can impact the therapy. It is a good idea to replace the tubes annually—or as needed—to maintain the required air pressure.

  • Weekly cleaning up the tube is a good idea.

For Filters

  • Check how many filters your CPAP machine has. Some machines have two filters.

  • Filters block the dust and over a period of time become dusty and dirty.

  • The gray/black filter can be cleaned using a mild soap solution every week. These filters usually have a long life—up to a year—and cleaning them regularly enhances their life.

  • The white filters are disposable, ie., they must be replaced. Check the color of the white filters regularly. When they discolor or start looking dirty, it's time to replace them—usually once in two months.

For CPAP Masks

How to Clean CPAP Machine: All You Need to Know

  • Remember, the mask itself has various components—the head gear, the frame, and the cushion.

  • Of these components, the cushion is the most fragile and needs careful handling. Women must remove all makeup before placing the cushion against their faces. It's a good practice to clean the face before using the mask to avoid dirt and oil from damaging it.

  • The cushion should be cleaned everyday with a mild soap mix. Ensure you handle the cushion with extreme care as it is delicate and may tear under pressure. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight.

  • The frame and the headgear must be cleaned every week, again with a mild soap mix, rinsed and air dried.

Replacement

  • Clean the humidifier water tub every day. Use a mild soap mixture to clean. Then rinse thoroughly and air dry it away from direct sunlight.

  • Check for signs of wear and tear in the tub. If you find any cracks or pits, it's time to replace the tub.

Some Don'ts

Check out a list of things not to do with your CPAP device:

  • Do not use harsh soaps or chemical-based cleaning solutions that can damage the delicate parts of your CPAP machine.

  • Do not dry the washed components under the sun. Always air dry them.

  • Do not wash the white filter.

  • Do not wipe the machine with a wet cloth or towel. Only use a damp towel or pre-moistened towels available on the market.

It’s best to consult with your CPAP machine providers when you have to replace any of the parts of your CPAP machine, or get a new CPAP device. ResMed CPAP machines are some of the most high-quality and comfortable ones on the market, with a range of device accessories.

You can also check out and purchase new devices or replaceable accessories from ResMed.

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