5 Easy Tips to Clean Your CPAP   

5 Easy Tips to Clean Your CPAP

face mask and hose from CPAP machine taken off. waiting to be cleaned
Clinical Contributors to this story:
John Villa, D.O.

Nobody likes to clean their CPAP machine. But regular cleaning is important to ensure that germs and contaminants don’t grow inside of the equipment and that dust and dirt don’t lead to mechanical problems with your machine.

The task doesn’t have to be an ordeal. Our expert, John Villa, D.O., pulmonologist at Hackensack University Medical Center, offers these five easy cleaning tips:

1. Follow the Manufacturer’s Cleaning Directions

There are two major manufacturers of CPAP machines in the U.S., and while their cleaning directions are similar, there are slight differences that are specific to the particular machine.

2. Avoid Using Cleaners with Ozone Gas or UV Lights

It’s tempting to use CPAP cleaners that use ozone gas (sometimes called activated oxygen) or ultraviolet lights rather than a little elbow grease. But the FDA doesn’t recommend these cleaners and has not approved any of them for cleaning CPAP machines and accessories. 

“They are not validated to work; the UV lights could do harm to your eyes or skin and the ozone cleaning devices could cause respiratory issues,” says Dr. Villa. Also, using these unapproved cleaners may void the manufacturer’s warranty on your machine.

3. Use Distilled Water for Humidifiers

If your machine has a humidifier, use distilled water in the tank. Distilled water has fewer minerals in it than tap water does, so there’s less buildup in the water chamber and in the machine. Less buildup means less cleaning and reduces the chances of mold growing in the tank and hoses.

4. Clean Your CPAP Machine Every Morning 

  • Wipe down the mask and water chamber using a clean wash cloth and soapy water, or baby wipes or wipes designed for cleaning CPAP machines. (Check the manufacturer’s guidelines on the type of soap to use.)

  • If you’re using a humidifier with your machine, dump the water out of the water tank and let it air dry through the day.

  • Take the mask apart, wipe down the parts and rinse the hoses. Some people like to hang the hoses so the water will drain out quicker, he says.

  • If you use a mask with memory foam on it, do not use water on the foam because water will break up the foam.

  • Don’t forget to give the machine’s case some attention, too.

  • Don’t get water in the machine; just do a quick wipe down with a damp cleaning cloth, removing any dirt or debris.

“If you’re doing this frequently,” he says, “it shouldn’t get that dirty, so it should take you about five minutes to complete this task.”

5. Replace Parts as Recommended by the Manufacturer

“Regular cleaning and replacement of parts makes it easier to maintain your machine, and you should have a good lifespan on your machine,” Dr. Villa says.

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.



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